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Garmin Forerunner 405 in depth review

I picked up the Forerunner 405 back when it first came out this spring, and have been using it over the summer and into early fall. I was super excited about the 405 when I first heard of it about 6 months prior to it becoming available. At the time it appeared to offer everything I might want from a running watch – sleek design, GPS enabled and compatible with all my existing Garmin accessories.

One might wonder what took me so long to write-up the review then. Well, quite honestly – me and the 405 have had a ‘complicated’ relationship together. While I love many features about the watch, there are some that quite simply drive me crazy.

So I’ve been dragging my feet a bit on getting this all written up. Nonetheless, like my original Garmin Forerunner 305 review – here’s my super-detailed Forerunner 405 review. Yes, it’s a bit long – but it’s more of a reference/review than a normal post.  But that’s my normal way of doing things.  With that, let’s get onto the action:

What’s in the box?

Garmin 405 Box Kit

Well…that depends a little bit on which version you order. But first – here’s what’s in every box:

  1. The watch itself
  2. The USB ANT+ Sport Dongle
  3. USB Charging Cable
  4. Power block to connect to USB charging cable
  5. A bunch of manuals and paper stuff

Garmin 405 Box Kit

In addition, if you ordered a version with the heart rate monitor you also get the heart rate monitor strap (see photo down below in the accessories section). If you already have a HR strap from another Garmin product, you’re likely good to go.

The appeal of the 405 is that it almost looks like a regular watch again. If you look at the history of the Garmin running watches, they continue to shrink it into a smaller and smaller platform – and the 405’s size is very impressive. Although do note that it is larger than the usual watch. I’ve placed the 405 and 305 next to each other, and then next to just my standard wrist watch for comparison.

Garmin 405 comparison

One key item to note is that the first half inch or so of the wrist band on the 405 is hard molded plastic and NOT bendable. You’ll see that later on in the section regarding using it while swimming.


Upon powering on your Garmin 405 for the first time it will walk you through a brief tutorial regarding the basic functions and how to use some of the newer features such as the touch bezel.

Garmin 405 Initial Setup

Garmin 405 Initial Setup

The menu system on the 405 is very much like the 305 or Garmin Edge (cycling) products. You’ll find many of the same menu features and functions as those units. You can go into the settings menu and change details such as whether or not it will automatically pause your workout if you stop moving (for example – at a stoplight). In addition, you can specify modes such as cycling or running and the data fields to display.

You can choose amongst 35 different data fields to display – such as: HR, Avg HR, Pace, Distance, Lap Pace, Speed, Elevation, Grade and even Sunset time. You can also choose a graph of your HR – basically showing a mini history that moves as you go along (live). Interestingly, you cannot choose a graph of the elevation.

Garmin 405 HR Graph

The Garmin 405 supports three concurrent data fields being displayed at any one point and time (the 305 supports four fields). You can then set up three different ‘screens’ (each with three views) to cycle through.

Garmin 405 Average Cadence

For me personally, this poses a bit of a challenge while running. First, I tend to use four fields (HR, Pace, Distance, Elapsed Time) – thus for three fields I have to drop one (I usually drop distance as I train mostly based on HR/Pace/Time). The second challenge with the three different screens is in using the bezel. If you ‘lock’ the bezel, you can’t change the screens. Thus you have to unlock the bezel, press menu briefly (but not too briefly as it won’t catch, and not too long, as then it will actually show a menu), and then cycle through which screen you want. Of course, remember that you’re either running or cycling at the same time – adding a bit (a lot!) of challenge to the task.

What’s a bit of a bummer is that one of the views the watch offers after a workout is a summary page. This summary page is EXCELLENT, but I can’t find any way to display a live view of the data. If they could make this one of the views – that’d be AWESOME – particularly for running. Many folks have also noted that the Garmin logo at the top of the watch takes up space for a full data field. It’s a very valid observation.

Garmin 405 Activity Overview

The Bezel

My guess is that if you’re reading this – you know a bit about the Forerunner 405. In particular, you probably know that the 405 features a touch-sensitive bezel. Unlike a regular watch, none of the buttons (except the two on the side) actually depress. The bezel doesn’t actually move, it’s just touch sensitive – kinda like an iPod.

Because the tiniest of touches will trigger the bezel to react, you can also lock the bezel by simply pressing both side buttons together. You unlock it in the same manner. While locked, the bezel will not respond. This means you can’t change screens and/or turn on the light (like running at night). You simply can stop/start/lap the timer.

In addition, you can change the sensitivity of the bezel, depending on your touch. I’ve found this didn’t have much of an effect.

The bezel is where virtually ALL of my frustration lies with the 405. When it was first announced, there was much hype and excitement about it. However, as reviews started to trickle in – it became a love it or hate it situation. Garmin recently posted on their blog that you should really ‘practice’ a bit before hand by watching a whole bunch of videos and trying it out before you go out in the ‘wild’.

Because this review is written by…me…you’re going to get the pleasure of my opinion on it. Obviously some people differ with me. I personally think the bezel is the dumbest thing ever. It tries to be hip and fashionable with its whole touch concept. If I wanted an iPod I would have bought an iPod. Instead – I bought a sports watch that has an identity crisis with an iPod.

If you are running hard or cycling hard then dealing with the touch bezel is a passive pain. I generally leave it locked, but sometimes I want to change screens or if running at night – turn on the light. When I unlock it and try to change screens while still running – things go downhill fast. Before I know it I’ve totally messed up my run from a data standpoint. I just want simple buttons.

Further, there appears to be a lack of thought put into what tasks would be useful – like turning on the light while running/riding at night. Another example, today on my ride I received a low battery error. Except, that unlike the 305, this error doesn’t just go away with the touch of a button or after a few seconds of time. Nope, first I have to unlock the bezel, then acknowledge the error, then lock the bezel again.

Garmin 405 Battery Low

Syncing data to your computer

Once you’ve gone out and done a few workouts, it’s time to synchronize your watch to your computer. After all – that’s one of the major reasons people buy a watch like the Garmin.

Unlike other Garmin devices, this one connects to your computer using a specialized semi-propriety wireless technology called ANT+Sport. I’m sure there are some similarities to Bluetooth – but it isn’t Bluetooth (primarily for reasons for battery life). ANT+ Sport allows other companies to integrate wireless devices with the Garmin devices.

On the computer side you have a small USB dongle about the length of a paperclip. And it simply connects to the device. Look ma! No cables!

Garmin 405 Wireless Sync

Once you finish pairing the device for the first time (which can be a bit of a pain), all you have to do is bring your device within range of your computer and it will automatically sync the workouts to your computer.

Garmin 405 ANT+ Transferring Data

That happens via a little program called the “ANT Agent” that sits in your try and watches for the watch to come near. This of course requires the USB stick be in the computer to see the watch.

Garmin 405 ANT+ Sync

Sometimes the sync works really well and happens while the device is dozens of feet away. Other times, it just doesn’t work at all and I have to dink with it quite a bit. It’s also considerably slower than the wired cradle of the 305 – taking a few minutes at least sometimes to download just a single workout (compared to a few seconds for the 305).

While I appreciate Garmin’s attempt to going wireless for the data sync, it seems overly complex (kinda like the bezel). The cradle with the 305 was simple and functional. And it worked every time. It also charged the device – two items for the price of one so to speak. Obviously without cables, it’s not charging anything. Finally, for those with laptops (like me), the tiny USB stick is more of a pain than anything else because I always have to find it. It’s really small and easily lost. Plus, it’s only one half of the solution I need with me on the road as I also can’t forget the charging cable.

Garmin ANT+ USB Stick

Where’d my data go?

Once the ANT Agent picks the data off the Forerunner 405 – it sends it somewhere. Where…depends on where you tell it to send it. You can either send it to the locally installed Garmin Training Center (GTC) Software, or you can send it to Garmin Connect online – which is kinda like an online version of Garmin Training Center.

Garmin Training Center (GTC)

GTC is the application you (optionally) install if you want to have a local copy of the data on your computer. This application was apparently written in 1992 and not updated since. It’s just shy of dismal in terms of functionality and ease of use. But…if you want to get the data off the watch and to other non-Garmin applications like Training Peaks – it’s required.

If selected, the ANT Agent software will send a copy of your workouts to GTC.

Garmin Training Center Transfer

Once in GTC you can look at them and generally poke them like a piece of over-cooked chicken. Most importantly, you can export them to other programs to use to analyze your data. One of the most obvious reasons why GTC is so lame is the mapping – just look at the below example. Hello 90’s!

Garmin Training Center

Garmin Connect

A much better option is to upload the data to Garmin Connect. This is the free web-based successor to site Motion Based (which Garmin bought). It’s cool in that without prompting you for any username/password after initial configuration, your data is automatically uploaded to the Connect site. Your data is of course only visible to you unless you share it or mark it as public (great for finding new routes!)

Garmin Connect Dashboard

When the site initially came out in the spring, it was pretty rough. The vast majority of the time I couldn’t upload anything as it was constantly giving errors. However, things have gotten a lot better now and it’s quite good. Lots of good little improvements. That’s not to say there aren’t issues. For example – I just noticed that if I put in the ‘&’ symbol, it breaks the title of my activity (in programming lingo that’s called failing to acknowledge the escape character). Also noticed it didn’t correctly upload my cadence activity. So after 5+ months, it’s still not where it needs to be.

You can rename each of your workouts and view all of the data, as well as share it with other folks.

Garmin Connect Overview

3rd Party Software

While Garmin provides the above noted software – many of us use other software suites (mostly because they are better). Just to briefly touch on a few.

  1. Sports Tracks 2.0: Sports Tracks now natively supports the Garmin Forerunner 405. When you select to import an activity, it will automatically connect to the data retrieved by the ANT Agent (which is still required) and pickup the workouts. Quick and easy.
    Sport Tracks Import Screen
    Once in Sports Tracks, you can easily edit/tweak/view the data as you see fit, plus view it on top of satellite imagery and install dozens of plug-ins. Best of all – Sports Tracks is free with a vibrant user community.
    Sport Tracks Overview
  2. Training Peaks Upload Agent: Regrettably, as of Oct 12th, 2008 – the training peaks upload agent does not yet support the 405. Given it’s been out for at least 6 months now, and given that free-ware developers like Sports Tracks can make it work – I’m hoping that Training Peaks will soon support the Forerunner 405. In order to get the data to Training Peaks, you must first use Garmin Training Center to collect the data and then export a TCX file to upload to TP.
    Training Peaks Device Agent

Power me up Scotty!

Just to briefly touch on the charging/power system. The 405 charges via a little clip on cable that then connects to either a USB port, or the AC adapter block provided.

I do like the fact that it shows the percentage charged – nice touch! The 305 doesn’t show this while charging, so it’s a good addition.

Garmin 405 Charging Clip

Battery life is an interesting thing with the 405. See, you can’t technically ever turn it off. Just like a normal watch – it’s always on. So it’s always draining the battery life. This means that if you left it in your bag and went to use it a week later – it may not have enough juice to get you through the workout. So just remember that the battery is always trickling away slowly.

Based on my usage, I’m getting about 7-8 hours of active working out with it before it runs out of battery. It does charge pretty quick though. Just about 2-3 hours to fill it up completely.

Today I got a low battery warning and was able to go another hour to complete my workout and it was still working. I’m not sure how much longer it would have gone before it went kaput – but an hour’s a good warning time.

Accessories for your 405:

If your a runner who always runs outside, there’s likely little need for any of the various 405 accessories. However if you’re a triathlete, or one who runs indoors – then you’ll want to read through some of your options. Here’s an overview of a few of the accessories that are available for the 405.

Bike Speed/Cadence Meter

This allows you to use your bike indoors on a trainer and to pickup cadence (while indoors or outdoors). In addition, if you drop into a tunnel, it will use wheel distance to determine how far you’ve gone.

If you already have any existing Garmin speed/cadence magnet set ($60) or about $39 on Amazon, they continue to work with the 405. Essentially you just attach a small magnet to your wheel (like any bike computer), and then attach another small magnet to your crank arm. On your frame you use two zip ties to set in place the wireless sensor/transmitter. There’s a small button/light on it that allows you to visually verify that it’s picking up the magnets as they swing past.

I had no issues connecting up my existing transmitter to the 405, or adding a new one to another bike – quick and easy.

Garmin Cadence Sensor

Running Foot Pod/Cadence meter

Like the bike sensor above, the Foot Pod ($99, from Garmin directly, but $92 on Amazon) allows you to use your 405 indoors while running on a treadmill. I *never* run on treadmills because they drive me crazy. However, on Friday I went inside and gave it a quick whirl on the treadmill after my swim. You have to first calibrate it outdoors, and that takes about 5 minutes of running around aimlessly while it uses GPS to calibrate. You can also use a known measured distance such as on a track to calibrate it.

Old School Garmin Footpod

For my first quarter mile on the treadmill it was dead on with the treadmill’s computer – exactly the same. Then it beeped an error about lost GPS signal (duh..I’m inside), and the pace went crazy for a few seconds before settling back on the precise pace of the treadmill. About a minute later it gave another error and did the same thing. It did minimally effect my overall distance as read by the 405 – but I don’t use it inside enough to be able to understand the pattern. It appears though that it for a brief second picked up a GPS signal and then lost it, causing it to think it was outdoors again and thus change the pace and associated distance.

Garmin 405 Graph on Treadmill

More useful to me however is the foot pods ability to give turnover rates (how many times per minute your foot strikes the ground). Speaking in broad strokes – higher cadence is better – so this is a useful way of see how different paces affect my turnover. (Cadence above/below in yellow per foot per minute)

Garmin 405 Cadence Graph

Heart Rate Monitor Strap

The heart rate monitor strap measures your heart rate (beats per minute). When you purchase the 405 you can choose to get the unit with or without one. Considering I already had a HRM strap from the 305 –I chose without one and just used that one. Also note that you can use the HRM indoors without a GPS signal (such as on a treadmill or trainer). You can pickup a HR strap after the fact for $60 on Garmin’s site, or about $34 on Amazon.

Garmin Classic Heart Rate Strap

Bike Mount

Garmin 405 bike mount

I wanted to call this out specifically. Unlike the 305, the 405 is not detachable from the wristband. Thus, a different bike mount is required. The $15 405 bike mount is a big ole block of rubber that the watch winds its way through. Undoing it from the mount takes a solid 30 seconds if your calm and collected – so not exactly ideal during a triathlon in transition.

You simply use two zip ties to attach the mount to your handlebars (photo below showing it mounted to my mountain bike).

Garmin 405 on mountain bike mount

There is one little problem here though. If you have a tri-bike, and don’t have perfectly round handlebars – your kinda hosed. I tried it on my Cervelo and it just doesn’t fit very well. You might be able to get by, but it looks horrible (note how below is all elongated, whereas two photos above its nice and round).

Garmin 405 on aerobars

Updated addition (3/4/09): I’ve added a bunch of additional photos (below) of mounting it on the Cervelo P2C. While it sorta looks like it will work from the photos, it doesn’t really work that well. The problem is that the rubber piece has to bend outward, which in turn makes it just barely too big to get a secure fit on the wrist strap. So I’d be very concerned that on a bump it’d fly away. Then there’s the issue where it certainly won’t be easy to undo in transition area. There’s functionally nowhere else to mount it though.

Using the 405 while swimming

Because I wrote up how to use your Forerunner 305 while swimming, I figured I’d mention it here as well. The problem with using the 405 while swimming is the initial cap placement. See, the 305 can both detach from the wristband, as well as having the advantage of having a relatively flat wristband. The 405 has a molded initial section of the wristband, which doesn’t bend. See the below comparison.

Garmin 405 next to 305

The 305 contains a really low profile, while the 405 is really high up. This means that under your swim cap will look a whole lot funnier than it would otherwise. I tried it both on its side as well as flat – it doesn’t seem to help much stylistically. Not that lack of style will keep me from using it in a pinch in the water. Really – I promise you my swim cap isn’t that excited!

Garmin 405 under swim cap

Comparison Chart

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated March 24th, 2024 @ 12:53 pm New Window
Price$200.00 / DISCONTINUED$249/$299$299$399/$499 (cellular)$449
Product Announcement DateJAN 4, 2008Feb 20th, 2024Sept 20th, 2023Sept 14th, 2023August 30th, 2023
Actual Availability/Shipping DateJAN 2008Feb 20th, 2024Sept 20th, 2023Sept 23rd, 2023August 30th, 2023
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
Data TransferANT+ WirelessUSB, Bluetooth Smart (WiFi on Music ModelsUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART, WiFiBluetooth SmartUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART, WiFi
WaterproofingIPX750 Meters50 meters50m50 meters
Dive/Snorkel FeatureNoNoNoNo
Battery Life (GPS)8 HoursUp to 19 hours21 hrs (just GPS)12 hours GPS26 hrs (just GPS), up to 11hrs GPS+Music
Solar ChargingNoNoNoNo
Recording IntervalSmart1-second, Smart, UltraTrac1s or Smart RecordingVaries1s or Smart Recording
Dual-Frequency GNSSYesNoNoNo
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoYesYesYesYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Voice IntegrationGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Has Mic/SpeakerNoNoYesYes
Can make/receive callsNoNoNon-cellular editions with phone/Cellular Editions without phoneWith phone's cellular
Voice AssistantNoNoApple SiriApple Siri, Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby
MusicGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Can control phone musicYesYesYesYes
Has music storage and playbackYes (music edition)YesYesYes
Streaming ServicesSpotify, Amazon Music, DeezerSpotify, Amazon Music, DeezerApple MusicSpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Contactless-NFC PaymentsYesYesYesYes
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYes (with connected phone)YesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoYes (with connected phone)YesWith 3rd party appsYes
Group trackingYes (with connected phone)NoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoYes (with connected phone)YesYesYes
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoYes (with cellular version)No
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsN/AN/AN/AYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFN/AN/AN/ANoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionYesYesYesYes
RunningGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYES (Also has INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)YesWith 3rd party appsYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoYesNoYesNo
VO2Max EstimationNoYesYesYesYes
Race PredictorNoYesNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoYesYesNoYes
Run/Walk ModeNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsYes
Track Recognition ModeYesNoYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Designed for swimmingNoYesYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeN/AYesYesYEsYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingN/AYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterNoYesYesYesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesBasic stroke type onlyYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)N/AYesYesBasic stroke type onlyYes
Indoor Drill ModeN/AYesNoNoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureN/ANoNoYesNo
Change pool sizeN/AYesYesYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsN/A14M/15Y TO 150Y/M13M/15Y TO 150Y/M1y/m to 1,500y/m+13M/15Y TO 150Y/M
Ability to customize data fieldsN/AYesYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsN/AYesYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AYesYesYes (goals)Yes
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Designed for triathlonNoNoNoNot reallyNo
Multisport modeN/ANoNoYesNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesYesYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoYesYesWith 3rd party appsYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesNoYesNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoYesYesNoYes
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoYEsYesYesYes
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesNo (but some 3rd party apps can)With 3rd party appsNo (but some 3rd party apps can)
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYesNoYes (Backtrack)No
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoWith 3rd party appsNo
Back to startYesYesYesYes (Backtrack)Yes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoWith 3rd party appsNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoYesNoWith 3rd party appsNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Altimeter TypeGPSBarometricGPSBarometric with real-time watch faceBarometric
Compass TypeGPS-MagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYEsYesYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)YesYesYesYes
ECG FunctionalityNoNoYesYes
HRV RecordingYes (nightly and on-demand)YesYesYes
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYEsNoYEs
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesnoYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoYes
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesYesNoYes
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoYes
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoYesNoYes
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesYEsYesYEs
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoYesYesNoYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoYesYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoYesNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoYES (TEMPE)YesNoYes
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
PC ApplicationGTC/ANT AgentGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressNoneGarmin Express
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectNoneGarmin Connect
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidiOS/Android/WindowsiOS onlyiOS/Android/Windows
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 405Garmin Forerunner 165Garmin Vivoactive 5Apple Watch Series 9Garmin Venu 3
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink


I think the Forerunner 405 is a great addition to the Garmin fitness family. However, its not without its limitations. Garmin itself is fairly clear in that if your a triathlete – the 305 is still their premier multisport watch (now the 310XT). The 405 is fairly targeted at running, and just enough cycling features tossed it to kinda make it work for that application for casual use – but it’s not ideal for it. If you’re only going to be using it for running and don’t mind the limitations I’ve outlined in this review – then it’s an ideal watch for pounding the pavement.

I was really excited when I first got this watch, but my excitement for it has waned a bit. I don’t use it as often as my 305/310XT mostly due to the bezel. And therefore it would be hard for me to recommend it to other triathletes looking for a GPS-based watch when the 305/310XT is so much better in every area except for style.

If you found this review helpful in your purchasing decision, you can support future reviews like this (or race fees) by using any of the Amazon links (accessories or the units themselves).  The reviews generally take 20-40 hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

ProductStreet PriceAmazon
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)
Garmin ANT+ Transfer USB Stick (large sized)
Garmin ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Garmin FR405/405CX/410/310XT/910XT Charging Cable
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!
Suunto ANT+ USB Transfer Stick (mini sized)
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)

As always, if you have any questions – feel free to post them below or e-mail me (if you post a question, it gets e-mailed to me). I know many folks will find this review months or even a year plus from now, but as long as I’m still blogging I’ll answer questions. Oh, and I’ve posted a slew of other Garmin GPS related posts, with can easily be found here.

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  1. Thanks for the info on Sports Track 2.0 – I had not heard of that program and will give it a try.

    While I was waiting in the streets of downtown Portland, among the large buildings, for the marathon start last weekend I saw a huge number of runners frantically waving their older Forerunners in the air in the hopes of getting a satelite connection. I checked my watch and had full connectivity, so perhaps that is one enhancement worth mentioning for the 405.

  2. Ray–thats way too much information for dumb asses like myself. I think you have a new career working for Consumer Reports or one of the Tri-Mag. LOL

    Seriously, great update. However, I think I am going to stay with my 305 for now. I like being able to read it while on the go.

  3. JEK

    THank you for this amazing review! I am looking to make some upgrades but after some initial research and then reading this – I am not going to spring for the
    4-5. There just seem to be too many issues that would get in the way – and not make it as versatile for a triathlete – to justify the pricetag.
    You should send a copy of this to the folks over at Garmin.

  4. I am still rocking the Forerunner 101 – I keep hoping it will die so I can justify the investment in a new one (so when it does, thanks for the review!)

  5. Great post! I’ve been tossing around weather to go with the 305 or 405 as my x-mas present. 🙂

    Your two reviews really helped!

  6. Awesome review, Ray – thanks. I forwarded it to my tech buddy who will love this. I don’t know if the new technology is enough to get me into the GPS camp, but I could be inching closer.

  7. Great write up, but the $37 footpod on Amazon says it is only compatible with the 305 and 350. The one that says it is compatible with the 405 is still $87? Maybe the older model still works with the 405??? Thanks for posting this. I had a 305 for a while then sold it and got a Polar S625x… Now I want a edge 705 for just bike use. It never ends. 🙂

  8. Very well-done. Of course, I have no Garmin so I skipped about 3/4 of it, but was still impressed by the detail. Agree with lazy triathlete- I think you need a side job with Triathlete mag reviewing products. 😉

  9. Re: Foot Pod

    It looks like the $37 one does indeed work with the 405. I just checked my Amazon.com order history and that’s the one I bought – titled for 305 and all (and $37 when I paid for it in July). On the back of the device it has the ANT+ Sport logo as well (just like the Amazon.com page). I’m not sure what the difference is between the two other than $50 – but it works as far as I can tell thus far. 🙂

    I just checked the back of the Foot Pod and there isn’t and model number to match to the Amazon.com model number – so I can’t validate beyond that. :-/

    Re: The Edge 705

    That in depth review’s coming. I’m putting the finishing touches on it and should have it posted in about 2-3 weeks (there some other stuff lined up ahead of it).

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!

  10. Great review. I ended up returning my 405 when it didn’t have the switch from bike to run quickly on the go option I love on the 305. Maybe they will eventually make it a true upgrade, not just smaller

  11. Hi,

    Thanks for your detail review. I have been using Garmin 305 for almost a year and I am happy with it. However, recently, I have started wearing 305 whole day in order to keep track of number of miles I walk apart from my running.

    To save battery, I generally switch it off once I am inside the building and use only when I am outside and walking. However, as you said in your post, 305 is much bigger and thereby attracts lot of attraction. 405 seems much smaller and also seems to go nicely with formal/semi-formal dress of the office.

    Basically, I am looking for an instrument which I can use as a watch (to see time and wear whole day) and also as a mean to keep track of miles I walked. Do you think 405 will work in my case or do you know of any other product.

    Another option would have been to use pedometer. But, I don’t like those because they are often inaccurate.


  12. hi I purchased a Garmin Forerunner on my birthday of July and Im just figuring out how to use it, For some reason when I bought it I couldnt seem to pair it with the hrat rate mointer and for this whole time I thought I was doing something wrong but when i took it to the DCTri Expo I asked a guy that works at the Gtown running store and he had said that I had a faulty battery in my heart reate mointer. He was nice enough to give me a new heart rate mointer and he helped me out a lot with the watch, unfourntely when he was trying to pair it he acciendently hit another language so it took us about 1 hour to get everything figured out, I understand the headache you have with the watch but once you figure it out its a great tool for running , I call it my R2D2, hahah , anyways great blog.

  13. Great review!

    I’m currently a runner only and have been using the Polar RS200 with footpod for over two years. I really want to break into the world of GPS for accuracy reasons but am seriously struggling making my mind up about the 405.

    I understand your criticisms about the aesthetic qualities of the touch bezel but was wondering if you could elaborate regarding the features of the watch for runners?

    Specifically I’m interested to learn if the watch is good for intervals and more complex sessions where you have different distances, recovery phases and paces?

    The three data fields doesn’t bother me as the Polar can only display three but the ability to easily switch data screens seems a bit cumbersome with the 405 – is this accurate?

    I’m assuming taking a split is painless since that is achieved via one of the side buttons?

    I’ve also heard that the watch can go into auto-pause at the most inappropriate moments (just before the start of a race) and once it does this is loses the satellite – is this true? – if so do you have to have the watch go into standby? Can you turn this feature off?

    How easy is is to set up target paces for sessions? Say I’m running a marathon and want to run 3 hours – is it easy to set the watch to the pace for this target? Can this be changed on the fly? Albeit with difficulty because of the bezel most probably?

    Erm… thanks for taking the time to read this far and I would appreciate any feedback you could send my way.

  14. Answer to Forerunner 405 Questions:

    Ritesh: Question regarding using 405 as a day to day pedometer

    Just for fun, I changed up my 405 data fields to just display the field “Time of day” and then locked it. Once I did that, I realized I couldn’t tell the difference between the watch being in ‘standby mode’ or training mode. It looks virtually identical. So based on your description – this would work perfectly for you. Keep in mind that you only get about 8 hours of active battery life, but my guess is without the HRM and the GPS off, you’d get a wee bit more. I should have taken it with me today as it would have been a perfect test for all my airport travelling today.

    Jason: Questions about using it for just running

    Q1: “Specifically I’m interested to learn if the watch is good for intervals and more complex sessions where you have different distances, recovery phases and paces?”
    A1: Since you can upload any workouts (including intervals) into the watch, you can actually do intervals with it. And since the stop/start/lap buttons work – it wouldn’t be too bad actually. I wrote up a nice post about uploading workouts, just click the ‘Garmin GPS’ tag on the original post and it will show you the post I made.

    Q2: “The three data fields doesn’t bother me as the Polar can only display three but the ability to easily switch data screens seems a bit cumbersome with the 405 – is this accurate?”
    Q2: Correct, if you lock the screen it’s very cumbersome as you have to unlock/change/relock every time. Of course, you could just leave it unlocked, but I find it then changes with the slightest accidental touch.

    Q3: “I’m assuming taking a split is painless since that is achieved via one of the side buttons?”
    Q3: Correct.

    Q4: “I’ve also heard that the watch can go into auto-pause at the most inappropriate moments (just before the start of a race) and once it does this is loses the satellite – is this true? – if so do you have to have the watch go into standby? Can you turn this feature off?”
    Q4: I don’t use autopause as I just prefer to do it all in software (Sports Tracks). But you can turn it off in the settings menu.

    Q5: “How easy is is to set up target paces for sessions? Say I’m running a marathon and want to run 3 hours – is it easy to set the watch to the pace for this target? Can this be changed on the fly? Albeit with difficulty because of the bezel most probably?”
    Q5: Yes, very easy. See my earlier uploading post. Although I belive you can do it as well on the watch itself, but I haven’t personally tried. I don’t believe you can change uploaded workouts mid-stream, but you *may* be able to change watch-specified workouts mid-stream.

    Hope this helps! As always, feel free to post questions and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

  15. Hi,

    thanks for your time and replying to my question.

  16. polar are a lot better. I stick by them as much now as i did 10 years ago.

  17. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for the review. I’m a triathlete and have been looking at the 405. I currently have the polar 200. I’m also looking at the Polar 800 series GPS. Do you have any info on that one compared to the Garmin 305/405?


  18. Unfortunately I haven’t tried either of the two Polars. Sorry!

  19. Michael

    Great review….

    I own the 405 and have similar inputs. The one thing you should add is, unfortunately, another downer about the bezel:

    The bezel is *totally* unreliable if it gets wet. It will think another finger is pressing on it and get confused when you try to use it.

    Essentially this, in my book, makes the 405 virtually useless for anyone who ever works out in he rain or perspires!!

    For example: I once had it mounted on my bike for the bicycle portion of a tri. When I got out of the water there was a light sprinkle. Jumped on my bike hoping to see my heart rate and speed. Unfortunately the start sequence requires you to do some convoluted bezel magic to get the watch operating (press he timer button to unsleep, press and hold the bezel training button for 2-3 seconds, then press the timer button to start). That press and hold is what kills you. You get no feedback on whether or not it is working and if the bezel is wet anywhere it likely isn’t. So you end up doing things like press, hold, hold some more, give up, try to wipe the bezel, press, hold, still not working, wipe somre more, try again, oh my gosh I’m in a race and 3 minutes have passed while I’ve been doinking with this watch.

    That is just one of what I find are common incidents because of this poor design decision. Just for running I run into the same issue all the time as perspiration gets on the bezel.

    As cool as this watch is from a spec view I have to agree with you: don’t buy it. Try something else.

  20. Anonymous

    I just read your Garmin Forerunner 305 and 405 reviews. Very useful, thank you. I find the best buy is the 205 which you did not review. I take it as a 305 without the heart rate monitor, which I do not think I need. Is this correct? And how useful is the heart rate monitor? Am I correct to think I can do without it and save $29, based upon Amazon prices, shipped?

  21. Re: Previous question:

    Sorry, I haven’t tried out the 205. But yup it looks like the only difference is the HRM portion. However, for me that’s the most important piece. I guess it would depend on what type of training you’re doing. But I do all my training/racing according to heart rate – as it allows me to ensure I’m getting relatively consistent workouts day to day. If I was in your shoes, I’d spend the $23.

  22. Anonymous

    Wow, thanks for the in depth review. You have no idea how long it took me to find one this good!

  23. Michi

    Very good review.

    I am still undecided if I should get the 305 or 405.

    I was reading that the 405 can use the foot pod outside too when the gps signal is week. Can the 305 do the same ? I am also wondering if the foot pod data and be recorded at the same time as the gps so both can be compared after the run (eg. pace, distance ).

    Regarding workloads, can the same kind of workloads be uploaded to 305 and 405 ? As far as I understand workloads can be created with the 305 but for the 405 a PC is needed (not a big issue for me). Someone mentioned that no “complex workloads” can be used with the 405 but can with the 305 but I am not sure what that actually means.

  24. Hi Michi:

    Re: Your questions:

    “I was reading that the 405 can use the foot pod outside too when the gps signal is week. Can the 305 do the same ?”

    Yes, both watches operate identical in this manner as both can use the footpod outside and inside with or without GPS enabled.

    “I am also wondering if the foot pod data and be recorded at the same time as the gps so both can be compared after the run (eg. pace, distance ).”

    Yes, the footpod will record your turnover (run cadence), it will also be used if GPS signal is lost. It will not however record two seperate distance tracks.

    “Regarding workloads, can the same kind of workloads be uploaded to 305 and 405…. Someone mentioned that no “complex workloads” can be used with the 405 but can with the 305 but I am not sure what that actually means.”

    Using Garmin Training Center any workout can be downloaded to either the 305 or 405 (or 705). There’s no difference there at all. I wroteup a little ‘how-to’ for all three here:

    link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com

    As far creating a workout on the watch itself, I believe you can but I don’t have one with me at the moment (out of the country).

    Hope this helps!

  25. Michi

    Thanx Rainmaker.

    The link to the workload upload is very useful for me.

    Regarding the foot pod : I was reading somewhere that the 405 switched automatic between gps and foot pod when the gps signal gets week and I got the impression that with the 305 you would need to do the switch manually.
    So its good to know that they both use the foot pod the same way.

    Anotherthing I heard was that the 305 has better summary page during advanced workouts but I am not sure if thats true and what information is displayed in either case.

    thanx again for the great review and help.

  26. Thomas

    Thank you for another excellent review! I’m still looking to buy my first combined GPS/Pulse watch for professional training purpose and your articles on the 305 and 405 have been a great help so far. :o) – Keep it up!

    // Thomas, Denmark

  27. Matt

    Hi Rainmaker,

    I have a 405 and just got a Cervelo with your same aero bars. It’s hard to tell from your pic, but the mount really doesn’t look that bad – can you post another pic from above with the watch in place?


  28. Matt-

    No problem, I took some shots this evening with it attached to the Cervelo in a few different configurations, I’ll try and get them updated tomorrow.


  29. Note: I’ve added additional photos to the Garmin mount section for mounting on the Cervelo P2C.


  30. Matt

    Thanks for the additional pics on your aerobars Rainmaker! I really appreciate it.

  31. Anonymous

    Thanks for the info. on 405.
    Recently I ran National Marathon in DC and the course took you through a few tunnels where the GPS stopped working. Does it affect the distance accuracy?

  32. The 405 (like the 305) will basically extrapolate any missing data points. So in the case of a tunnel, it knows where you entered (lat/long), and then knows where you came out (lat/long) and how long it took you to move between those two points. So it does a simple average to determine pace and. But yup, in the case of the National Marathon for me this weekend (running the half), mine correctly captured the tunnels/underpasses.

  33. Anonymous

    Thanks for the reply. Do you think adding a footpod will remove any distance discrepancy esp. in a situation where GPS signal is lost or the 405 is just fine and able to do the lost data adjustments on its own. Thx.

    The 405 (like the 305) will basically extrapolate any missing data points. So in the case of a tunnel, it knows where you entered (lat/long), and then knows where you came out (lat/long) and how long it took you to move between those two points. So it does a simple average to determine pace and. But yup, in the case of the National Marathon for me this weekend (running the half), mine correctly captured the tunnels/underpasses.

  34. “Thanks for the reply. Do you think adding a footpod will remove any distance discrepancy esp. in a situation where GPS signal is lost or the 405 is just fine and able to do the lost data adjustments on its own. Thx.”

    Only in scenarios where you twist without signal. For example – if you were trail running in a canyon without signal. Or if the tunnel made a significant bend (like a U turn). For example, in the Nation’s Tri course two years ago, we went under a tunnel in DC – but actually turned around just on the edge of the tunnel at the other side. In that case, it may not have picked up the satellites at the other end of the tunnel and thus incorrectly reported the distance.

    In general, I wouldn’t worry about it though.

  35. Anonymous

    Thx. well saved $85 for not buying a footpod:-)
    also used SportTracks, a great alternative to Garmin TC. Interestingly for the DC marathon, the total mileage on SportTracks says 26.48 and TC it is 26.73 (both are higher than the marathon total of 26.21 although started the timer right on the starting mat/line). Just curious.

    “Only in scenarios where you twist without signal. For example – if you were trail running in a canyon without signal. Or if the tunnel made a significant bend (like a U turn). For example, in the Nation’s Tri course two years ago, we went under a tunnel in DC – but actually turned around just on the edge of the tunnel at the other side. In that case, it may not have picked up the satellites at the other end of the tunnel and thus incorrectly reported the distance.”

  36. Thanks for the review. I have the 201 garmin thats way to bulky and big for my wrists. It gets awful signal and dosent always work.

    I was looking to upgrade to the 405. I’m a runner mostly (bike only on occasion) and never swim. I live in the country of southern michigan and have a fair amount of trees around me.

    Which one do you reccommend? I very much appreciate this review and cant wait to hear your suggestion. Thanks!

  37. Hi Nicole,

    Sorry for the delay, it was a big weekend with the race and all.

    There have been significant improvements in the GPS devices since the 201. I haven’t had any issues with signal up in the trees in the mountains with my 305, nor did I have any with the 405 on the few runs/rides I took it on up there.

    Given the recent announcement of the two new watches (new variant of the 405 and the 310 – a new variant of the 305) – I might look to see if you would utilize those features. That said, if you are mostly a runner, I’d try the 405 first and see how you like the bezel. If you do like it – then you’re golden. If not, you’ll probably want to switch to the 305 instead (no bezel). Both have recently been discounted, but the 305 is easily found sub-$200 now. Personally, I prefer the 305. I’m working on re-writing my 305 review to have the same level of detail as the 405 review with regard to accessories, etc…

    Hope this helps!

  38. Great review! I too have a 405 and have been using it for about a year. Last week I finally had a meltdown after Garmin Training Center crashed.
    And so I wrote blog post about it.
    My thoughts on the 405 are similar to yours: very nice looking, but with definite limits. The device has its issues, as well as the issues with data transfer process and software. I switched to Sport Tracks this week andit has been wonderful and greatly helped out my frustration. Now, if Garmin would just put touch buttons and a mini USB jack on the 405.
    By the way, I don’t know this, but I suspect the hard curved rubber on the watchband is the antenna for the GPS receptor.

  39. don

    BTW.You can upload Garmin 405 files to Trainingpeaks if you first export them using the Garmin Training Center.
    I really like my 405 however I am very disappointed with the battery life. The battery seems to only last around 8 hours which is barely enough if you are running ultra’s or doing long distance riding.

  40. DC Rainmaker:

    I have been reading reviews on the 305 and 405. I have the Nike Plus Running System and I want to upgrade:) As a beginner, the reviews make me believe the 305 would best suit my needs as a runner/walker/biker/treadmiller. Operating the wheel on the Ipod drives me nuts when I am in motion and I’m thinking the bezel would drive me nuts as well. Would you agree? Costco has them on sale until July 5 for $149.99.

  41. Hi Katie,

    Given what you are saying, I do think the 305 would indeed be your best bet for the price. The only advantages of looking at the newer 310XT would be for longer activites (greater than 10 hours), or underwater usage. And given you’re dislike while operating the iPod and training, I’d guess that the 405 would also drive you crazy.

    I actually just bought my dad the 305 last week for Fathers Day this weekend using the Costco deal, as it’s a pretty solid discount. 🙂

    Good luck!

  42. TH

    Rainmaker, great review. I am going to purchase the 305. I have a question about software. While Runner’s World log is basic, one feature is I like is free, the second is that allows me to track the miles on each pair of shoes. Do any of the free programs you review allow for the same thing?


  43. Hi TH,

    Yes, both Sports Tracks and Training Peaks allow you to do that. I use Sports Tracks to track my shoes, as well as mileage on my bike and some of it’s components (tires, etc..). Works great, even allows me to include little pictures of them.

  44. Anonymous

    I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

    Sorry for offtopic

  45. amz

    Thanks for you depth information it’s a good Garmin Forerunner 405. I think you are the reporter of this products. ^^


  46. Great review!! So much good info! I just got the 305 and now, I’m pretty happy with that decision!!

  47. Anonymous

    Why buy it if all your going to do is winge? I’ve logged over 2000 km running in a year and had no problems whatsoever. How does yours stuff up so bad?

  48. Hi Anon-

    At the end of the day the review is merely my opinion. That said, a lot of folks out there seem to share the general opinion that the 405 is a bit complex than it needs to be. I’m in a somewhat lucky position where I’ve bought all of the current Forerunner and Edge products, and an able to differentiate ones that are great, from ones that need a version 2.0. In my opinion, the Forerunner 405 needs a version 2.0.

    There are certainly people like yourself who use it and like it. I don’t believe anywhere in here I’ve taken away the fact that others like yourself like it, I just fine for myself I prefer the 305 or the 310XT – due nearly 100% to the touch control systems on the 405.

    Again, just my two cents.

  49. Nat

    Great review, the most helpful of all reviews out there; better than any Consumer report type of info. That being said wish I would have found your blog a week ago; I just ordered the 405 from Airmiles rewards….free so I’m not complaining. I’m a new triathlete and am doing Ironman for my first time and I’m starting to use a HRM more seriously for the first time as well; in your opinion do you think the 405 will be more of a hinderance than a benefit; keeping in mind I realy have nothing to compare to other than my Acumen my husband bought me 5 years ago that I’ve pretended to use over the last few years (not overly impressed with it).

  50. Hi Nat-

    I think the 405 will still be a great training tool for you in training. The 405 can certainly do everything you need to get you through an Ironman. Plus, in time you’ll learn to be able to work with the touch-bezel and get more comfortable with it – which is my main gripe with the 405. While it doesn’t have multi-sport, in an Ironman situation you can easily reset it from Bike to Run. After all, a couple seconds over the course of up to 17 hours isn’t going to be that big of a deal. 😉

    Good luck in your training!

  51. Hi,

    Great review on the 405. I’ve trawled the web for the past few months looking at different opinions as i am looking for a running watch which also gives me some functionality for use on my MTB.
    You have covered the watch more comprehensively than any of the other reviews I have seen, good effort and thank you.

    I am hoping that since launch in 2008 they have been able to improve some of the softer issues.


  52. Hi Justin!

    Indeed, since 2008 they have improved the software side of things dramatically – everything from the ANT+ sync process to Garmin Connect. Aside from the touch bezel, everything else is considerably improved.

    Good luck!

  53. Anonymous

    You can set auto cycle so it can cycle between 2, 3, or 4 screens. I turn two screens on heart rate and distance, turn the others off and it cycles between these two screens and I’m happy. That way you don’t have to deal with the Bezel which I agree is a pain in the arse!

    The Daddy

  54. Anonymous

    I mean auto scroll (under training, options. (see post above)

  55. In my humble opinion, I don’t think the issue with the touch bezel with respect to getting wet is emphasized quite enough here. If you’re trying to make a decision on which gps-enabled watch to buy – here is what I think is most important to know about the 405.

    If you are a moderate sweater, or you intend to run in any rain (even light), expect one of a few things to happen:

    1) the bezel plain doesn’t respond – at all.
    2) the watch develops a mind if its own and switches screens and options for you whether you like it or not!
    3) I’ve actually had the watch reset itself after sweating a lot – losing all data and settings.

    To put it in perspective – picture yourself in the middle of an interval, hauling a** and suddenly the watch changes screens and won’t let you back to see your pace or even stop the timer. This just happened to me and I was – well, very disgruntled. The workout data was useless at that point.

    Garmin knows full well about this issue. Unfortunately all their solutions impact the normal usage of the watch (I.e. Locking the bezel, using auto-scroll, etc.)

    So my advice is – if you intend to sweat – do not get this watch! It’s a great featured watch that is ruined by this major oversight by Garmin. I suspect that is why the bezel is gone in the FR110.

  56. I’m not a big sweater and live in a dry climate, so the 405 bezel works for me. The few times I’ve run in the rain, I just quickly locked the bezel and all was good.

    I can understand why it wouldn’t work for everyone though.

    it’s my bike computer as well- I just strap in on my handlebars. The batter will last long enough to run a marathon or cycle a century… but not both.

  57. SD Paddler

    Thanks for the excellent reviews! They’re not easy to come by.

    I’ve had this watch for the past week. I’ve used it for running and paddling in my outrigger canoe and surfski. When this watch gets wet, it’s beyond worthless. It just beeps incessantly and is completely unmanageable. During my last paddle, the unit stopped working for the last third of the workout. It seemed to be on, but recorded no HRM or GPS data. Grrr…

    The software and communications is great (although getting it to work for the first time was a pain).

    Using the watch is especially frustrating. I feel like I need some sort of advanced engineering degree to be qualified and capable. I can never seem to get to the screen I want when I want it. The bezel is an exercise in patience (and not pulling your hair out). From a user’s functionality perspective, this watch is a disaster.

    I’m taking mine back to the store today. Not sure what to get in its place.

  58. Hi Dc How are you. I have only one question. I do triathlon and I need to buy a garmin…wich one you recommend me the 310 or the 405?? Forget about the price, wich one you think is the best for training more than in the race??

  59. SD Paddler

    Well, I took back the 405 yesterday and got the 310. I freakin’ love this guy. Goodbye 405 bezel that’s finicky at best and useless when wet; it won’t be missed.

    The buttons and menus of the 310 are much easier to use. Unlike the 405 which is advertised as being water resistant (but isn’t), the 310 actually is and worked flawless in the water. (I paddle outrigger canoe and surfski.)

    The only downside is the size. Didn’t bother me when working out, but once I finished and started moving things around (a 450 lb canoe), I found that the size of the unit impaired my wrist movement. I can live with that though.

    I originally went with the 405 because the 310 seemed to be too big. I have small wrists so I notice the size. Still, the weight is about the same as the 405 and I didn’t notice the size when working out.

    I also like the 310 HR strap better. I got a razzberry from 405 strap – it’s bigger and unyielding. The 310 strap is softer and the sensor is smaller making it more comfy.

    One more plus is the battery life. With the 405, I used it for one workout and didn’t charge it for the next day since it had more than half power left. Of course it died half way through my workout. I’ve worn the 310 for the past two days (not continuously on though) and the battery is still going strong. It’s nice not to have to be a daily slave to the charger.

    In general, the 310 just works where I had to sort of fight and get used to the quirks of the 405.

  60. Hi Rob-

    RE: 310XT to FR405 & Battery life

    In theory, what you say is correct – but I find it varies quite a bit unfortunately. You may want to look at the newer FR110, which although has less features – it has more battery life.

    I wouldn’t recommend going from a FR310XT to the FR405 – I think you’ll be disappointed with the feature set in comparison.

    Hi James-

    Agree completely on all accounts!

    Hi SD Paddler-

    Glad you love the 310XT – I do as well! Good choice!

    Hi Tacho-

    RE: FR405 or 310XT

    No question, 310XT any day, every day.

  61. Im trying to decide between the Garmin 405 or the Timex Global Trainer. I run crosscountry and track.

  62. Hi there!

    I got to your blog finding a link on runnerworld forum.

    It’s amazing stuff! Great reviews. Thanks a lot.

    I still have a doubt. Can the FR 405 tell me my speed (mile per hour of Km/H while I’m running? Or is this only possible on the 310 XT? For me, that’s the most important feature. I want to see my speed in km/h at any time during the run.


    Alex from Switzerland

  63. Hi Rainmaker – first off, excellent site. Thanks for all the great work.

    I am a beginner in running and mainly intend to run and am looking to upgrade from my current Nike SportBand to a GPS watch.

    Have you or are you planning to review the 405CX model? It seems to have come out after the 405.

    link to buy.garmin.com

    shotime from WA

  64. Hi Nathan-

    RE: FR405 or TGT

    I think that you may want to include the 310XT or FR305 in your search. In which case, I’d recommend either the 310XT or FR305.

    Hi Alexander-

    RE: FR405 speed while running

    Yup, it’ll do both!

    Hi Shobhit-

    RE: Review of FR405CX

    I probably won’t review the FR405CX given how similiar it is to the FR405.


  65. Anonymous

    My wife bought one of these poorly designed, form over function watches. She insists that it does not have a simple stopwatch function for running or biking. Thus, she sets it to countdown from her estimate of time. Surely it has a stopwatch, but I can’t find it either. Since you are the resident expert on these Garmin watches, I thought you could tell me if there is indeed a basic stopwatch and how it can be engaged.

    Thanks for your indepth reviews, I wish my wife would have researched before she bought the 405. She really wants my 310XT.


  66. jackie in georgia

    My 405 just totally died. The customer service at Garmin was horrible-telling me to buy another one from them for $79. It is less then 2 years old and got condensation in the screen (I have never worn it in the water) and just went crazy. Now it doesn’t even hold a charge. Garmin told me I must have a faulty seal on it so there was nothing they can do. I only wear it running so I am not happy about paying $79 for another, especially if this happens again. I have some friends I run with whose 405’s are acting the same way as well. Although it is not “waterproof” it should be able to withstand some sweat-it is a running watch! Will buy the new Times GPS unless someone has a better idea for me. Tired of forking out a lot of money for watches!

  67. Anonymous

    WOW- I was considering the 405 specifically for the touch screen option and thinking that it may be a bit less cumbersome to wear than my 305 for interval workouts. However, after reading your amazing review, I will consider otherwise. Which leads me to my next question- if I wanted a watch that was just for interval training outdoors, what would you suggest?

  68. Anonymous

    Hi DC,

    I’m trying to pick out a gps watch for my husband for Christmas. He is a weekend runner and road cyclist, and does the odd 10km run, or sprint duathalon.

    Could you tell me what you know about the new Garmin Forerunner 410, and if it has any improvements over the 405?



  69. Hi Kara-

    RE: FR410 Improvements over FR405

    I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet – however, a unit has arrived for me to test (unfortunately, I haven’t arrived back home yet). That said, my understanding is the FR410 has improved by change via the bezel design. The new bezel has been divided up into four underlying touch sensor sections (vice one large sensor with the FR405), also it’s better protected against water.

    Look for more details in the coming weeks.

    Re: Previous question on recommendations for intervals-

    I recommend the FR305 or FR310XT for complex intervals – but for simpler intervals the FR210 isn’t bad.

  70. Bodybuilder Triathlete Identity Crisis

    I appreciate you taking the time to write such thorough reviews and eagerly await your review of the 410 I just purchased. I’m a bodybuilder 5-10 and 220 lbs. I’m training for an Xterra Tri but I still manage to get in 3 lifting sessions 2 hrs a piece each week. I’m determined to maintain as much muscle as I can. I remember you made mention of using the HRM feature during your weight training. Do you strictly run the HRM and get a pretty graph showing rest periods and spiked heart rates when you are lifting? Any tips or tricks to share. Thanks in advance.

  71. Susan

    Wow, thanks very much for the in depth review. I’ve had the Forerunner 405cx for over 6 months now, and love it. However, I’d like to have it alert me on a marathon or any run if I go below a certain pace. Either I haven’t found out how yet, or the feature doesn’t exist. My friend told me that his 305 allows him to do it. There’s an “auto pause” feature that is not an alert, where it just stops if I go below a certain pace. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  72. Ray,
    What an excellent write-up. I was thinking, “this guy must be me” because I have experienced EVERYTHING that you found annoying about this watch. The bezel is especially a pain. I have to lock it because if one bead of sweat hits it, it will send the watch into schizophrenic mode. LOL.. I wish I had been read this BEFORE I purchased the watch 2 years ago. But I’m glad I read it now because I’m trying to decide if it will work with the new SRAM power crank, and I’m now leaning away from it given the handlebar mounting issues on a tri bike. Thanks for your extensive and honest review.

  73. Ever since updating my 405 to 2.7 firmware, the battery percentage stays at 100% until it suddenly drops to 0% and dies with a battery low message. I’ve done a few hard resets and have let it drain fully, charge fully, etc to try and recalibrate the battery. No luck. I also noticed that (indoors) trying to drain the battery quickly with the GPS and backlight on it only took about 45 mins to kill it. I guess the battery is finally on its last legs after about a year and a half. Garmin wants $79 to fix it, so I found a NIB 310XT on ebay and pulled the trigger yesterday. Other than this new issue, loved it.

    Thanks for the great reviews.

  74. Hi Bodybuilder-
    RE: Weight Room Graphs

    In short, yes. Basically just run it as a HRM.

    Hi Susan-
    RE: Pace Alerts

    One option is to create a ‘workout’ that’s essentially your race plan. For example, I’d guess that you have different goals for different portions of the race. Else, Pace Alerts would work. Here’s how to setup a race/workout alert system (which is what I do):

    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Alecia-
    Thanks – glad to see you agreed!

    Hi Scott-
    RE: Battery issues & 310XT

    Enjoy the 310XT – I think you’ll love it!

    Thanks all!

  75. Is this watch a better buy for running than the FR60?
    I’m training for a marathon and will begin outdoor runs very soon.
    I was looking for a watch that measures instant pace and time.
    Since you have tried out so many hrm’s, I’m very interested to learn in your feedback. Thanks in advance!

  76. shively

    This watch is on a one day special at Amazon for about $175. Use Ray’s referral link to support his blog.

  77. Kurt

    I purchased the 405cx after considerable research, and I feel I have to weigh in on the bezel issue. I love the bezel, and I even find it to be much more intuitive than buttons. So far I’m happy I chose the 405 over the 305 or other Garmin models. It has worked perfectly right out of the box, including the wireless uploading.

  78. I purchased the 405cx almost a year ago. Previously I owned the Forerunner 201. Initially I was extremely happy with the 405cx. It was lighter and offered some great features (I particularly liked customizing my training workouts using Garmin’s free software and downloading the workouts to the 405cx). Even though I had occaisional issues with the touch bezel control and with the 405cx locking up, I was willing to live with these issues because I was enjoying the positive aspects so much.

    That changed once I got serious about training for the Marine Corps Marathon 2011. Once I began training my run data became like gold to me. Invaluable to analyzing my progress. Suddenly those lock-ups and bezel craziness were not just mere annoyances… they were impacting my ability to train!

    It all came to a head last weekend when I was doing my ‘long run’ of the week. I stopped during the run for a restroom break and paused my run on the 405cx. When I went back to restart the run tracking the bezel control went out-of-control. It must have gotten too much sweat on it. The control started self-navigating all over the menu… beeping and changing displays rapidly. Nothing I could do could stop it; the buttons were unresponsive and I couldn’t use the bezel control and wiping it with dry cloth (which was hard to come by on the trail) didn’t work. I ended up resetting the 405cx and thus couldn’t complete tracking my run (I’d already lost my momentum trying to get the thing going again).

    NOTE: I contacted Garmin support via their web site and have been exchanging emails with them. They have offered to exchange the 405cx for a 310xt (if I kick in an extra $20) and I think I’ll take them up on the offer.

  79. This comment has been removed by the author.

  80. WOW you are the man!!!

    I am starting to get into the running game. Not sure why I started but its becoming addictive I ran my first 10K(49.14) last Saturday at the Gold Coast Marathon. Then backed up with the half marathon 2.01.40 on Sunday and now I want more. I was running on Sunday with a fellow runner(met on the day) he had a garmin not sure which one but GREAT THING beeped every K he knew what kph we were travelling and what our projected finish time was.
    Excuse my ignorance but I would like to know which models offer this I cant see on there site. I was going to get the 405 but you are making me think of the 305 but it looks huge so Then i looked at the 310 and the timex and after reading all your blosg and posts I have absolutely no idea.

    I am a beginner who loves to Run and Ride and would like to get into swimming to complete a mini triathlon one day.

    Sorry for the essay but you are inspiring.

    Thanks for all you detailed entries

  81. Hi Blanca-
    RE: FR60 vs FR405

    That’s a tough one, I love the FR60, but I like the flexibility of the FR405. Except for the bezel, which I don’t like much.

    Hi Kurt-
    Glad to hear you’re happy. Enjoy!

    Hi Jeremy-
    RE: Sweet upgrade offer

    Dang, that’s a sweet deal for an exchange – nicely done!

    Hi Stuart-

    Congrats on your first 10K, that’s awesome!

    The vast majority of the Garmin models offer this, but the ones I would recommend would be the FR305 (budget), the FR210 (mid-range) and the FR610 (high end). If you plan to do triathlons, swap out the FR610 for the FR310XT at the high range.


    Thanks all, and sorry for the delay here – been a bit of a crazy few months with wedding and honeymoon, just getting a chance to catchup on all the past comments.

  82. Greg G

    Hello, I appreciate how much work you put into your reviews and really like them.
    I have a question about the bezel for the 405.
    Say its soaked from rain or sweat, and you have it locked. Can you wipe the bezel dry with something dry and then unlock it with no problems, or will it still go wild like I’ve read? Also, would you say the improvement in the 410 is worth $50?

  83. Hi Greg-
    RE: Bezel Wetness Funkiness

    In most cases, you can indeed wipe it dry – but there have been improvements in the way that works with the FR410 since they split up the bezel into different regions to better understand the swips. I’d say $50 is worth it for the bezel improvements, but I’d also really seriously look at either the FR210 (more simplistic watch) or the FR610 (more advanced). I really love both, especially compared to the FR405/FR410.

  84. Dear Rainmaker,

    I just love the way you write your reviews! Nothing left unturned!

    I recently bought a Forerunner 405 and it was working perfectly fine…

    Recently started using it in rains and all of a sudden it just runs out of battery. I thought that maybe it was not properly charged and so even last night kept it for charging and went out with it with it showing 100% charging .. But still after 7-8 kms it just stopped working.

    And am sure you will understand how really irritating it is that on a long run you are without a watch. Luckily the road is marked in kms so completed my 17km scheduled long run.

    Is this an issue with the watch (as a product) or is there an issue with my watch.

    Also do you know of any product (some transparent cover) that i could use to make it more reliable in rains?

    I am in India and had got this watch from ebay usa and so am not even sure how to get it serviced. And so including the shipping cost to India the watch turned about to be very very expensive. So just cant get rid of it 🙁

    Really need some insights! Thanks



  85. Rene van Hassel

    May be there are some Linux fans using the Garmin 405 (G-405)? There is a program called gant-master, such that you can read the data out of your G-405. That was also one of the reasons that I bought the G-405. See here a website with a lot of detailed information link to thefloatingfrog.co.uk
    Further there are several programs almost doing the same as the Garmin-site. My favourite is mytourbooks, see link to sourceforge.net, the other programs give almost the same information.
    Other programs are for instance pytrainer, SportsTrackers, see link to sourceforge.net and TurtleSport, see link to turtlesport.sourceforge.net. Pytrainer can be downloaded with Ubuntu, but it doesn’t work well on my computer. Try to download the latest versions of these
    packages, but be careful with the 32bits or 64bits programs. TurtleSport is easy in use even as mytourbook. With mytourbook you can also print the results of some running into a .pdf file. Mytourbook gives a lot of information of which you can ask yourself why? Oke, but the pictures of the tracks are nice to see what kind of speed you run at some places and also of the heart rate.
    Have your pleasure with these programs!

  86. Thanks for the fab reviews!!

    Hoping you can help answer a question that I am having troubles finding the answer to.

    Specs say that the 405 does not provide heart rate based calorie computation. But the summary image shows calories. Is this just an ‘estimate’ of your calories burned based on information other than HR?

    Thanks, T

  87. Just found the answer to my question!
    It uses the age, speed and distance to count the calories. The CX uses heart rate 🙂

  88. Anonymous

    Hello, there are some problems with the
    RunCadence and the AvgRunCadence given
    in the ,TCX file of for instance the
    Garmin 405. In the programs I tried,
    mytourbook, turtle and sportstracker I
    get no graph of the RunCadence. The program RunningAhead gives some graph!
    I hope that somebody has the knowledge to get also graphs of the RunCadence in the other programs. I use the Garmin 405 together with a FootPod, therefore you have a RunCadence. The normal Cadence is something for a biker, but I’m runner.


    Hi, I was looking at the 405 to replace my current (old) speed/cadence on my road bike. Initially I wanted an edge 500, but am leaning toward the 405 as it can be used for running as well. I am not a top end athlete, I just like to know how fast I’m going and how hard I’m working. Is the 405 the right choice????

  90. Thanks for the detailed info on the 405. You mentioned that after a workout I can either transfer my workout data into my GTC or go directly into my Garmin Connect. So, how do I tell my Garmin to transfer my workout data directly into Garmin Connect instead of going through the GTC first?



  91. Anonymous

    Getting this as a gift for my daughter. Can you tell be the difference between the 405 and the 405CX…the ones that I am looking at both have the heart rate monitor and the ANT+.

  92. Hi, thanks DC Rainmaker for the AWESOME reviews, I’m constantly sending people here when they ask about gadgets.

    I want to let others know about a problem with the latest (2.7 & 2.8) firmware updates

    I’ve owned a 405 for several years and loved it. Recently, I upgraded the firmware & now am having major battery problems. Turns out firmware 2.7 is problematic–version 2.8 is suppose to correct the problem but many users on the Garmin boards still report problems.
    link to forums.garmin.com From what I can tell, Garmin has not responded to the 2.8 problems. Just wanted to pass along this info so others can make an informed decision when prompted to update their firmware. (Manish’s problems may be related for instance).

    What’s even more frustrating is Garmin hasn’t made it possible to downgrade the firmware to 2.5, the last stable version. The Garmin message board does have info on downgrading to 2.2.

  93. Anonymous

    Really great review that has increased my understanding but, for idiots like me, there is one flaw! How do you start the watch?

  94. Steve

    Thanks for the great review. I’m currently deciding between a 305 and 405cx. I run mostly but also bike occassionally. Based on your review and others I’ve read I am definitely leaning toward the 305 for the features, larger screen, and the buttons vs the bezel. So the choice would be obvious since the 305 has been historically priced less. HOWEVER, the current price as of Jan 2012 for the 305 is $235 and the 405cs is $180 on Amazon, and these prices are typical. With the significant price advantage, would you recommend the 405cx over the 305 or would you still choose the 305? Thanks!

  95. Will the 405 display run cadence on the watch while running outside? I’ve read that it will *record* cadence but I can’t seem to figure out if it will display while running.


  96. The 405 is going for $165 on amazon on now. Is it worth it or should I look at one of the other garmins? Your review sounds very good, but on amazon, they have a lot of negative reviews in regards to it encountering any moisture. All I plan on using it for is running and as a heart rate monitor for biking

  97. The swede

    I’m about to buy a new Forerunner. I’m thinking 405 or 210
    Which one do you think is best?
    Should have it when I run mostly.
    / The Swede

  98. Leon

    @Ray –first, thank you very much for the detailed and amusing reviews that you provide on your site. The wealth of information is much appreciated!

    –second, I thought to share my experience: after 8 months my FR405 suddenly did not charge any longer. It would indicate 100% when attached to the charger, but after a few minutes of use the battery would be back at 0% and it would turn off.

    Otherwise I’ve been quite satisfied with the unit (running). The bezel could definitely be improved though.

    Luckily I will get a refund (Amazon), so now I’ve ordered a FR610. Bit pricy, but after reading your review I think I’m worth it 😉

  99. Hey Rainmaker,

    So I was wondering if I could enlist in some help. I am trying to buy my fiance a birthday present and he has been wanting a GPS watch for a long time now. He is a marathon runner and mainly sticks to running.

    As I have been reading your reviews I have been very impressed with the Garmin watches, the problem is which one to buy. I don’t want to go over board (plus I don’t have a ton to spend) but I would like one that works well and he will be excited about.

    So after that LONG explanation… which watch would you suggest?

    Thank you SO much! I am so thankful that I stumbled upon your blog… I love it!

  100. Hey Rainmaker,

    I was hoping you could help me out with a dilemma I have been having. I am trying to buy my fiance a nice GPS watch as a birthday present, but problem is I don’t know anything about them. I have been reading your reviews (which are SO extremely helpful) and think that the Garmin 210 sounds like a nice watch for him. He is a marathon runner and mostly just sticks to running.

    I guess my question to you would be that, I found a great deal for the Garmin 405 which would be about a hundred dollars less then the 210. Do you think it is still worth it though to buy the 210? Or is there a better watch you would suggest all together?

    Thank you a million times over! I am so thankful that I found your blog.

  101. Ahh,

    I’m so sorry that my comments posted SO many times… I didn’t think it worked but didn’t even look.


  102. I have to agree with the comments about poor battery life and a few drops of sweat affecting the ability for the 405cx to work. I had the watch charged to 100% before refereeing a soccer match and by half time (45 minutes) the watch had already shutdown the training function with the 405cx telling me that the charge was 0% even though the standby mode as working as a watch was still functional.

    To make matters worse I didn’t notice that the dogs had used my HR strap as a chew toy! Can anyone recommend a replacement GPS/HRM watch for a 405cx? I extremely annoyed with this POC!

  103. Mark Wallace

    Great review (Garmin Forerunner 410). I agree with you 100% on the bezel. The design is garbage. They tried to stuff too much functionality into the device, and couldn’t figure out a satisfactory UI for it all.

  104. Anonymous

    Don’t get the 405. A piece of garbage. The battery won’t hold a charge for a short hour work out and the bezel is hard to deal with. I had to go back to my old 101 to track my workouts.

  105. Kim

    Hello, it seems my battery is dead on my watch and I need advice on whether I should send it in for repair or just purchase a new one??

    Thanks so much

  106. Ann

    I agree. I’ve tried to work with it, but I’m giving up.
    I got it through Costco last year.
    Has anyone tried to return it?
    I got it December 2011, so it is almost a year. But it was expensive and does not work well.
    I still use my very old Forerunner 310. Looks weird and is not real comfortable.
    I want Santa to bring me a better running watch!

  107. Mj

    wow, very cool review, thanks! Hey i was wondering though, I lost my ant + key.. Do you know if the usb cable will do to transfer my data?

  108. Ian

    Hope you don’t mind me asking these questions but everything gets answered on your page ! Great Work !

    On the 405cx I have never managed to get a course to work correctly. I have planned route on gamin connect.. and uploaded to watch.Then gone to router start but the watch always say’s 3ft away 8 ft away etc and never starts the route any advice ?


    On garmin connect website ..to record a 10K or 5K time does the watch have to be set to either of these distances or if I ran 12K and bot 5K and 10K intervals where PB’s would it record them?

    Great site !!!

    • DC Rainmaker

      Hmm, not sure on the course issue. Sounds pretty odd. I’d definitely check the Garmin Forums out on that one.

      As for the PR’s, nope, it just skims your entire uploaded run set. So it just finds ones in there that are the fastest pace for that distance. Or well, in theory it does. I find it misses a lot.

  109. Mike

    Walmart Garmin 405CX refurb for $109.

    I just started jogging and wanted to get an inexpensive gps device to track my progress and to help motivate me. I purchased the 405CX through Walmart online about 3 weeks ago. It’s great. It looks and behaves as brand new. Comes with the HR strap and everything outlined in the review above.

    I mainly monitor my HR and elapsed time, so I set the training screen accordingly and lock the bezel. No issues. Garmin Connect has enough graphs and data for me so far.

    Anyway, this seemed like the best deal going for this type of unit. Has a warranty from Garmin, and I’m assuming Walmart will take it back (within a couple of weeks) if one doesn’t like it for some reason.

  110. Louise Frith

    I have had 2 of these Garmin’s and the 3rd one is now giving me problems. I know people sometimes get a faulty unit, but I have now bought a Polar RC3… so far, touch wood, the RC3 is offering everything I need without giving me any headaches. It’s good to see Garmin have some GPS HRM competiton now from Polar.. hopefully their range will grow.

  111. Adam Bruss

    I have a 405cx(don’t know what the cx means) and I like it except for one major problem. After using it for a few years the charging mechanism on the back has gotten rusty from sweat and the watch has trouble charging. I’ve kept the thing alive by cleaning those little metal surfaces on the back with a pipe cleaner but I feel my time is running out. I need to see if the other watches have the same charging mechanism. It’s a shame because besides the charging problem the watch works perfectly still.

    • Try using a bit of an eraser (like that of a pencil) instead, as it keeps from scratching the surface but still cleans it.

      The other item is to rinse it in water post-run.

  112. Sune

    Is it possible to start the timer before the gps signal is found and when the satelites are found, the gps will start tracking my run (then I wouldn’t have to wait 2-3 minuttes before I can start running).

    • You can do that, however, it won’t be accurate. Also, that will usually cause the GPS to take much longer to acquire signal (sometimes, it won’t ever find it). A better option is to simply place the watch in a windowsill before you plan to head outside. It’ll find signal and you’ll be good to go.

  113. lin lu

    What is the difference between a garmin 405 and a garmin 405cx? I am starting my search for a gps hrm watch. I usually run 20-25 miles per week and do some cycling. I am looking at refurbished 405 and 405cx and cannot find the difference. Also researching garmin 410 to see what is better for my needs. Thanks, You are definitely the best reviewer out there that I have seen. Keep up the great thorough work 😀

  114. Nina

    2 questions

    1.) So does it have the ability to download custom workouts from garmin connect?

    2.) Which models do allow you to download custom workouts?

  115. Joshua

    Great review of the 405! I have had mine for about 3 years now and love it. I do have a question. I have started cycling more and I do have the bike sensor attached. I was curious as to why my cadence data is not being uploaded. Any advice or further questions? Thanks.

  116. Brian Barber

    I just bought a used 405 and for the most part I like it. Uploading activities is much quicker and more reliable than the 305. I miss, however, pace, distance and HR alerts. I use them all the time on my 305 and just assumed that they would be there on a device of this calibre. As a footpod user, the 405 is flawless, unlike the 305 which messed up footpod recording in the latest firmware. In any case, thanks for yet another terrific review. They are my go-to source for geeky athletic gadget information.

  117. Peggy Hunter

    I have a Forerunner 405 and would like to have it beep at me every 15 minutes. How do I do this?

    Thank you

    • You should be able to setup a time-based alert for every 15 minutes.

    • Brian Barber

      Actually, no. The 405 does not have the ability to set up HR, time or distance alerts, which stinks because it was something that I happened to use a lot on my 110 and 305. This being said, you can, however, create a workout where each step has a duration of 15 minutes and have it repeat a set number of times, e.g. 12-13 times if you plan on running for 3 hours.

  118. mark mc guinness

    IS 99km the max duration you can set on this device? if not how do you go past 100km?There’re only 2 places before the decimal point and I can’t seem to find a way of changing it.
    I bike mode 99km can’t be the max surely.

    • No, it’ll simply move the decimal point out of the picture and continue on.

    • mark mcguinness

      As it’s a touch screen without numbers I tap and scroll to 9. Repeat and it becomes 99.00. When I tap 3rd time it moves onto 0 after decimal point. 99.00. Can u explain in detail how to set to over 100km. Thanks

    • Sorry, just to clarify – have you actually ridden over 100KM yet, or is this pre-ride?

    • mark mcguinness

      I have done a couple of 90kms and am about to do a 120km this Sunday,so until now I hadn’t noticed.
      It seems to me that 99.99 km is the maximum I can enter,I can’t get the decimal point to move.

  119. Paul


    I was wondering if you could help me out. I have a Forerunner 405, live in New York City, and recently have beginning running again after some time off. While the bezel has always been finicky, now the battery lasts for a much shorter time (obviously), the watch sometimes randomly reboots or shuts down, and most problematic, is the GPS functionality. The watch also ran out of battery life while running the NYC Marathon last week. Standing in Central Park where there are less obstructions still takes up to 10 minutes to find a signal, and when I’m finished running, I find that there were numerous dropouts along my route. This didn’t happen when I first used it. I’m considering updating to a 220 as it has been about 7 years. I doesn’t appear I’m going to need anything on the 620, expect the virtual running partner which I love.
    Do you think I should upgrade or use an internet repair shop to have the battery replaced and the GPS checked/fixed? How does the newer technology compare to what’s in the 405? It seems like I would have less of a GPS issue.

    Thank you,


  120. ICoopland

    I too suffer from the Bezel being activated by the sleeve of a winter jacket, So lock the Bezel and lose the Light function ( poor design ) and why we cant upload data via usb when the watch is charging by USB !!

    Just wondering which watch would suit my needs best now ? I love all the functions of my 405 buy would like mass storage so I can transfer .tcx files without the need for garmin software and real buttons. Any garmin watch fit the bill ?

  121. Christopher Drew

    What model number has now replaced the 405?

    • The FR410 replaced the FR405. But then after that it gets more complex (since that was years ago).

      The FR220/225 & FR230/235 are the closest units in terms of features today, with the FR230/235 being my recommendation to look at.

  122. Ieuan Davies

    bough a Garmin Forerunner 405 a couple of weeks ago. Just getting used to the functions – I cannot figure if there is a basic stopwatch/timer function e.g if I go out for a 3 mile run and just want to simply time myself, as with a normal stopwatch ? Any ideas ?