Garmin 405: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly (Product Review)

I’ve gone for years without wearing a Garmin or other gps device to track my paces or distances. Earlier this year I finally took the plunge and bought a geek-o-meter, more specifically a Garmin 405. This post is about two things, one what it’s like to run with a geek-o-meter and then more specifically the Garmin 405.

Running with a Geek-o-Meter
I’ve dreaded buying a gps watch, mainly because I don’t want to become a slave to the watch on what paces I’m running. As you may have guessed from the title of my blog I have a reputation for being able to lock into paces. My reason for getting the Garmin was to run more varying paces and not get locked into my comfortable paces. I wanted to be able to know if I was really getting out of my comfort zone … yes not a normal reason.

I have the Garmin configured to show me my lap paces (each mile), and then the current lap and overall pace. I don’t have it show me my immediate pace since I think I can manage how I feel. I have decided that I won’t wear one on races though or during track workouts.  Even with my attempts at not relying on the Garmin I have to say that I do rely on it now more to know what pace or effort I’m running, something I used to be able to do without needing a GPS before.

The Garmin 405
The 405 looks like a regular watch. That’s a definite highlight. Now for the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

  • Size like a regular watch
  • Lots of settings and customization options to change what information is displayed on the screen and options to have upto three screens you can go between … you should be able to have whatever you want show up
  • Good integreation with a website to log your runs (includes, mileage, splits, map) (see an example)
  • Transfer of data to you computer wirelessly (mac and pc)

The Bad

  • The placement of the button to lap versus start/stop seems to be the opposite of other stop watches.
  • Getting all the settings correct can take some time, especially if you’re not into gadgets
  • Digits on the screen when you have two or more things displayed can be a little small. Stop watches for running seem to have better sized numbers.
  • Turning on the back-light makes use of the bezel. The bezel with it’s touch feature is how lots of navigation is done.
  • Locking the bezel  requires pressing both buttons, but that for me ends up stopping the watch … annoying

The Ugly

  • The watch fritzes out when it gets wet, pretty much when you sweat. After about an hour, the bezel stops working at times and a few times it’ll just start beeping and switching screens on it’s own
  • The getting sweaty wet on some recent runs at the end of the run the button to stop the watch hasn’t been working immediately

Even though it looks like there are more “Bad” then “Good”, that’s me being picky and the Good items out weight the Bad … BUT and it’s a BIG BUT  … the Ugly is too much to ignore.  If I had it to do again I wouldn’t buy the Garmin 405 until they figure out the issues with the sweat and the bezel freaking out.  But for now since I have it I’ll keep wearing it on easy runs, but not on track workouts and definitely not during races where that last thing I need is to worry about my watch freaking out on me.

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8 comments

  1. An update on my Garmin 405. Since the last few months it locks up completely. Resetting the watch used to fix it but now the only way to get out of the situation is to let the batter completely drain and then recharge. With all the negative comments I have I still use it, it really doesn’t seem very difficult to fix the software locking issues but maybe this just isn’t an area of expertise for Garmin. If somebody else had something with similar functionality I’d probably give it a try.

  2. I’m glad that I read your comment. I was definately going to purchase a 405. I have a 305 that went dead and was going to upgrade only because I have a very, very small wrist and the 305 swallows it completely. I thought the 405 would be better, however, with your comments, I would rather have a huge (305) garmin that works great than a small one (405) that doesn’t.

    1. You can but if you’re looking for better battery life and something that handles higher humidity conditions you should consider a different model from Garmin.

  3. I too have had repeated issues with the 405 and unless you wish to spend endless hours messing with the watch I would highly recommend an alternative

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