Yesterday during the race expo I got the new Garmin 405 including the HR belt. I was thinking about it twice, but since they had them at the expo I had to get my hands on one. So far I ran only once with the unit and as a matter of fact it was my first A-race of the season. The Garmin watch really helped me a lot to keep even splits during the half marathon as you can see on Garmin Connect record. I'm not yet ready to do a full review of the watch since I can not really judge it after just one run. But here are few observations I made so far.
- The form factor of this new watch is just great. It looks like watch, is small as a watch and still has the Garmin GPS capabilities built in. It also looks good - understated design - not much showing while in the power save mode.
- Navigation in the menu is very easy and using the bezel of the watch is very intuitive. Watch has only 2 buttons and 4 touch areas on the bezel. Navigation and access to the menu is very easy.
- The fit is great - it snugly fits around the wrist and is very easy on the hand even in long races (I had it on my right arm where I usually do not have a watch).
- The GPS signal gets picked up very fast (compared to regular car GPS units or the Polar GPS sensor that I use).
- The watch is little bigger than the Polar RS800, but not much bigger. It feels very sturdy - something like Suunto T6 or Polar S625X. With the RS800 I sometimes fear that the watch is to fragile.
- The ANT connection to the computer is in one word amazing. When I got home I walked into my office and the computer picked-up the activity recording and transferred it to the Garmin Training Center and Garmin Connect. Without me even logging onto the machine (it was locked from last night).
- Garmin apparently built in capabilities to program guided workouts - seems very similar to RS800. I have not used it yet, but from the pre-delivered workouts it looks very easy to build the workout and execute it.
- According to the manual the 405 can calibrate foot pod based on the GPS data during the run. Something Suunto and Polar users were asking for their manufacturers. I'm not sure how good it is as I do not have foot pod to test it.
- The watch lets you setup virtual partner which was what kept me on pace today during the race.
- The accuracy of the watch is very good - all the splits came within a meter or two of the official race mile markers. The only exception was the mile 10 where I was about 20 meters behind the marker when the lap got recorded. I think it may have been the tree cover or just misplaced mile marker. In any case I did not seem to lose the GPS signal even while running under the trees. I did not check the accuracy for obvious reasons, but I may do that on one of the training runs.
- Battery life is rated as 8 hours of running with GPS on and about 2 weeks in power safe mode. I can only tell you that after being fully charged last night I used the watch for the half marathon, transfer to the computer and it shows 80% battery life left. I also left the default settings of 55% brightness and beeping of the buttons, bezel and while running.
Stuff that can be annoying to some people
- The bezel is extremely touch sensitive. One needs to remember to lock it when you put your shirt over the watch otherwise it may lead to some unwanted actions on the watch. Like switching on the GPS when you are indoors. But learning to press the two buttons to lock the bezel is very quick. I had the watch only 12 hours and knew what to do.
- At this point the 405 is not supported on Mac, but I assume that will get corrected over time. I do not mind as I use PC for my workout recording, but some Mac zealots may find it disturbing.
- I did not find anything that I would not like about the watch. I actually had to think long time to come up with the two above items. But hey I used it only for less than 24 hours so there may be things that pop-up later. I'll post them here.
OK that is all I could come up with after quick read of the manual, quick setup of the watch and one run with it. Let me know what you want to know for the review so I can look into it before I post again.