Garmin Forerunner 405

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Meet your new best friend, the Garmin Forerunner 405. Scheduled for release in the US on April 21, 2008, on the same day the Boston Marathon takes place, the new Forerunner model will take personal training to a new dimension.

UPDATE: While the 405 was available for purchase at the Boston Marathon Expo, the general release date has been pushed back and has been difficult to nail down. The 405 could be released anytime between today and August of this year. You can pre-order your Forerunner 405 on Amazon now.—Ed.

UPDATE: The 405 is shipping! —Ed.

Building upon the success of the feature-rich but somewhat clunky-looking Forerunner 305 and Forerunner 205 predecessors, the GPS-enabled 405 has been redesigned as a stylish watch that can be worn all day long.

Unlike Nike+, which is based on an accelerometer sensor, the 405 uses GPS satellites to continuously track and record all your runs. So instead of having to attach anything to your shoe to help record or relay data, the Forerunner 405 records everything within the watch. Time, distance, calories, pace and even heart rate data (via a corresponding heart rate monitor accessory), are all collected by the 405.

Here’s the clincher: As soon as you’re done with your workout, and you get back home, your run data is sent wirelessly to your computer. While the Apple iPod Nano can only communicate your Nike+ data through iTunes via a USB connection, the Forerunner upload involves no wires whatsoever.

The touch-sensitive bezel around the face of the 405 watch takes a leaf from the Apple iPod scroll wheel, and allows the user to navigate through options simply by touch/circular motion of the fingers. This seems an ideal way to change or tweak settings while in motion/running, especially compared to having to press the rubber buttons on the side of the previous Garmin Forerunner models.

One innovative and exciting feature of the 405 is the ability to race against a Virtual Partner®. This feature works by choosing the pace of a Virtual Partner and having it appear on your watch to visually show you during a run if you are in front or behind your virtual training partner. Another breakthrough for the 405 is the ability to share your workouts, times and routes wirelessly with friends simply by selecting “transfer” on the watch. Your friends can then run the same course or duration as you at a later time/date, which will allow both sets of runners the opportunity to compete or compare running data.

More Resources:
Garmin Forerunner product spec sheet
Runner’s World video review/interview product description and video

The Garmin Forerunner 405 will retail for approximately $299 but prices will vary depending on what extra accessories ship with the watch (e.g. heart rate monitor, footpod for indoor activity). Apple Mac owners take note — it doesn’t appear as though the 405 will be compatible with any Macs until at least September 2008.

Compared to Nike+, the Forerunner 405 is obviously a more expensive device for a more serious runner. It’s literally 10 times as expensive, so it’s not really fair to directly compare both Nike+ and the 405. There is a “lighter,” non-GPS version however, called the Forerunner 50, which has been available for several months now, retailing for approximately $100, (again, depending on the extra accessories included) and this is somewhat of a compromise between the feature set of Nike+ and the Forerunner 450.

A lot of current Nike+ users will probably be excited to purchase and ‘upgrade’ to either a Forerunner 50 or 405, but overall, I think the $30 price tag of Nike+, coupled with the obvious audio advantages of owning and using an iPod Nano during a workout, is still going to allow Apple and Nike to dominate the cheaper, ‘entry-level’ target audience interested in running.

That said however, there’s going to be a few people out there who I’m sure will enjoy the best of both worlds; a Forerunner 405 watch to record running data, while simultaneously listening to audio on an iPod Nano. What remains to be seen is how Apple/Nike react, if at all, to the potential threat of newer devices such as the Forerunner 50 and/or Forerunner 405, in order to retain current customers and prevent their user base from abandoning Nike+ in order to adopt newer technologies.

17 Responses to “Garmin Forerunner 405”

  1. JamieCorn Says:

    Nice device! THe only draw back i have with teh 405, it is not water restistant where my Polar is and i can swim with it. So i was waivering between keeping the polar or getting the 405, and i have grown to love teh Polar. I get all running data, calories, HR, etc and can swim and bike with it, plus if get caught in the rain, i dont have to worry. But i do love the bezel feature of teh 405.

  2. Scott Says:

    Thanks for mentioning the Polar device, Jamie, I didn’t know much about Polar, but having read a bit more about it now, they seem to have a great product line.

    According to Garmin’s product spec sheet, the 405 is water resistant. It’s not water proof however, so probably not suited for swimmers/triathletes, but I think the 405 ought to stand up in heavy rain where most runners are concerned.

  3. Chris Hoover Says:

    Any update on the release date for the forerunner 405? Everybody seems to have their own opinion!

  4. Scott Says:

    Hey Chris, as far as I know, it’s still scheduled for an April 21 release.

  5. Chris Hoover Says:

    Thanks Scott! I hope so, because I am tired of the inaccuracy of the Nike+ system! Although I did appreciate your article comparing the different systems, and for the price, Nike+ is a good deal for the average runner.

  6. Robyn Says:

    I believe that in current product parlance, “water resistant” means you can swim with it, and “waterproof” is reserved for stuff you can scuba dive in. Note that the full wording is “water resistant to 30 m” –actually deeper than I ever scuba dive!– and that the manual itself says “to maintain water resistance, do not operate buttons underwater.” That kind of implies that except for operating the buttons, they do expect you to use it underwater. I use the Forerunner 50 and intend to swim with mine, as I have with all the previous “water resistant to 30 m” watches I have owned, and I’ve never had a water-related problem with one.

    One thing that is irritating about the 50 is that when it uploads your workouts, it has fields for distance, pace and so on, but without the GPS these come up zeroed and are not editable. I know the distances, because I’m running on a measured course, and would like to be able to enter them.

  7. Elena Says:

    I can’t decide between Polar 200SD, 400SD and Garmin 405. Can someone please let me know the key differences (besided GPS and price)?

  8. Jeremy Says:

    Hey Elena,

    As the Garmin 405 hasn’t actually been released yet, I’m not sure how far you’re going to get looking for head to head comparisons between the Polar products and the Garmin 405. In general, it seems that the Polar products are much more technical than the Garmin offerings.

    Here are a few links to some older Polar vs. Garmin reviews that might be helpful as background:

    Comparison Review: Polar S625X vs. Garmin Forerunner 305
    Head to Head: Garmin Forerunner 305 vs Polar S625X

    When you finally make your purchase, make sure to drop us a line letting us know what you got and how you like it!

  9. Steve Says:

    the 405 has been out for a little while now. I have the 205 and was wondering if my old runs can be transfered to the 405 when I get one?

  10. Jeremy Says:

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks for coming by. You know, none of us at 400mToGo have a Forerunner, yet. I’d hate to steer you wrong on this one. Maybe you could find your answer on Garmin’s official product support site.

    Good luck, Steve. Let us know what you find out.

  11. Pete Says:

    About to invest in my next fitness watch. Having been very happy with two prior Polar models I am debating between the Polar 625 (I run and bike), Polar 800sd or the Garmin 405. Cost not an issue, I just want to have a great training partner. Heard the Garmin is not great at measuring HR but Polar 625 requires a foot pod. Now the 405 is out any help is appreciated.

  12. Jeremy Says:

    Hey Pete,

    Thanks for stopping by! I wish we could provide you with some decent Polar vs. Garmin information, but we simply don’t have any. My advice is to hit Google and see what you can find out. Best of luck!

  13. Victor Says:

    I have a new Polar 800 s/d and also with GPS and ir port all new in box for sale.

  14. Izzy Mizzy Says:

    Just wanted to point out that the Virtual Partner is available in the 305 and the 205, and was so already from the release of those two. So, it’s certainly not a new feature for the 405.

  15. Scott G Says:

    I moved from the 305 w/HR to the 405 w/hr, have used it and really like the size, the ability to put it in power save mode showing the clock. One problem I have had, ran a 15K it started to rain at the end, not hard just enought to get wet, also it was humid out, I tried to end the run at the finish and it would not turn off, after I ran water over my head to cool off i looked at the 405 and the screens were jumping around, I had no control of the bezel or the start/stop and reset buttons. I need to contact Garmin because this is not exceptable in my book.(unfortunatly I sold my 305 or I would go back to it)

  16. John C Says:

    My wife has really gotten into competing in triathlons and I was wondering if anyone has had success using the 405 in the water during swim workouts. If so, I plan to get it for her as a gift. If it doesn’t work in the water, I plan to go with the Polar.

  17. Steve Burkett Says:

    Regarding working in water, from the manual:

    The Forerunner is waterproof to IEC Standard 60529 IPX7. It can withstand immersion in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. Prolonged submersion can cause damage to the unit. After submersion, be certain to wipe dry and air dry the unit before using or charging. CAUTION: The Forerunner is not intended to be used while swimming. Swimming or prolonged water submersion can cause a short in the unit, which can in rare cases result in a minor skin burn or irritation in the area of the unit.

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