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Garmin Forerunner 405

*Est. $200; $250 with heart-rate monitor
May 2011
by ConsumerSearch
Garmin Forerunner 405

A favorite watch among professional reviewers and athletes alike

  • Sleeker design than previous Forerunners
  • Quick GPS connectivity
  • Wireless data transfer
  • Bezel can be hard to use with sweaty fingers
  • Short battery life

The Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch is a favorite of professional reviewers and athletes alike. This GPS-enabled sports watch looks like a true wristwatch, in stark contrast to previous versions of the Garmin Forerunner, which were huge and bulky. The Forerunner 405 tracks distance, pace, calories, time and heart rate with an optional heart rate monitor. The virtual partner (a training tool that allows you to set a pace and race against it), waypoint tracking and a wireless data upload are highlighted as some of the best features of the Garmin Forerunner 405. Experts also say they like the new bezel menu navigation, but owners are less convinced. Multiple reviewers posting to online review sites say that the bezel is hard to use if the watch gets wet or if you are wearing gloves. In addition, numerous reviewers think the short battery life is a drawback. The Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch has a manufacturer-reported battery life of eight hours -- several hours less than its predecessor, the Garmin Forerunner 305 (*Est. $130). Although the Garmin Forerunner 405 is still available, a newer version, the Garmin Forerunner 410 (*Est. $325; $375 with heart-rate monitor) offers an improved bezel.

There's no shortage of reviews of the Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch, and we found the best coverage in publications like The Boston Globe and Runner's World, Running Times, Men's Journal, Women's Adventure and Smart Money magazines. Most of these reviews are not comparative and focus mainly on features, although some are more detailed and balanced than others. Online review sites are also a good source of information on the Garmin Forerunner 405, especially and

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Our Sources

1. The Boston Globe

The Boston Globe tests five heart rate monitors and Terrence Mahon, a running coach for Team Running USA, evaluates each model. Mahon picks the Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS watch as his favorite of the bunch, saying the route and elevation tracking are valuable tools for serious runners.

Review: Running Through Heart-Monitor Options, Danielle Kost, April 20, 2008

2. Runner's World

Senior editor Sean Downey writes a detailed review of the Garmin Forerunner 405 for Runner's World. He says he loves the virtual partner training tool and finds the 405 GPS watch gets quicker satellite reception than previous Forerunners. Still, he says he wishes the sports watch could go longer on one battery charge.

Review: Garmin Forerunner 405, Sean Downey, June 17, 2008

3. Runner's World U.K.

Runner's World U.K. says the Garmin Forerunner 405 is a better watch than its predecessor, the Garmin Forerunner 305. Editors of the magazine say the 405 is more user friendly, with improved satellite reception around tall buildings and trees.

Review: RW Review: Garmin Forerunner 405, Editors of Runner's World U.K., April 3, 2008


More than 250 owners review the Garmin Forerunner 405 on, where it earns mixed reviews and an average rating of 3.5 stars. Some reviewers say they love it, but others wish they had stuck with the Garmin Forerunner 305. Those who don't like the GPS watch point to the short battery life and frustrating bezel.

Review: Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS-Enabled Sports Watch with USB ANT Stick and Heart Rate Monitor (Black), Contributors to, As of April 2011

5. Wired

The Garmin Forerunner 405 scores 8 stars out of 10 from Wired. Reviewer Mathew Honan praises the easy-to-use bezel and sleeker design, but he finds that the GPS signal is iffy on cloudy days.

Review: Wrist-Top Racer Switches From Trainer to Watch With Ease, Mathew Honan, June 20, 2008


Longtime gear reviewer Brian Metzler also says he likes the virtual partner on the Garmin Forerunner 405, and he appreciates the smaller design that makes this watch less bulky and heavy than its predecessors.

Review: Technology That Works, Brian Metzler, April 2008

7. Shape

Shape magazine likes the Garmin Forerunner 405, especially for serious runners, but reviewer Alla Byrne says casual runners may be frustrated by the complicated setup process.

Review: Road Tested: Garmin Forerunner 405, Alla Byrne


About 70 owners review the Garmin Forerunner 405 on, giving it an average rating of 3.5 stars. Reviewers say that the GPS is very accurate and that the watch is comfortable, but many people find the bezel hard to use.

Review: Garmin Forerunner 405, Contributors to, As of April 2011

9. The Independent (London)

The Independent picks its 10 favorite digital watches, including the Garmin Forerunner 405. Calling it "scarily efficient," reviewer Rebecca Armstrong also says she thinks this watch is easy to use.

Review: The Ten Best Digital Watches, Rebecca Armstrong, Oct. 22, 2008


Smart Money highlights seven fitness gadgets that can get you in shape in a brief review, including the Garmin Forerunner 405. Natali Del Conte, an editor at CNET TV, tells Smart Money that the Garmin Forerunner 405 sets itself apart by tracking your course so you can find your way back.

Review: Slideshow: 7 Gadgets to Help You Get in Shape, Kelli B. Grant, Aug. 13, 2008

11. Men's Fitness

Men's Fitness highlights five watches in a brief review, including the Garmin Forerunner 405. Noah Johnson says he thinks this watch stands out thanks to a wireless data upload and customized training programs.

Review: Wrist Action, Noah Johnson

12. The Mirror (U.K.)

Steve Halsall, a personal trainer, reviews the Garmin Forerunner 405, calling it a great value. Halsall says the watch is comfortable, easy to monitor and a good choice for running or cycling.

Review: Review: Sport Watches, Steve Halsall, Feb. 4, 2009

13. Women's Adventure magazine

The Garmin Forerunner 405 scores an Editor's Choice award from Women's Adventure magazine, but there's no explanation about why this GPS watch was chosen.

Review: 2009 Editor's Choice Awards, Karina Evertsen, April 2009

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