Sunday, May 18, 2008

Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Watch

2009 Update: Amazon does sell this now.

I recently misplaced my Forerunner 305 at home under mysterious circumstances. The timing of my loss was quite good because Garmin decided to release a new version of the Forerunner series around that time so I decided to get it. This is the first Garmin GPS watch that actually looks like a normal watch! (The others are moderately big and not as sleek.) still doesn't sell it at this time, so I got it from I ordered it online on 26 April, and the package arrived at my home in Singapore on 7 May via vPOSTUSA. vPOST seems to be getting better nowadays with a slicker reporting system and faster turnaround of around two weeks. (Click on all pictures below to see larger versions)

The second box contains the SB-800 flashlight from It's good to consolidate your vPOSTUSA purchases to save some money.

This morning I cycled around 37km along the PCN with Jan. The pictures below show the comparisons between the Cateye cycling computer which relies on the circumference of the wheel to get the distance travelled and the 405 which relies on the GPS satellites to do the same. As shown, the difference is about 200m over 37km, or around 1%. That's good enough for me!

This shows my heartrate; it's now 100 beats per minute. I didn't need to get the version that has the heartrate monitor because I can still use the one that came with my previous Forerunner 305.

This is the Virtual Partner screen. It's great for running when you don't have a running companion and just need an imaginery friend to keep you company or to pace you using some target timing or distance that you input into the watch.

The above two screens show the GPS satellites' accuracy. The SiRFstarIII chip is again found in the 405 according to wordings found on the box, so thick foliage shouldn't affect the signals too much.
This is a view of some of the various menu items that are available.

A very interesting feature of this watch is the way the menus are selected. I don't know of any other watch that uses this 'iPod' like way of selecting menus. There are only two hard buttons on the right, and four 'places' on the bezel to select the menus. To select 'menu', you just put your finger at six o'clock. To select items within the menus, just do circular motions on the bezel the same way you operate an iPod! It's quite incredible!

After you've jogged/cycled, the information is stored in the watch. To transfer the info into the computer, you plug this USB stick into to the computer, and the data will be synced wirelessly and automatically. This feature is powered by the very cool ANT+Sport technology!

After the data is downloaded, Garmin Training Centre will launch and you can look at the nice graphs.

There's a built-in battery and you can charge the 405 using your computer's USB port or the supplied wall adaptor. This charging clip attaches to the watch and charges it. (The 100-240v wall adaptor supplied has a plug for the US. If you aren't in the US, just use one of those industry standard plug for your region and fix it to the customisable plug.)

The design of the 405 is really very pretty. If you need to know how far you've run or cycled, there's no better buy than this. For more info, look at Garmin's website or their blog.

And oh, this is my road bike. :)


ewecheong said...


may i know how much the bought the garmin 405 including shipping fees?
they are not in spore yet?

jeffyen said...

I don't believe there're in Singapore yet, though I can't verify this point. You can check Perfect Watch at SLS for an update.

I bought it from .

It's around S$460 with GST, the shipping is around S$10-20.

Weikang said...


Your package does not come with the Heart Rate Monitor right?


jeffyen said...

No it doesn't because I chose the package that doesn't have the HRM. I already have the HRM from my previous Forerunner 305 package.

There is of course another version of the 405 that does come with the HRM.

weikang said...

Ohh ok. 2 more questions.

Does this 405 has a backlight?

I was looking at garmin website regarding the different versions of the 405. Do you know the difference between Forerunner 405, Black and Forerunner 405, Pacific, Black? What does the pacific means?

jeffyen said...

Yes it has a pretty backlight.

Pacific probably means Asia Pacific. I'm not sure why there is a price differential though, maybe it's the electric plug that's supplied. If you buy from the States, you'll get the US 2-pin plug. The adaptor that I got supports 120-240v though, and the US pin plug can be detached and inserted with the industry standard add-on. Nevertheless, it's not a big deal I guess if you have an access to an USB port.

weikang said...

Ok many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff...
I'm new to the running watch selection thing, so please pardon any sllly question.

Question A:
I need a watch that
(1) calculates distances cycled and run without calibration of my steps or circumference of tyre etc
(2) is in 1 unit, ie, does not have a 'pod' along with it
(3) does not have to be charged or battery replaced too often
(4) works anywhere in the world

Does the 405 suit this profile?

Question B:
If the purchase in Singapore is over SGD 400, I have heard that there is a tax or charge payable
(1) Is this correct
(2) If yes, is this easy to pay

Thanks a lot for the help,

jeffyen said...

1) Sure, no problem. That's what a GPS device is for, no calibration needed. For cycling, my experience with cycling about 40km is that the difference in distance is about 200m compared to my Cateye; 0.5% difference, more than acceptable.

2) Sure, there is no pod. You can add a cadence pod though for cycling, but that's if you really need it. I have cadence measurement on my Cateye computer instead.

3) It lasts for days when you don't use the GPS. If you use GPS, the published battery life is around 8 hours, more than enough for most things. You can charge it at a USB stick or the electrical mains.

4) No problem, the GPS works anywhere in the world. The satellites move about above our skies. The maintenance fees have already been paid by US taxpayers, it's free of charge for the rest of us.

jeffyen said...

Oh Jeeves, for question B.

Yes, there is GST. It is easy to pay if you're using vPOSTUSA by SingPost. The shipping invoicet includes the necessary GST also. THe whole process is seamless.

Philippe said...

Hi, I liked you comments and wonder if you could help - I am new to distance / time / heart rate monitors, and have bought a Forerunner 405 adn started using it. But, I would really like a step-by-step manual to hep me with the training options and settings - basically a "how to use me" manual. Is there anything available on the web? Thanks, Philippe

RunColo said...

Nice write up! Here is my two pennies.

christian said...

Hi Jeff, I see you interested in GPS, Our company is planning to organize geocaching here in singapore. If you want to share your thoughts about this drop me an email

Anonymous said...

I've had the watch since Christmas, and due to weather and work, have only logged about 20 runs thus far.

One quirk that is kind of bothering me is the inaccuracy in elevation gain/loss, as it uses that data compute calories burned.

My 20 or so runs have been the exact same course, about 6 km. The circuit is out in the open, very few trees etc. and usually on very clear days. My elevation gain/loss can vary this much... Here are the highs/lows - Low gain = 775 feet high gain = 3304 feet. I have readings everywhere in between those extremes.

I could understand a 10 to 20 % difference, but several hundred % makes me question other accuracies. Luckily my course is generally the same distance.

Ken (half Marathon Runner) said...


The Garmin 405 GPS with HRM is now for sale at Amazon for only a few pounds more than the non-HRM.

Check out the best prices in the UK at:

Keep on running!

jeffyen said...

Anon 10 Feb,

Here's an article explaining why altitude is inherently less accurate compared to our usual 'horizontal distance' readings.

Anonymous said...


That was a very useful review.

Have you changed your mind or have any other thoughts nearly a year after getting it?

Anyone know if it is available in Singapore?

Is it waterproof? Can I swim in it?


jeffyen said...

David, I haven't changed my mind. I'd still recommend this highly to anyone who jogs/runs. The benefits of the virtual partner function are enormous, especially in pacing during races/army fitness proficiency tests...

I'm not sure if it's available in SG. I suspect that it might be, go check out Perfect Watch at the ground floor of Sim Lim Square.

According to Garmin, "Most newer Garmin® GPS units are waterproof in accordance with IEC 60529 IPX7. IEC 60529 is a European system of test specification standards for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment. An IPX7 designation means the GPS case can withstand accidental immersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. An IPX8 designation is for continuous underwater use."

The 405 is IPX7 rated. I've tried it at the swimming pool and it's all right. Technically, it's not rated for swimming where water turbulence is involved. I'd recommend not using it at the pool because it cannot receive GPS signals in the water anyway.

Sachin said...

Hi Jeff,

I have just started practising for a marathon and need a watch which will monitor the kms run and my heart rate. For a new comer like me what do you recommend?
My name is Sachin Jog and I live in Mumbai, India. I am travelling to Singapore next week. Any chance there? Also, what would be the approximate price?

Thanx a Ton in advance..


jeffyen said...

Hi Sachin, I would highly recommend the Forerunner 405 with the heart rate monitor. You can call Perfect Watch at (65) 6339 8638 to ask. They are a major seller of Garmins in Singapore.

Perfect Watch & Electronics
1 Rochor Canal Rd #01-36 Sim Lim Sq Singapore 188504

Simon said...

I am wondering if it is possible to manually pause the unit using the start-stop button, for example when you come to some traffic lights - rather than using the autopause function? Also, can you pause using the start stop utton while the touch bezel is locked? Thanks! Simon

Garmin 405 said...

Great post!

Are you still happy with your Forerunner 405?
What functionality do you miss?

garmin 305 forerunner said...

I use this thing for running , biking,...I am really happy with it ( both 305 and 405 )

patric said...

Hi, do you have any problems setting the time on the 405 to the local time zone. I can't seem to do it...its always an hour ahead

gps tracking said...

The Garmin Forerunner GPS is a great little device for any runner.

Tapia said...

Hi, I have a question for the Garmin Forerunner 405. I bought the watch with the heart rate monitor band. Everything worked fine but my watch got stolen. I just bought another forerunner 405 but the watch doesnt detect the band. I know its possible the problem can be the battery but just want to make shure that my other's watch band should work with my new watch.


jeffyen said...

Tapia, the watch should be able to detech the band. Sure, change the battery and test again. And play around with the settings on the watch. Switch the functionality off and on again etc.

Patric, I have no issues with adjusting the time.

Garmin Forerunner 405 Review said...

This techie gadget requires some kind of dedication from its owners for a good use of its features. But generally spaking, I love my Garmin 405!

Png said...

Hi Jeff,

I intended to get a 405 Forerunner from Amazon as well and came across your website.

May I know if the warranty for your Forerunner covers SG as well?

BTW, I lived in SG.

jeffyen said...

Well I bought from Amazon so I'm not sure how the warranty applies to SG. Usually I just take the risk when I'm buying from Amazon. If you want, try Perfect Watch at Sim Lim Square and see what the price difference is...

BTW, there's a new Forerunner 610 coming out soon in early May. I'd still buy the Forerunner 305 (even though there are a few 'version upgrades like the 405cx and 410), but you may just get the 610 if you like it, and the high price!

Garmin Forerunner 110 best price said...

This techie gadget requires some kind of dedication from its owners for a good use of its features. But generally spaking, I love my Garmin 405!

Samsung PN51D450 said...

Hi, I have a question for the Garmin Forerunner 405. I bought the watch with the heart rate monitor band. Everything worked fine but my watch got stolen. I just bought another forerunner 405 but the watch doesnt detect the band. I know its possible the problem can be the battery but just want to make shure that my other's watch band should work with my new watch.


jeffyen said...

Samsung, the watch should detect the band. Go to the watch's settings area and 're-scan'. Also, check the band's battery and 0-ring to see if it's not working and water's leaked in etc.

I had this problem and just bought the 3rd generation heart rate monitor band.

Charlie said...

I recently upgraded from the 405 to the 410. Now my trailnruns are coming up shorter. I know accuracy is suspect when running in the woods, but why would the newer 410 be less accurate than the 405? Is there a way to improve the accuracy when running in the woods!

jeffyen said...

The 410 shouldn't be worse. Wear both and compare? Or look at the tracks on the Fitness software?

Or get a clear signal with 4-5m accuracy before starting off?

Som said...

Just wondering, where can I purchase the Garmin Forerunner from in Singapore.

If I purchase it online, eg. from amazon, is the warranty valid in Singapore?

jeffyen said...

Try Perfect Watch at Sim Lim Square for all things Garmin.

If you buy from Amazon, I suppose you'll follow the tech support procedures of the US office. I'm not sure if PW can support it, you may want to ask them.

Anonymous said...


Can i check with you, it is a Unisex watch right? Cause i see online,there is like men/women running watches..
And will you recommend 405 or 305? It can be use in SG despite i buy it from Amazon right? Just want to confirm..

jeffyen said...

Well I don't see why it can't be unisex. There are I think 2 colours to choose from. I'd recommend the 405.

Yes, it can work in Singapore and anywhere in the world. It comes with the risks of not buying from a local shop, repair issues etc. I'm not too concerned about this though...