I've been using Garmin watches now for 5 years. I decided to do a review since you read all these brilliant reviews on website that tested the watch and think the watch is fantastic. Unfortunately you only find out it real short comings once you use it for an ... Read full review
I've been using Garmin watches now for 5 years. I decided to do a review since you read all these brilliant reviews on website that tested the watch and think the watch is fantastic. Unfortunately you only find out it real short comings once you use it for an extended time, and that is the purpose of this review.
At first the 305 and loved it. Then it got stolen and I thought I'll buy the 405 upgrade, had it now for a year and realised I made a mistake, big mistake!
1. Software support: The Garmin Connect online software and Garmin Training centre are both awful, clunky and not very user friendly. Interface between them are very difficult and transferring your completed runs are ok, but try transferring scheduled runs or pre set workout - impossible. Just look at forums on the 405 and see how much people complain about this watch and the software integration.
2. Basel control: Very difficult to use, even more so when your fingers get wet/sweaty then its completely unusable. There is nothing more frustrating when running and you want to change the screen and nothing happens, no matter what you do. And when you running in high humidity then there is no way it works, try as you may. Renders the watch pretty much useless.
3. Since the watch does not turn off, the battery life is very poor. On numerous runs I had run out of battery power and therefore did not record my run. If you buy one of these then charge it before each run to be safe, even if it still shows 60%, it sometimes lasts only 30min. The % battery life shown does not actually reflect how long it will last. Sometimes 30% lasts longer than 60%, etc.
4. It seems from web forums that with most people the battery quickly starts fading after a year, very few people manage battery life over two years. And here is the trick; the battery cannot be changed at your local watch store. No, it has to be sent back to Garmin who will change it for half the price of your watch!! Therefore, be prepared to change watches once a year. Pretty much as you will change trainers.
5. So you set up a number of screens to track your running and set up the virtual partner, total say two or three screen and the virtual partner. Now once you start running and you are say on screen two but you want to go to screen 1. You can't, unless you scroll through screen 3 & 4 first before it goes to screen 1. You would think no big deal, few taps on the basel and presto. But remember, the basel does not work that well. Becomes a massive struggle. This wasn't the case with the 305. Since it worked with buttons you could use the top button to go forward, bottom button to go back - and it worked every time.
6. The screen size has been reduced from the 305 to make it an everyday watch. Now to be honest I hadn't seen anyone using their training run as an everyday watch. It's a training watch and therefore it needs to cater best for training. All other training watches are getting bigger and bigger for this reason. But no, Garmin designers are clearly not runners. They are clueless to the needs of runners and hence they come up with these crazy ideas. So if you run for two hours, the last thing you want to do is fiddle with the watch, squint in the sunlight to decipher your pace or hart rate. 305 were much better.
7. I got used to download a running program from the Runner's World website. This is very useful and easy to do, select a program from a huge selection of programs, add the date of your race and download the file. Import it into one of Garmin's rubbish software packages and presto, you have a scheduled program for each day of the week until race day. How good is that? Now on the 305 it worked brilliantly. Turn on your watch, select training, workout and if you have a workout scheduled for today it will ask you if you want to proceed with today's program. You acknowledge and off you go. As simple as that. Brilliant.
However on the 405 this has changed. Downloading the program remains the same. However once transferred to the watch you select training, workout, then advanced workout - no prompt of the scheduled workout. In fact, you have to remember self what you supposed to do and then select the required workout?!? What? In the past I had no worries, turn on the watch and just follow what was scheduled for the day. Garmin, what are you doing? What is the point of the training schedule? This is madness.
8. You would think that Garmin would take all of this on board, learn from all the people complaining on the forums and improve on their product. But Garmin being Garmin will go in the opposite direction and come up with new models that is worse then the previous one. Insane. But people believe the next one will be better.
Therefore I have now gone back and ditched my 405 and bought me again a 305. Not brave enough to test the Garmin 410 or the new Garmin 610 with touch screen - who knows how they would muck that up!