Garmin Forerunner fabric wrist strap

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Garmin forerunner 305 vs 405

If you are considering buying a Garmin running watch but in doubt whether to buy the Garmin Forerunner 305 or the Garmin Forerunner 405 then read along. In the following I have gathered my experience with the two running watches in an overview. I already have the 305 but I have tried the 405 for more than 10 times. My running partner has been so kind to lend his 405 to me, and the following is based on my experience with the 305 and his and my experience with the 405. See also my Comparison between Garmin Forerunner 305 and Garmin Forerunner 405 or the Garmin Forerunner 305/405 specs comparison.

Comparison between the Garmin forerunner 305 and 405

Design

The 405’s bezel looks better than the 305’s buttons, but the buttons on the 305 are more effective while you are running. If you consider using the watch for other purposes than doing sports then you should go for the 405.

 Screen

The 305 screen is bigger than the round display on the 405. On both the 305 and the 405 you can customize which fields (heart rate, speed, average speed, distance etc) you want to appear on the display. The 305 has four fields but the 405 only allows for a maximum of three data fields. Besides the 305 also shows your heart rate in the top right of all the general screens. This extra field with the heart rate is however so small that you cannot read it while running, but it is useful to if you want to check that the device is receiving the heart rate signal before you start running.

If you chose to show the 3 field on the 405, it is pretty small but still readable. The 405 rounds off data with one less decimal of precision than the 305 does, but that is not really a problem as the data is not so accurate anyway.

I think that display size issue is mostly an issue if you intend to use the device on a bicycle handlebar mount. It’s much easier to read the 305 screen than the 405 screen while cycling but when running you can just move your wrist a bit closer to your eyes so there is no problem reading the fields on the 405 while running. That being said when I run fast I really run, and when I run really fast I cannot concentrate about reading anything, I just let the device collect the data and analyze the data after my run.

How the watch fits on the wrist

If you only use the watch for training, I would rate the 305 and 405 equal, but if you are not always training when you wear it, the 405 is definitely more wearable. The designers of the Gamin Forerunner 405 deserve great credit for how they have packed everything into one unit. Overall it is more or less the same size as a normal watch just a bit thicker in depth. Persons with very thin wrists or children would probably find both watches a bit bulky.

 Can it be used as a watch?

The 305 is not meant to e used as an ordinary watch, it can show you the time and todays date but it is not an effective everyday watch, it’s just a training tool. The 405 is designed so it can be used as an everyday watch, although it is a bit bulky in comparison to most normal watches. The 405 is no more bulky than a Polar HRM/watch. The advantage of 405 is that if you wear the 405 as an everyday watch you won’t forget it and leave it at home if you are doing sports after work or school. If you don’t intend to wear the 405 as a watch maybe you should maybe just consider the 305 instead.

Battery Life

According to Garmin the battery life of the 305 is 10hrs, this hold true, I would say maybe the battery can even last a bit longer, but I guess it also depends on in which outdoor temperature the watch is used. Cold weather in general shortens the battery life. Garmin says that the 405 has a battery life of 8 hours when fully charged. However, the 405 does not really turn off when after use, it just switches to power save mode. It means that the 405 is always draining power when in use as a watch, so you’ll only get the 8hrs ofGPSuse if you have just fully charged it. In watch mode you can expect to loose some power every day. Given that you loose an hour of battery life a day in practice that means that you need to charge your 405 every 3 or 4 days to make sure that you will not run out of battery for the next ride or run. I run 4 times a week with my 305, and usually I charge it once a week, usually on weekends when I also have time to transfer the data to my PC. Obviously, if you run more than 8 hours per week you would need to charge your device more than one a week.

You can charge both the 305 and the 405 using a cable and your computer’sUSBport. It is easy to charge both, but personally I use the option of charging my watch through a normal power outlet using theUSBpower adapter included with the watch.

It is however somewhat ironic that the 405 gets charged off a USBcable but interfaces with the computer via a USBwireless adapter. The Famin Foreunner 305 charges ANDinterfaces by the cable/cradle which means that when you transfer your data to your computer the battery  is automatically charged at the same time (if you remember to leave the watch in the cradle and the computer to turned on).

Accuracy of the GPS

Both the Garmin forerunner 305 and 405 are effectively the same, but the 405 picks up the satellite signals slightly faster than the 305. When we run together we often compare the results (mainly average speed and distance run), and the two watches’ tracking accuracy is basically the same.

 Advanced Workouts

The advanced workouts are planned and programmed in the Garmin Training Centre software and transferred to the watch. Both devices have similar advanced workout functionalities. The 305’s advanced workout display fields are in my opinion a bit superior to what the 405 displays. A nice feature is that the 305 has an advanced workout page that gives you a summary of the lap you have just done and what the next lap will be. The 405 lacks this functionality. That being said, I am sure you would like all the functionalities of the 405.

Multi Sport functions

The 405 only supports running and cycling whereas the 305 supports running, cycling and other activities. The 305 allows you to switch between sports in the one session, but the 405 requires a session to be stopped and manually switched. The 305 also allows each sport mode’s display screens to be customized specifically, so that you can set running mode to use pace and cycling mode to use speed. If you plan on using the device for triathlon, the 305 also has a special mount kit to quickly clip between a bike mount and wrist.

 Water Resistance

I do not recommend that you swim or shower with either the 305 or 405. It is no problem that you use them when it rains but avoid immersion. If you consider using the device for swimming, see my advice here.

 Navigation

The 405 lacks the map functionality that the 305 has. The map may be useful in unfamiliar areas but to me I hardly ever use the built in map function. After all you cannot really see much on such a small little drawing of your route. But if you are lost somewhere in an unfamiliar area it may help you to find out which direction to take to get back to start.

 PC Connection

The 305 connects to your computer via a cable and cradle whereas the 405 does it with a wirelessUSBstick. If you come close to your computer with the 405 it will automatically transfer your data to your computer so it is ready for analysis.

 Accessories

Both the 305 and 405 offer the same accessories, a bike speed/cadence sensor and a foot pod. Because both devices haveGPSyou really only need the foot pod if you do treadmill running.

If you are planning on using the device for cycling you may buy the speed/cadence sensor already when you buy your device. To find out more about cycling with the Garmin Forerunner see my post on how to use the Garmin Forerunner 305 for cycling. I have also made a list of accessories for the Garmin Forerunner 305.

Conclusion

If you do not have any of the two devices, I would definitely recommend that you buy one of them. TheGPSwatches will really motivate you to train harder and more often. If you already have the 305 there should be no need to upgrade to the 405. If you think that you would like to wear it as a watch and have the money, you should get the 405. If you want the best value for money and already have a watch that you like to wear the best value for money is the 305. The 405 is great, and it does more or less the same as the 305 except for the navigation map, so if you like the design of the 405 and wireless transfer of data you would definitely be happy with a 405. In my opinion both the 305 and 405 significantly exceeds the functionality and value for money of any otherGPStraining tool currently on the market, and with theGPStracking it offers much more than the simple footpod based devices. Both the Garmin Forerunner 305 and 405 are very good choices!

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