There are a whole bunch of gadgets and gizmos designed specifically for sports and fitness freaks, that lie unexplored and unnoticed. Garmin is a company that’s known for making GPS devices for cars and a whole range of products cater to those who are into recreational and sports activities, such as cycling and running. The Forerunner 405CX is one of the models designed for use while walking, running and cycling.
Garmin Forerunner 405CX
Design and build quality
The Forerunner 405CX is a watch that you wear like any other, except it’s larger and made of rubber. The strap isn’t very flexible, so strapping it on is not really easy. Once you wear it, though, it stays and it’s like wearing any other watch. The strap is really strong and has grooves all along, so you can fit in on pretty much anyone’s hand. The strap doesn’t straighten out fully. The quality of the clips and buckle is great, so there’s no chance of it breaking, while you're doing outdoorsy stuff. There are touch sensitive buttons on the watch as well as two physical buttons.
Compact sized but packs in a ton of features
The GPS watch comes along with a heart rate monitor belt that is primarily made of plastic and then a synthetic band that goes around your back. The strap is sturdy and can take quite some abuse. It’s not very uncomfortable to wear, either. When you first wear it, it feels a little odd, but adjust the width and you’ll soon forget that it’s there.
The entire kit comes with a number of things. Firstly, there’s the watch, a heart rate monitor, a USB wireless receiver module and a separate USB charger meant to charge the watch. The heart rate monitor is powered by a Lithium-ion coin cell battery. The setup of the entire system is easy - the necessary software for receiving data wirelessly from the watch using the USB module comes bundled with the package, so you don’t have to go about looking for the correct software for your model.
The heart rate monitor clips on easily and is adjustable
The watch is at the heart of the entire kit - it has an outer ring and a screen along with two physical buttons on the right side. The outer rim of the watch has four touch-sensitive buttons that also supports gestures. Touching each of these sensitive areas' buttons brings up a menu, hold one of them and a different menu shows up. To scroll, simply move your finger in either direction along the edge of the ring. Using it is a little complicated because of these steps.
Features - continued
The watch has four main features - the date/time feature, which is pretty straight forward. This function is simple and use of large fonts makes it usable as an everyday-use watch. It’s not exactly pretty or slim, so it may not go well with your formal attire, though. The display is of good quality, so you won’t have any problem using it in bright daylight. At night, you can turn on the bright-blue backlight by pressing any two of the touch sensitive buttons together - the backlight slowly fades in and fades out.
A cycling path being displayed on a Bing map, with the option of Google maps
The Forerunner 405CX is capable of recording your movement, once it detects some of the satellites, so you’ll have to be outdoors. For those who're not aware of GPS devices, there is no fee that needs to be paid to avail of this service. It does so, within a minute’s time if you’re in the open, clear of trees and roofs. The GPS feature allows you to make a destination or location, so you can proceed to that point. Remember that this device isn’t like a GPS device for car use, so don’t expect any directional advice.
Before you actually start using the product, you can setup the watch by entering your personal details - your age, height, weight, and so on. There’s also the option to mention your activity type, which is gauged by how much and the kind of physical activities you do in a week. The manual has a guide to help you choose the correct one. The heart rate monitor goes around your chest and needs to be wet a little bit, so the sensors can make proper contact with the skin. Once you get going with your activity, the sweat from your body should help maintain that connect. A simple menu on the watch lets you make the connection - detection takes a couple of seconds at most.
There are some really unique features integrated into the watch as well. For example, the virtual partner lets you compare your performance of one activity to a previous time. The watch also lets you pace yourself by letting you first input your resting heart rate and peak heart rate or a recommended heart rate. You can get a constant feed on the watch that tells you how much percent of your output you’re putting in.
Data being transferred seamlessly to the web using the ANT Agent software
Syncing the watch with the PC is easy and takes a few seconds to complete. The different activities and sets of data are downloaded one after another and uploaded directly to the Garmin Connect online service. The service then lets you analyze your activity in more detail or even share it with your friends on the web using one of the many support social networking services. You can also choose to download the data to your PC in a number of formats, including Google Earth. The web interface is easy to use and it lets you manage your activities as time goes by, in the same manner as you would on say a photo hosting site.
We tried the Forerunner 405CX, while walking and cycling to see how well it performed. Once you have everything set-up, the watch and the heart rate monitor do an excellent job. The tracks recorded are accurate and so are the readings from the heart rate monitor.
A ton of recorded information - in this case, heart rate while cycling up a hill
The reading from the heat rate monitor on the watch takes a second or so longer, so you might find a tiny bit of delay, but it’s negligible. The battery charge on the watch should last roughly half a day of use. Don’t expect the watch to work well beyond say 5 hours of non-stop use. There are features that help you save battery and it goes into auto power saving modes.
The Forerunner 405CX sells for an MRP of Rs. 21,675 in India, while you’re likely to find it for roughly Rs. 19,097 in the market. It’s a tad expensive, but it’s well worth your money. It’s not our complaint, though. While the watch itself offers a lot of features and performs well, it’s a little complicated to get used to. There are too many buttons, too many gestures and combinations to figure out that it’s not very practical for the spontaneous runner or cyclist. You really have to stop at one point, look at the watch and navigate through the menus carefully before starting the next activity. If you’re buying this, be well prepared to spend a week to really understand all of its features and how to use them effectively.
Published Date: Dec 21, 2011 04:35 pm | Updated Date: Dec 21, 2011 04:35 pm