Garmin 405 vs. Garmin Forerunner 10

I’ve had a Garmin 405 since they first came out. When my first one got flaky, I got a refurbished one from Garmin for $75 that has held up pretty well.

Garmin August 11

Although it has lots of fancy features, I mostly use the basic functions–pace, distance, split times, etc. While it’s still working well, I know its days are numbered, so I was excited to hear about the new Garmin Forerunner 10 and put it on the top of my Christmas list. With a list price of only $129.99 I didn’t feel bad about getting it before I really needed it.

Garmin Forerunner 10

I loved its smaller size and its cool color–it also comes in hot pink. It has the same basic functions as the 405 (including a virtual pacer), but not the more advanced ones. It is very easy to use with four buttons (clockwise: start/stop/enter, scroll, back, light) instead of the frustrating touch bezel of the 405. When you finish and save a run, it automatically shows your split times, and it keeps track of your longest and fastest runs. It comes with a USB adapter to connect to a computer to upload data to Garmin Connect, where you can see more details about your runs (maps, pace chart, elevation chart, etc.).

I’ve heard some complaints about the Forerunner 10 taking a long time (several minutes!) to find a satellite signal, but I only experienced an unusual wait the first time I used it. It has found a signal quickly for my o’dark-thirty run in Switzerland, for my early morning run in Boulder, and for my runs from different starting points around the D.C. area.

I’ve heard one complaint about short battery life, but it seems to hold a charge better than my 405 (which doesn’t properly go into sleep mode), and I haven’t noticed any low battery issues after any of my long runs. The stated battery life is 5 weeks in watch mode and 5 hours in training mode.

GarminsI was curious to see how the Forerunner 10 measured up against my 405, so I did a few runs wearing both. While the numbers were pretty close, the Forerunner 10 read a bit longer than the 405 on all test runs.

Garmin Forerunner 10 Garmin 405
10:09 10:12
9:26 9:27
9:39 9:38
9:29 9:43
10:07 10:11
9:56 9:54
9:57 9:12
9:45 9:44
9:17 9:18
8.73 miles 8.67 miles
1:25:15 1:25:13
avg pace = 9:46 avg pace = 9:50

Garmin v. Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 10 Garmin 405
9:58 9:54
9:19 9:26
9:23 9:32
9:40 9:45
9:17 9:12
9:36 9:42
9:02 9:11
6.51 miles 6.47 miles
1:01:49 1:01:50
avg. pace 9:30 avg. pace 9:34

I don’t know if it’s just a fluke, or if one or the other is more accurate, but the difference is interesting. It also puts in perspective complaints about race distances measuring long or short as compared to Garmin distances. If two Garmins worn on the same arm can yield such different data, imagine how different data from different runners could be!

I use my Forerunner 10 for all of my runs now, but my 405 is still earning its keep.

Garmin Biking

 Do you use a GPS watch?

This entry was posted in Fitness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Garmin 405 vs. Garmin Forerunner 10

  1. I need a new Garmin – thanks for the information!

  2. Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family says:

    I've been curious about the 10 … especially since the 305 is SO BIG. Great comparison 🙂

  3. christineyu69776410 says:

    I don't use a Garmin but I do use an app on my phone. I've always wondered about the accuracy of the distance (and thus pace). That's really interesting when you tested them side by side.

    • In general I think that the GPS watches are more accurate than the phone apps, but phone apps can do well on straight routes. I think they all work by sampling your location periodically, so the more frequently they sample, the more accurate they will be. Otherwise they show you cutting corners and running through buildings.

  4. Thanks for posting this! I am thinking of purchasing a Garmin 10 and your info was really helpful on it, I just need a basic GPS watch anythign so I'm sure that one will work fine.

  5. nhrunner says:

    Thanks Coco!! I want a 10! Despite my reservations about GPS's, I love trying new gadgets! Love that it looks more like a watch and it simpler to use.

  6. David H. says:

    Less than 1/10 of a mile at that distance is good. A couple of years ago when I was running several 10-milers with a friend, we'd often be a tenth or more off each other at the end of the run — neither watch was more consistently longer than the other. It's the nature of the GPS beast — they're not 100% accurate no matter what people want to believe.

    All that aside, I'm glad to see a review of the 10. I'm using the 210 now and love it, but want to bang it against a wall every time I go to charge it.

    • Hmm. With the 405 I often didn\’t have it on the charger quite right, or it got knocked off easily. This one is more idiot-proof, although last week I did forget to plug the other end of the cord in ….

  7. Carrie says:

    I've got a 210 and love it. Although I'm on my second one. I had heard that they have a little bit of reliability issue, so I bought it at REI. And, it died within 6 months and REI quickly gave me a new one, no problem. So happy!

    But, I'll second David's comment that it's a huge challenge to get the pegs in the right spot exactly right to start the charge. So annoying.

    Nice reveiw – I love that you wore both watches.

  8. Miz says:

    I'm trying to figure out what to ….WHICH TO get my sister for her birthday….I'm so gadget clueless.

  9. Tina says:

    Love the comparisons! I've been toying with getting a Forerunner 10 even though my 205 is still doing fine. I just like the simpler design and it's not a terrible price either. I'll still probably wait it out for my 205 to start biting the dust since I've had it over 2 years, but it still suits me. Good to hear the 10 is a nice option though for when I go for that one in the future. I'm with you that the basic is all I ever use and need.

  10. SuperBabe says:

    Thanks for this! Just ordered my first gps wrist watch (Forerunner 10), so I'm excited to see how that goes! Hopefully it'll be easy to connect to MapMyRun and my LoseIt app! 🙂

  11. Molto Vivace says:

    Thanks for the review! I've been eyeing the Garmin 10 but also want something I can bike with.

    • The 405 has a bking mode that I use on my bike. If you are using it in a tri, you would have to get adept at switching it from running mode to biking mode. It's not hard, I just never can remember which menu options it is under! IntenseDebate

  12. Pingback: What Makes You Feel Naked? (Trying Shampoo Brands) | Got2Run4Me

  13. HappyQuails says:

    No comments at all about sleep? Or hardly any…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge