• Garmin 410 Review

    The Garmin 410 is the latest development from the Garmin team in Olathe, Kansas. The Garmin 410 was released in November 2010. It's been over two years since the Garmin 405 came out and during that time the only product change was the Garmin 405CX which is the same watch but offered the new feature of heart rate based calorie computation, was the only change for the top running watch offered by Garmin.

    Having previously owned the Garmin 201, Garmin 205 and the Garmin 405, I was eager to try out the Garmin Forerunner 410. First, you might be looking at the above picture and thinking, wait it looks just like the Garmin 405. The watch is identical in appearance, with a slight change in design style. The Garmin 410 retails for $324.99 and if you want one with a heart rate monitor the price is $374.95. Garmin also offers a new premium heart rate monitor that is supposed to be more accurate and comfortable. I have an old heart rate monitor that I used with my Garmin 405, but I rarely use it as I do not train by heart rate, thus this review will not comment on the heart rate monitor or data.

    One of the new features of the Garmin 410 is the ability to turn the watch completely off when not using it. With the Garmin 405, the watch would enter power save mode but you could not turn the watch off, like one could with the Garmin 205/305. This is a nice feature, but to turn the watch off you must go into the menu/settings, thus it requires about four steps. This is a nice feature, but it would be a lot more useful if you could simply turn the watch off by holding down one of the buttons on the watch. Another small change is that now when the watch goes into power save mode, it gives the user a warning via display and a beep, and starts counting down from 30 seconds. This is also a nice feature as there were times when my Garmin 405 would go into power save mode and I would rather have not had that happen.

    Garmin also got rid of the activity class setting on the Forerunner, where you would input what type of activity you were engaging. Now the watch offers an advanced algorithm from Firstbeat that is self-learning and tracks changes in your fitness over time to give one a better caloric consumption calculation. The biggest improvement in the Garmin 410 has to do with the bezel, the biggest complaint of users of the Garmin 405 is that the watch was hard to use when the watch became sweaty or it was raining. The Garmin 410 is not as sensitive and it does work a lot better when my hands were sweaty. When running with a long sleeved shirt, I always had to lock the bezel for my Garmin 405 as my shirt touching the bezel was enough to make it change screens. With the 410 this is no longer an issue, a nice improvement.

    Out of the package, the Garmin 410 comes with a few extra features that did not come up with the Garmin 405. The watch offers two different watch bands which are Velcro and function like the early Garmin models. I never had any issues with the Garmin 405 watch band, but perhaps some runners prefer the tighter feel of a Velcro strap.

    In conclusion, I'm rather disappointed that after two years Garmin has not released a new product. The Garmin 410 is new in name only; essentially it's just an update of the Garmin 405 with two to three new features. Right now the Garmin 410 retails for $25 more than the Garmin 405, so if you're buying a new one, spend the extra $25 on the Garmin 410. However, I see no reason to upgrade your Garmin 405.

    When it comes to GPS running watches, I feel that we are close to the law of diminishing returns. The Garmin 405 already offers me everything that I need and I honestly don't care that much about the exact amount of calories that I burned on a run, in fact I'm not sure if I know of any runners who consider that important.

    With the current state of affairs, I see two areas of improvement. The first is to simply make the watch smaller, figure out how to get GPS technology in the Garmin FR60. The size of the Garmin 405/410 does not bother me, I wouldn't mind seeing it a tad smaller, but I think for women a smaller GPS watch could really boost sales. Lastly, the GPS accuracy is really good, but I'm sure there is room for improvement. I noticed no difference between the 405 and the 410 on the time it took to acquire a satellite signal.

    I think part of the problem is the lack of competition in the GPS running watch market. We reviewed the Timex Ironman Global Trainer a few months ago and it was complete rubbish. Thus for now, if you have a Garmin 405 hang on to it, until Garmin comes out with the latest and greatest, when that will be, I have no idea.
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. Ridgerunner's Avatar
      Ridgerunner -
      Nice write up Simon.

      I have the 405 and thought you could completely power it down. I've had it 'freeze' or something on occasion and have had to reset it by holding one of the buttons (maybe menu?) down for about 5 seconds. Then do the same thing to turn it back on, if indeed this is the case.

      Nice to hear about the extra band. I was trying to put my watch on when it just dropped from my arm. The plastic on one side had simply broken. Went to one of the local running stores to purchase a velcro band for around $25.00.

      While it takes an extra step to lock the bezel so the shirt doesn't change screens, I don't have too much of a problem taking the half second.

      I think I'll hang onto my 405. Been working just fine so far.
    1. ESCO's Avatar
      ESCO -

      I see no reason to upgrade from the 405. When it freezes, the hard reset just reboots the watch, but the 405 does not have the option of turning off completely. It's a nice feature, but not a game changer by any means. I think the only times that I would use it is if I was traveling.

      I too had to replace the band on my Garmin 405 a few months ago, picked up a new on on Ebay for a reasonable price.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Any thoughts on the Garmin 210?
    1. ESCO's Avatar
      ESCO -
      I have no experience with the Garmin 210. There are a decent amount of differences between the watches, the only two things that the Garmin 210 doesn't have, that I would miss, are the ant stick for your computer to transfer data wirelessly and the ability to customize screens, which is pretty cool.

      Looks nice though.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      The website says that the watch is compatible with the Garmin Training Center software and the Garmin Connect Online facility for uploading and tracking training, although on the 'specs' tab for the watch it doesn't list either. It does come with the cable for downloading so I'm assuming it has the software.

      What's odd is that both the Training Center and Garmin Connect are listed on the 410 'spec' page. I presume it's just a typo.

      Hard time justifying another $50 for an already very expensive piece of hardware. Just not sure it's worth going to the 410.

      Thanks again for your thoughts.
    1. ESCO's Avatar
      ESCO -
      I use Garmin Connect Online but do not use the Garmin Training Center software. No need to install separate software on my computer.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Thank you!
    1. CB4's Avatar
      CB4 -
      I actually like the size of the 405, because it is easy to read even the smaller pace numbers at a dead run. I guess that flatter would be cool, but I don't think I'd find it necessary.

      For me, it is hard to even think of features that would necessitate an upgrade from the 405. What else could it do?

      Also, on Amazon you can buy the 405 with heart rate monitor for $239 and without (green) for $199.
    1. mdezuba@farmersagent.com's Avatar
      mdezuba@farmersagent.com -
      I love my Garmin 405. Yes, it takes a while to get used too - however, I see no need to upgrade. I am getting older (now 52) and I would like to see a font size adjustment. Sometimes, if I really want an accurate reading while I an running I must run with my glasses. For those thinking about a Garmin device I can recommend the 405. I am sure the new 410 wil meet or beat your expectation. Thanks for the review. Blessings - Mark DeZuba
    1. Mark Thompson's Avatar
      Mark Thompson -
      I've had the 405 for a while, and it had its hands-down biggest fail during my first ultra on Saturday.

      When your lap memory fills up, you get a warning. It says, "lap database almost full delete oldest." Well, I forgot to do this and I started my 50k. Each lap/mile the warning pops up. It's annoying, but I guess it's my fault for not downloading the laps sooner.

      Well, when the lap database actually becomes full, the Garmin spins into the biggest failure of computer programing I've witnessed.

      Let's all brainstorm on some viable programming options for when the lap database is full. How about it deletes the oldest automatically? Sure that might erase valuable data, but it might be the only option. How about it fails to save the newest data? That's another great option.

      Well, the 405 begins beeping like an alarm, and displays "database full delete oldest." You can't do anything because this message will not go away. And it continuously beeps like a watch-alarm. Of course, the watch becomes less than worthless at this point because you can't see any information on the screen except the warning message. It bothered me, it bothered the other runners I passed. I was dumbfounded that Garmin would have such a stupid, thoughtless piece of programming in their watch.

      I could not do anything on the fly, and I was ready to leave the watch curbside. Luckily my support vehicle was there, so I tossed it in the back. They buried it under blankets.

      When I finished the race, it was still alarming. I was able to navigate the menus from memory and partial-view and delete the database. Then it stopped beeping, and of course quickly ran out of batteries.

      I guess this new product at least you could try and shut it off, but Garmin kicked me in the ass so hard on this one that I don't know what to think.

      Another fail was it going "bonkers" during the Des Moines Marathon due to all the sweat. It didn't just think there was many inputs on the bezel, it went bonkers into constant beep mode and displayed no relevant data for several important miles.

      Anyway, that's my current rant on old Garmin. It's a valuable tool for solo-training, and marathon-pacing, but it has failed me in the clutch on two important races.
    1. Craig Peterson's Avatar
      Craig Peterson -
      Quote Originally Posted by TruGuy View Post
      I've had the 405 for a while, and it had its hands-down biggest fail during my first ultra on Saturday.


      I guess this new product at least you could try and shut it off, but Garmin kicked me in the ass so hard on this one that I don't know what to think.

      Another fail was it going "bonkers" during the Des Moines Marathon due to all the sweat. It didn't just think there was many inputs on the bezel, it went bonkers into constant beep mode and displayed no relevant data for several important miles.

      Anyway, that's my current rant on old Garmin. It's a valuable tool for solo-training, and marathon-pacing, but it has failed me in the clutch on two important races.
      Before I continue one branch of your rant, here's my disclaimer:

      I sweat heavier than most people. Specifically I lose almost 1 lb/mile for the first 5-6 miles. I no longer have the pleasure :-) of running on the USAFA campus in Colorado Springs, so I am now enduring Michigan summers. Typically the conditions are 80F - 90F and quite humid.

      Now my complaint/rant - my 405cx routinely fails me due to sweat contacting the bezel. This sounds like the exact failure mode you encountered in Des Moines. Unfortunately my failures occur as early as 3 miles into a run and no later than 5 miles. This makes my 405 darn near useless.


      Question for RunColo:

      Assuming you still have the unit, could you do further "wet" testing on the Bezel? I am thinking about a few scenarios:

      1. Wear it in the shower and attempt to use the bezel. If you have a 405, try the same scenario. If possible try to quantify the shower setting that causes failure

      2. Dip you hands in mild salt water solution and use the bezel. Repeat until the bezel no longer works. Do the same with the 405. (I suggest repeating several times to gain some statistical significance - If I were doing the testing, I would probably attempt it 20 times for each [I am a research engineer])

      3. Test in the presence of steam (i.e. suspend the watch over a pot of boiling water). See how long the watch functions at a given height.

      If you would like me to do the testing and report the results, I would be glad to do so
    1. Casey Fetzer's Avatar
      Casey Fetzer -
      My only qualm with Garmin (410) is that it occasionally fogs over. What the hell is that all about, RunColo? Tell me now!
      Anybody else have this happen? I'm thinking a return is in order.
      Disclaimer: this has only happened above 5 miles, so the frequency of this event is par with a blue moon.
    1. ESCO's Avatar
      ESCO -
      Fetz, you bought the 410?

      I've near seen it fog over, perhaps only in California.
    1. ESCO's Avatar
      ESCO -
      I discovered a flaw with my Garmin 410.

      I recently let my Garmin 410 drain completely, when I charged it up and turned it on again the history was erased and it acted like it was the first time that I had ever used the watch and I had to go through the tutorial. At first I chalked it up to a fluke, but it happened again, I went to upload my data from the LA Marathon and it was gone, not happy. Same thing, had to go through the tutorial and set the watch up again.

      Not good.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I have a big issue with the 405 and 410 - they're too big on my wrist. I wish Garmin would start catering more for women. The 210 seems cool but it lacks a lot of nice features. I'm thankful for my small female frame but damn, it gets annoying when you miss out on the cool toys!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      My 410 has just fogged up ... only had it for two weeks ... so not happy as I was in the middle of a 25km run and couldn't see some of the data I wanted access to! This has happend 3 times out of 10 training runs!!! So ... I'm sending it back
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