The Garmin 405
was released in April of 2008. As a previous Garmin 201 and 205 owner, I eagerly awaited a GPS watch that looked like a watch. When Garmin made the jump from the 201 to the 205, it was a vast improvement; the jump to the 405 was more about aesthetics and the improvement in acquiring the GPS signal upon starting the watch.
I love my Garmin 405; I consider it the best running tool a runner can own. It paces me in workouts, in races and I can vary my route at any time and still know my mileage. I am also able to run in races and determine if the course was long or short.
Timex was late to the GPS party; I was always baffled at why it took them so long to come out with a GPS watch. Their first GPS watch was a complete bomb, the GPS device was separate from the watch, and the runner had to put the GPS device on their arm.
I was excited to hear about the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS
, which came out in early June. Timex has had 26 months since the Garmin 405 came out, to create a competitive product, perhaps a superior product. I was eager to compare the Timex Ironman GPS Global Trainer against my beloved Garmin 405. The Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS was purchased with my own money. Appearance:
When I took the watch out of the box, I couldnít believe how big it was. It looked like a normal watch, but itís bigger than the Garmin 405. My first thought was why they would design a watch that is bigger than the 405; theyíve lost out on the female market right there.
The Garmin 405 has a clean look, only two buttons; it uses a bezel touch display, similar to an iPod. At first it took me a bit to get used to the bezel, it has itís quirks but for the most part I like it. The Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS uses traditional buttons and it was easy to use. Comfort:
Part of comfort is the sheer size of the watch, thus the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS already had one strike against it. The Garmin 405 has never bothered me, but the Timex just felt uncomfortable on my wrist. It doesnít conform to oneís wrist in the same way that the Garmin 405 does. Price:
The Garmin 405 retails for $225 on Amazon and the Garmin 205 is being sold for $126. The Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS retails for $250. GPS Location Time:
This is the true test and when Garmin came out with the 405 it was 5-7x faster at acquiring the GPS signal than the 205/305. I found this to be a huge improvement, when I want to get going for a run, I hate waiting a minute for my watch to find the satellites.
In general, the Garmin 405 can acquire the satellites in about 3-5 seconds. When I owned the 205/305, it could take up to a minute and I would often have to set the watch down on a flat surface and face it to the south to acquire the signal. With the 405, you just turn it on and it finds the satellites.
So how did the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS fare? On average it took over a minute to acquire the satellites, it was awful, in fact Iíd guess that the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS is inferior to the Garmin 205/305 when it comes to satellite acquisition time.
This truly baffled me. You have to think the research and development team at Timex was comparing their watch to the Garmin 405, so why would you even release a product that takes 10-12x the amount of time to acquire the satellite signal? Accuracy:
The final test and thatís the accuracy of the GPS device. I went to my local high school track and ran 5,000 meters, which is 3.106 miles. I wore the Garmin 405 and the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS on my left wrist and promptly ran my 5k.
The Garmin 405 told me that I had run 3.09 miles; the Timex Ironman GPS Global Trainer had the run in 3.15. Garmin 405 wins again. Conclusion:
The Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS is rubbish. The one advantage that it has over the Garmin 405 is that it is waterproof. Of course it canít track your GPS positioning while under water, so that might be irrelevant. I would rather have the Garmin 205 than the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS, it's an inferrior product.
Timex should be ashamed for putting such a poor quality product on the market. Iíve read that they will be putting out some firmware updates in the next month or two to improve the GPS acquistion time, but that shouldnít be needed when you spend $250 on a GPS watch and the Garmin 405 does that out of the box. Unless your name is Flavor Flav, pick up the Garmin 405 and don't waste your time with the Timex Ironman Global Trainer GPS.