Sunday, May 11, 2008

Garmin Forerunner 405 - Update

I put the Garmin Forerunner 405 through yet another grueling test. This time at the PCT50, an epic 50 mile race over some of the most scenic and yet technical and unrelenting single tracks east of San Diego, CA. This course had its share of dense tree cover to test the sensitivity of the GPS and also would push the battery life to its limit.

It was a very hot day with direct sunlight most of the time I was out on the trail. The display never became hard to read. However, towards the end, the bezel stopped responding to my finger touches. I might have been a little dehydrated so my finger tips were a little dead. But, I though, "what if I didn't use my fingers but another part of my body?" So I used my other wrist to touch the bezel, and that worked like a charm.

I charged the battery over night before the race and it lasted 7 hours when it told me I had "low battery." At that point, I had another hour of battery if I kept the GPS portion turned on. The unit would have lasted 8 hours, as advertised. However, my race was going to last more than 8 hours, so I turned off the GPS functions to save power and continued to use the unit as a stop watch.

The trail went through some dense tree cover and I noticed that the pace reading was way too low for how fast I was going. This meant that the GPS was not getting enough signal and the accuracy was lacking. Consequently, at mile 25, it read 23.75. This discrepancy is consistent with my experience with the 301/305. It always reads too low, never too high.

I'm satisfied with how the unit is performing so far; but I just wish that the battery life is a bit longer.


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