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Garmin Forerunner 405CX vs 110

A few months ago I reviewed the Garmin Forerunner 405CX GPS running watch – click here for the full review – and over the last fortnight I’ve also reviewed the new, cheaper Garmin Forerunner 110 for work – I’ll put a link here when it goes online. In case anyone’s trying to choose between the two, though, here’s a comparison of the key differences – there wasn’t room to fit this info in the magazine copy.

First, size. From the top they look much the same (405CX on the left, 110 on the right):

But from the side you see that the 405’s much bulkier:

It’s the GPS receiver on the bottom edge of the 405CX that adds bulk – the new 110 has certainly been shrunk. If you have small arms the 110 might be more comfortable, but with the 405CX you have the option of using the velcro strap shown above – note that this is included in the box, but the Forerunner 110’s strap cannot be removed or changed.

Next, features. The Forerunner 110 has the following:

  • GPS tracking (obviously)
  • Stopwatch
  • Lap counter
  • Auto lap (every given number of KM/Miles)
  • Light
  • Heart rate and calorie monitoring if you buy the model with a chest strap

The Forerunner 405CX adds quite a lot, but the key additional features are:

  • Virtual partner (track your progress against a set pace)
  • Distance workouts (run for X KM or miles)
  • Time workouts (run for X minutes/hrs)
  • Interval training
  • Highly customisable display that can show just about any statistics or info you choose.

Of these I’d say the workouts and virtual partner are the ones I miss most when using the 110.

And what about controls? The Forerunner 110 is managed using four buttons: it’s a simple system and works fine. The 405CX has two buttons, plus the touch-sensitive bezel, which acts as four more and also a controller wheel. The 405CX has more to control, of course – see above – but I actually find the touch wheel slightly fiddlier than the buttons of the 110. It works, and only takes a few tries to get used to, but the 110’s buttons will be immediately simple for everyone making it a better bet for technophobes.

And, speaking of technology, there’s the matter of connecting the Forerunners to a computer. Here’s how it’s done:

On the left is the wireless module from the 405CX, and on the right is the 110’s USB clip. The 405CX is fiddlier to set up, as the wireless unit needs drivers installed, but once that’s done once it’s simple to use: put the watch near the computer, turn it on and your run is transferred. The 110’s system looks simple – clip it on, sync the data – but I found the clip fiddly to attach and, on one occasion, the watch crashed losing all my runs. If you like to check in after each run, I’d say the 405CX’s simplicity makes it worth the extra cash – you simply plonk the watch near the PC, get in the shower and when you come back it’s done.

Cost and Conclusion

The recommended price of the Forerunner 405CX kit is over £350, but it’s now available on Amazon here for just over £200. The Forerunner 110 is meant to cost £150 without the heart rate monitor or nearer £200 with, but again you can get the cheaper version for around £110 here. The 110 is very good value, and does all the basics well, but all things considered I’d say it’s worth paying more for the 405CX – slightly fiddlier controls aside, you get far more for your money: the virtual partner, workout settings, a better display, a range of straps to suit your wrist in the box, and most importantly the simpler wireless PC sync system.

Note: all Amazon links here are affiliate links, so I get a few quid if you buy from one. Amazon’s prices are way lower than the RRP, and it’s where I bought my 405CX.

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