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Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Personal Training Device

Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS personal training deviceGarmin brought the Forerunner 205 and 305 models to the market in early 2006, intended as the next generation to the company's highly successful Forerunner 101, 201 and 301 GPS personal training devices. You can read more at the company's website, and at this press release.

The Competitive Runner website started a Garmin Forerunner 305 Blog, with some quite detailed commentaries on the device from users.

The Amazon.com website includes a lengthy and detailed review, which is pretty similar for both the 205 and 305 models:

Just when you thought Garmin had cornered the market on powerful, affordable, and effective wrist-mounted GPS devices, here comes the Forerunner 305. The release of this device is a major achievement from a design and technology perspective. This isn't just marketing-speak; the Forerunner 305 is the most accurate, most reliable wrist-mounted performance and GPS tracking tool we've ever tested. Yes, it's that good.

While no device this compact can do everything (yet), the 305 pushes the boundaries of what is possible from something strapped around your wrist. The 305 model includes wireless heartrate monitoring and it can also be connected to Garmin's wireless bicycle speed and cadence sensor. If you don't need these features, consider the lower-priced Forerunner 205.

Pros
Radically new design is better in every way.
Amazing accuracy and fast satellite acquisition time.
So simple to set up and use, you will actually use it.

Cons
No Mac OS compatibility.
Okay, it's bigger than a sport's watch -- but so much more powerful.

The PC Coach website wrote of the 205 and 305:

There are only two differences between the 205 (blue trim) and 305 (red trim). The 305 gives heart rate, and it supports the optional bike cadence sensor....

GPS on the wrist is really sexy, and Garmin has packed a lot of features in a small and light package. It all seems to work pretty trouble-free. The ability to see your route graphically after the fact is a main draw....

Best choice for:
Moderate to serious runners and multisportists wanting full GPS functionality and computer integration.

Strengths:
- Nice visible display is completely configurable.
- Stores sampled lat/long, speed, altitude and HR (Forerunner 305 only) once per second. Enough RAM to store several workouts.
- Quick, easy USB connection for download to PC doubles as charger (only while your PC is on).
- Define separate modes for running and cycling, including HR zones and speed or pace limits.
- ANT technology between HR strap and wrist unit is rock-solid. Pair them up 10 yards away from everyone.
- Add a sensor for cycling cadence (Forerunner 305 only). It uses ANT also.

Might not like:
- After ten hours, head back to the battery charger (car charger accessory is available).
- Really large compared to Suunto t6 or Polar S625X - you have to want a GPS solution.
- Sound of the alerts when you are out of HR or pace range gets your attention!

A review at Chris' Triathlon Blog said (no longer online):

The wrist unit is surprisingly comfortable and not as heavy-feeling as it looks. I normally don't wear a watch at all so it felt a little strange for a bit on my wrist but until I get used to it. Even on bumpy roads on the bike, the wrist unit didn't shake too much or feel like it was trying to wiggle off my wrist.

I used the 305 during a 5K road race on 4/20/06. I didn't use the heart rate monitor since I wanted to do a few training runs with it before using it in a race.

I set the 305 to do auto laps at one mile and to beep at me at that mark. I started the timer as I crossed the finish line and the 305 marked my first mile about 20 feet in before the one mile mark on the course. At the second mile, it was a bit closer and only about 5 feet before the mark. I tried to pick up the pace near the end so I didn't check on the third mile. I stopped the timer as I crossed the finish and the total distance showed 3.13 miles which is pretty close.

The history feature is nice since it gives you an overview of your run and then does lap (in this case, mile) splits and calculates your mile pace automatically for each lap and average pace. The wrist unit was comfortable during the run. Actually, due to the way it sits on my wrist, it is more comfortable when my arms are in running position than at my sides.

I can only say good things about the 305 at this point. Most of my friends with the 200-series Garmins were envious of the new look and the accuracy. If you don't need the heart rate monitor, the 205 gives you the same features without the monitor and the optional cadence monitor.

* Get the Latest Price on the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Personal Training Device.

June 12th, 2006

 

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