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Showing 1-10 of 118 reviews(4 star). See all 471 reviews
VINE VOICEon 1 April 2008
This is a good gadget, one that is getting plenty of use. It has certainly made me change the way I run and encouraged me to find out more about different methods of training. The first time I used it I set it to alert me whenever I dropped below a certain pace and I ran my best time for that course. The heart monitor works well but I recommend that you set your own heart rate zones as they were too low initially. There are plenty of links on Runners World to help you do this. I used the formula 214-(0.8*age) to get my estimated maximum heart rate which seems to work well enough for me. Working out the zones was not immediately obvious so take bit of time to understand how they are calculated. You have to apply the percentages to the Working Heart Rate then make sure you add your resting heart rate otherwise you find your zones are much too low.

The Training Center software is reasonable for looking at the recorded data on your PC. The map is only useful to identify whereabouts you were, e.g. I can see that my maximum heart rate was near the top of a hill that I decided to run up quickly. The map is just a dotted line and the elevation is not all that accurate. From Training Center you can also view the route in Google Earth.

I also load the data into MapMyRun which gives a proper map with satellite pictures (similar to Google Earth but without the fancy stuff like 3D) which makes it easy to see off road routes. It also shows the elevation profile which seems a lot more accurate. The best feature of MapMyRun is for inputting new courses you are considering. It makes it easy to design a route that will be the distance you require. You can load these back into your Garmin and use them as routes. I am not sure how practical it is to switch between the normal data screen and the navigation screen while you are running. Probably too difficult. I have used it for navigating for a fell walk which worked well and it alerted me when I went off course. It can show you an elevation profile but I forgot how to find that mode while on this walk. I would be nice to be able to show the direction you should be taking as one of the 4 data fields while you are running. I got lost when trying a new course through areas I didn't know and being able to navigate and monitor pace, heart rate and time at the same time without having to change modes would be a great feature.

This is my first GPS sports watch so I don't know how it compares to others. I like it a lot but also see that it will probably seem very dated in 5 years time. To be honest if I use this for two years without problems it will have been well worth the money.

[Addendum]

I've been using this for three months now. I've found that my maximum heart rate is well above that suggested by the age formula. I wasn't aware of the power of Sport Tracks software when I first tried it. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye on first look. Having used MapMyRun and Training Centre I was wishing for software which combined the mapping features of the former with the statistical features of the latter. I have found that Sport Tracks does all this and more and it is a free download. My final wish was accuracy of elevation from maps instead of the inaccurate elevation data from GPS. My latest discovery is that there is a plug-in for Sport Tracks that does this too. There are numerous other plug-ins that expand the functionality too. All this can be accessed from within the "online" view in Sport Tracks. Now I only use MapMyRun for planning new routes and I hardly use Training Centre.
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on 5 March 2007
I have used the polar series of watches both for cycling and running. The forerunner is a much better bit of kit as it tracks your real ground position. This gives distance, pace, timing and other data to an accuracy of more than 99%. I really like the autolap feature, the courses and the virtual partner settings. Unlike the Polar, the speed and cadance sensors work well on the bike (an optional accessory).

With the ability to analyse the data using their free "Training Center" it is fairly easy to review your progress and plan the future. This software does a decent job of data anlysis but if you really want more there is the option to do some further data massaging in Excel by importing the history file there.

For 5 stars it needs these changes:

Longer battery life (currently about 10 hours continuous use)

better water resistance (I swim and am too afraid to use it)

smaller unit (about the size of a large watch)
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on 21 January 2007
I've been really impressed with this - it does everything it says on the tin and a bunch of other stuff (I've used it for car navigation and speed verification plus some lap timing). If I have one gripe it's that finding your way around the functions on the watch itself isn't as intuitive as I'd have expected. I've only had it a few days and it still takes me a bit of hunting to find the screen I was after. You could argue that's because there's so much on it (including screens that you can configure yourself) and I'm sure it'll become easier with time. It would also have been nice to have some vibrate function so that, running with music, you can tell if the heart rate goes outside the set zone (or some other alert). Some great features though - the "breadcrumb" route back feature is really good for hill-walking and the elevation feature is nice for running in hilly areas. Very pleased with it - Garmin could improve the interface and make it brilliant.
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on 10 August 2007
I have now bought both 301 and 305 (I could not do without one whilst the first went back for repair!

301 - Cheaper, excellent display, indeed larger than the 305. Initialisation of satellites could take 2-3 minutes every day and sometimes gets lost for 30 seconds on a run under trees. Poor USB socket reliability - mine broke.

305 - in general it is more expensive, looks cool and has more functionality, eg racing against a previous run and fully alterable displays.

However, the 305 has a great PLUS POINT - the GPS initialisation is fantastic, 30 seconds in the house and doesn't loose it on a run.

The 305 has one BAD POINT - The display is not only smaller, the contrast (alterable) is poorer but the letter describing the data fields and value for history are SO SMALL and wispy that I can barely see them with contact lenses and reading glasses, whilst the 301 was fine without both.

To end on a good note, the 305 has flush pins for USB connection and fits into a cradle. My 301 had a miniature USB on the watch, which filled up with sweat and somehow became intermittent - hence back for repair.

Conclusion - 305 is better, but only just and if you have poor eye sight, I would get the 301.
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on 12 September 2008
This is my second GPS running watch and I am still thrilled about the excellent GPS reception and accuracy. I had bought the current Timex GPS watch before the Forerunner-poor satellite reception, would not work on a cloudy day let alone in rain. So I returned it. The Forerunner is miles better. I would get reception even under heavy clouds and in severe rain. When going through a subway, the watch would pick-up the signal as soon as there is a hint of sky.
I often run to and from work, which is a 6 miles run. The results with the watch were (under partially extreme weather conditions)-5.98, 6.02, 6.08, 5.97 miles.
What else do I like?
With the watch come a cradle for re-charging and USB link to the computer. It worked a breeze. The watch is also being recharged whilst connected to the computer.
The screen is large. It can be customized and is easy to read.
The interface is fairly well designed and it is not too difficult to work your way round all the function without having to read the manual all the time.

The negative bits:
The supplied software is a big let-down. Although it does not slow down your computer it is hardly useful. Not every function of the watch can be controlled, the maps are less than basic (how can I set way points without streets, paths etc?) and it is almost useless to set-up your training sessions on the computer.
The watch feels a bit like a brick at the beginning, but one get used to it. The position of the screen is a bit unlucky and could have been tilted a bit more forward. Although readability is good, it always takes a twist of your wrist before you can read it.

Follow-up (27/10/08):
Since my last review I have done quite a bit of field testing for reception and accuracy. I am still on cloud seven!!
RECEPTION: No problems if in the car on your wrist. Even picks-up some satellites in house in my one storey extension!!!
ACCURACY: Several runners in the club now have the Forerunner 305. After each mile there is almost a symphony of alerts going-we are just 1-2 yards out of each other. After a 50 mile journey my watch would disagree with the tachometer by less than 50 yards.

The build-in upload facility is really great. It helps me to track my training units with ease. The rechargeable batteries seem to last long enough, but you really have to remember to re-charge after every use. There are only minutes from low battery warning to shut-down. This happened to me just before a half marathon on a unknown course with many hills and no backup watch-how inconvenient.
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on 13 September 2009
On the whole, this was a good product. Concerns that the watch and heart rate monitor would be uncomfortable whilst running were completely unfounded. The watch features plenty of workout options to take a great deal of the effort out of almost any session a runner can do, with the option to pore over them in vast detail after the running is over. It can be integrated with a cadence monitor later on if cycling/triathlon is also your thing. Other features include optional pace & heart rate alerts (to keep pace/heart rate within a certain chosen range) and a 'virtual partner'.

There are some teething problems though - unless fully charged, it can take an age to load the satellite connection before you start the run. The pace detector lacks much real accuracy - the pace on the watch varies considerably even at a steady consistent pace. The computer software they provide to interpret your running is fairly basic too - and I haven't figured out a way to import it into access/excel yet.

It does however take all the effort out of working out your weekly mileage, and it will give you a good indication of the average pace over a run, and how hard you've worked. It can also save routes from past runs so you never get lost on it again - with the option on the software to see the map in Google Earth.

Used sensibly and wisely, this is a great asset to any serious runner, despite its idiosyncrasies.
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on 8 May 2009
The Garmin 305 replaced my Polar RS200sd which uses a footpod for distance and speed. Compared with the Polar, the Garmin's GPS system gives much better accuracy on distance and speed (and does not need calibrating) and stores a huge amount of detailed data. Data can be collected every minute and then analysed to your heart's content either using Garmin's own software or the better version from SportTracks. There are lots of other useful features that have been mentioned in other reviews, which make this a great device for runners.
The two main drawbacks of the Garmin are 1/ It is rather bulky compared with the Polar (and the Garmin 405)and I keep catching the end of the strap on my shirt as I run. This in only a minor gripe, however. More importantly 2/ The Garmin calculates calories used using speed and distance, not heart rate. This means that a 60 minute spinning session in the gym registers as zero calories! This has been changed in the latest (and much more expensive) Garmin products, but it means the 305 is not much use indoors. I have taken to calculating calories from the heart rate data, which is a bit tedious. If you want a unit for running, the 305 takes a lot of beating. If you do a lot of gym work, get something else.
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on 8 November 2008
I purchased one for my brother who was impressed with my Garmin Forerunner 301. The unit is nicer to wear, though with a smaller screen size and acquires and retains the signal better than the Forerunner 301. The Garmin supplied software works okay, but as others have said you're better off using Sporttracks which has more features. Although the updated Garmin software exports to Google Earth, it isn't done in a tidy way, and Garmin software still has poor mapping for the UK, and both France and Australia where I've used it. Again, as others have pointed out, only the latest versions of Memory Map will work with it, even a previous build of version 5 with Garmin USB support needed to be updated. This could be costly if you've invested a lot in maps for previous versions of memory map.

I don't like the plastic strap. Although it's thick, it's of a type that I've had on watches before that have always broken after a couple of years. I recommend getting a Forerunner 301 replacement strap and fitting that instead.

The battery life is less than the 301, but only marginally. It's not enough for a long-distance walk or run over an entire weekend or longer.
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on 24 July 2009
I bought the 305 after hearing from other Amazon reviews that the 405 had too many design faults.
It's a good price for what it is and there seems to be plenty of features to keep an IT geek busy. I have only ran with it a few times but so far it seems accurate and easy to use. I like that you can just turn it on, wait a couple of minutes to the satellites to lock on, and then your ready to run. There is no wasting time setting up.
The watch is not small but it's not so big that you feel your arm gets a workout keeping up with you and you want a big screen to see all the data anyway. The heart rate is tricky to see while running but the rest of the display is good.
All in all so far so good.
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on 24 April 2009
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is a quality device which I bought for my hillwalking aswell as any biking I do. The unit itself is well made, mine definetly felt solid enough and more importantly Garmin are intelligent enough to supply two straps for it, to ensure it fits the majority of wrists.

The GPS piece of this watch impressed me, it was a lot faster and locating and tracking the satellites that my hand held unit and seemed to hold the signal far better aswell.
It does lose a star for some for some of the issues with the buttons on the watch, they can be hard to press, especially if it's the winter and you are wearing gloves.

Software is easy to install and you can use other Garmin software titles with it if you wish, you can also use it with the Memory Map range of titles if your interests are more walking than running.

It is a large watch, no doubt about that but it is good and the screen is clear (which is important, you dont want to struggle to see what its showing if your running etc), the GPS functionality is solid and it has more uses than just for running.
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