An affordable winner!
An amazing piece of technology for a very affordable price. These can now be had for around $200, with rebates often putting it into the range of $150. I had heard from other reviews that picking up the GPS satellites on power up could take some time, but this has not been an issue for me at all. The first thing I did with my new unit was update the GPS software and firmware, and it does an amazing job of locking on the satellites, usually in about 15 seconds. It will get a signal even within my bedroom, so long as there is a window nearby. The only trick is to hold it still while it is locking on. I have never had it drop the signal while running, even near tall buildings or under tree canopy. The accuracy appears to be very good. On a recent 20 mile run, it clicked over to 20.0 miles exactly where the route plotted with Google Earth predicted.
One of the main reasons I got the unit was for the heart rate monitor. I find this data incredibly valuable for avoiding overtraining and tracking my progress. I was worried at first that the monitor, which straps to the chest, would be uncomfortable for distance runs. But that concern turned out to be unfounded. After a short adjustment period, it is actually quite comfortable, and I have worn it out to marathon distance with no discomfort or chafing. I forget that it is there. By the way, the main unit itself, while it looks a bit bulky, is actually quite light, and fits well on the wrist.
The training center software is also very good. There are a couple of areas that could be improved slightly. The maps shown in the training center are of quite low resolution. If this is a concern to you, pay $20 to subscribe to Google Earth plus - this allows you to upload your data to Google Earth, and see the satellite photos or map of exactly where you have run. I would also like the ability to highlight some subset of the laps from a run and have it display average statistics just for the highlighted laps. Currently it just shows you data for the whole run or for individual laps.
One other minor annoyance has to do with the alarms. The unit allows you to set audible alarms for various conditions - pace too slow, pace too fast, heart rate too high, etc. This is very useful, but sometimes its just a bit annoying - it will go off every 20 seconds or so. OK- I'm going up a hill, or I'm sprinting the last quarter mile. I KNOW my heart rate is high, stop bugging me. There should be a way to press just one button, and have the alarm be silenced for five minutes. The way it is now, it takes about 6 key presses to silence the alarm permanently, which is a pain. Oh - and the elevation data is not very accurate. This is not a problem so much with the unit, but is rather a fundamental limitation of GPS systems.... only super high end WAAS-enabled GPS systems provide accurate elevation information, and I know of no handheld unit that has this capability. But these are very minor annoyances on an otherwise fine unit.
I would highly recommend the Forerunner 305 to any runner.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Good running and biking tool. Room for Improvement.
I have had my Forerunner 305 for almost 3 weeks now. Previous to this I used a Polar S150 (wired bike mount) for several years and a entry level Polar before that, so I am used to basic heart rate monitor but not advance data recording or GPS.
I have tested the Forerunner 305 running, biking and swimming and have been generally very impressed.
General: The concept of acquiring satellites before I get going took a little getting used to. After the first couple of times I generally get satellite acquisition within about 30 seconds as long as I am outside or in my enclosed front porch. I set the unit down so that it is completely stationary while acquiring satellites. I get spotty to no reception indoors. The heart rate monitor functions well in comparison to my Polars. I have only had erratic heart readings at the end of one bike ride (fixed by adjusting the strap), which is better performance than I generally would get with the Polars (Except for Swimming, see below). The grade measurements are so erratic as to be totally useless. I have had the grade measurement vary from 8% to 25% back down to 5% within one minute of sustained climbing on the bike. I believe this is due to a poor averaging algorithm (2 point average as opposed to smoother averages involving more points). This is something I intended to test once I figure out how to access the raw data. Data recording is interesting, but is highly dependent on the software used to analyze it. Training center software is decent but unsophisticated (lack of user configurable option is disappointing in a $300+ product). Motion Based has been fun to use, especially the map player. As noted in a previous post of mine errors in distance calculations arise due to Motion Based insistence on connecting erratic track points recorded when you are standing still.
Running: To this point I have done about half a dozen runs of 3-3.5 miles each on a couple of different courses. Mostly I run on trails with trees (no real leaves as of yet) with some street and open field running mixed in. Generally in the trees I average an accuracy of about 25 ft, which I consider to be pretty good. The tracks and distances are both reproducible to within this approximate 25 ft range. I have found the “instantaneous” pace to be somewhat erratic but generally within approximately 5% of the short term mean. The auto stop feature (I have it set to stop if pace falls below 30 min mile) working decently on the run but occasionally does not register that I am stopped. Overall I am very excited to easily track my running distance and have a pretty good idea of my pace.
Biking: Used for approximately 10 bike rides both on and off road. Despite some concerns that the antenna faces the wrong way when mounted on the handlebars (I mount mine by wrapping the monitor around a piece of foam) I generally get great GPS reception on the bike. Accuracy is generally about 15 ft on open road and 25-30 ft.on trails. The speed and distance seems to be very accurate and the precision (reproducibility) is within 1%. The auto stop feature works extremely well on the bike, starting and stopping the unit within 1 second. The one down side is that the buttons you are most likely to use for cycling are on the side of the unit (the up/down and occasionally the mode button).
Swimming: I have only tested in an indoor swimming pool, hoping to be able to record my heart rate. Unfortunately, unlike my Polar S150 the heart rate signal cannot be measur
121 of 125 people found this review helpful.
Speed, Distance, Pace, Heart Rate... to the foot
The Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver and Heart Rate Monitor is a first rate piece of equipment for the serious runner or cyclist. Strap it on (it is a little chunky but not ridiculous for the capabilities), power it up (give it a couple minutes to find all the Global Positioning Satellites), clip on your Garmin Heart Rate Strap and you're ready to run or ride with intelligence at your fingertips.
GPS Satellite reception is usually very strong (occassionally bad weather might cramp your reception a bit). This little wonder tells you where you are, how fast you are going (in MPH, KPH, and Minutes Per Mile or Minutes Per Kilometer), what you Heart Rate is, your max speed/pace, your lap time, elapsed time, paused time (just in case you started too fast or nature called and you had to take a break), average speed, lap speed, distance travelled, and number of laps (either designated manually or automatically based on your preset requirements).
The 4-way screen (capable of showing 1 to four individual metrics - again user configurable) is clear and easy to read even in bright sunlight. The Forerunner 305 is water resistant so it can be worn without worry even if you decide to ride or run in the rain. If riding is your forte then you might want to purchase the optional cadence sensor to provide the additional metrics related to pedal cadence.
Download your workout stats to your computer via the included cable and free Garmin Training Center software or track your workouts online through Motionbased.com.
It is a great product with great features. It even tracks your course and lets you plan future runs based on previous courses.
I haven't found anything that I want that it doesn't do.
Oh, yeah - battery life is pretty good to (I find about 8 hours of running time).
53 of 56 people found this review helpful.
Garmin Forefunner 305
I never really thought of spending the money for a heart monitor/GPS but it is actually one of the best purchases I've ever made for a health oriented piece of gear.
What makes it even better is getting it for about $50 less on Ebay compared to purchasing it in a retail store. I have used the 305 for about a week now and look forward to working out so I can put it through the paces.
No longer do I wonder how far I ran or walked, what my heart rate was during the workout, or how many calories I burned...it's all on this comfortable, easy to use watch. I don't race or train real hard so it is a great piece of gear for someone just wanting to stay fit all the way to the "professional" who is preparing for their next marathon/race. There are multiple "pages" that you can configure to see data as you work out (ie. time, heart rate, distance, calories). So you can actually configure different pages and cycle through them with a push of a button or set up a single page which has 4 blocks of workout data you feel is more important. Once again versatile and very user configurable to your needs and preference.
Two of my co-workers are avid triatheltes who both use the Garmin Forerunner (one uses the 305 and the other the 405). Both of them are the ones that sold me on getting the Forerunner 305.
The heart rate strap (included) is comfortable to wear. I hate to be restricted or encumbered when I run but this strap is unintrusive.
The included software is easy to load and easy to download your workouts so you can keep track of your performance.
To recharge the battery just place in the cradle, attach the USB cable to the detachable 110 volt plug and plug into the wall. You can also recharge the GPS watch by attaching the USB cable and pluging the other end to your USB on your computer. This will charge your Garmin plus download the data from your workout to the Garmin Trainer software. Kills two birds with one stone. Very versatile and easy to use.
This is an awesome tool for those interested in keeping track of their workout progress from the low impact walker to the ironman racer. I wholeheartedly recommend this product and am totaly satisfied thus far with the utility, quality, and performance.
Nothing that I dislike at this time.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Very good training tool
Definitely worth the money spent. GPS is quite accurate, and has some excellent features. Best part is loading workouts into pc (with Garmin's software), MotionBased web site software also pretty useful as well. Things I don't like: a) takes 2-4 minutes from time you turn on the watch until it's picked up a satellite, so don't expect to turn on the watch and immediately be ready to go; b) while the total distance is accurate, the real-time current pace isn't very accurate ... probably would be on a track though; c) some additional displays including cumulative average pace would be useful; d) I share my watch with a few others in the family, and it would be nice to more easily change profiles. The only really annoying bit is the time to synchoronize with satellites. This device is loaded with features, but like anything else, it takes time to sit down and learn about many of them. Overall, very happy with it. For someone who does a lot of trail running or mountain biking, this would be really ideal.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.