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Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch Review

by David Fried March 21, 2008
Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS

Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS

Summary

  • Product Name: Forerunner 305 GPS
  • Manufacturer: Garmin
  • Review Date: March 21, 2008 09:30
  • MSRP: $ 249.99
  • Buy Now

  • Product Type: Portable GPS system
  • Weight: 2.7 oz.
  • Dimensions: 2.1"(W) x 0.7"(H) x 2.7"(D)
  • Compatibility: PC
  • Connector type: USB
  • Display type: LCD
  • Display Resolution: 100 x 160
  • Rated battery life: 10 hours
  • Included accessories: USB cable, Wrist strap, Charging cradle, AC power adapter, Heart rate monitor
  • Cold acquisition times: 45 sec
  • Warm acquisition times: 38 sec
  • Hot acquisition times: 1 sec


Pros

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Large LCD display
  • Adequate weight

Cons

  • Large size
  • Less than average coverage in cloudy weather

Gear Corner Review

garmin-forerunner-top.jpgThe Forerunner is a treasure trove of data for any number loving sports enthusiast with its simple to use speed and distance tracking, heart rate, and calorie counter. The included software is Mac and PC compatible and one truly neat feature is the ability to upload workouts to the Web to compare times with friends or, if your intentions are a bit more nefarious, you can rub your results in your friends' faces. The Forerunner 305 quickly picks up your location and accurately records an abundance of data. However, as far as aesthetics go the unit is a bit large and would seemingly feel a bit clunky on a woman or thin-wristed male.

Design & Operation

forerunner-305-front2.jpgOut of the box the unit is simple to set up and will enable even the most technically challenged running junkie to be on the trail within minutes (after the necessary 3 hour battery charging session via the supplied USB cord or AC adaptor). Each time you enter the great outdoors, the 305 will take about 30 seconds to a minute or so to sync up with the orbiting satellites and you’re good to go.

The unit has a sleek design overall and feels like an oversized wristwatch. The watch is designed so that the receiver aims at the heavens during running. At first the unit felt a bit heavy but I grew accustomed to it rather quickly (it may feel uncomfortable to individuals with skinny wrists). The unit is waterproof to a degree and I do not recommend swimming with the unit, however it is protected from perspiration and the elements. The numbers on the screen are large enough to read at a quick glance without straining your eyes. The screen offers great widescreen clarity and crispness for easy viewing. The buttons have a nice tactile feel and good pressure response, thus enabling usage during exercise without breaking your concentration.

The left side of the unit sports a mode and backlight/power button. The right side houses the enter and menu selection buttons. The Forerunner connects to a computer via an AC adapter dock or mini-USB port.

forerunner-305-pace.jpgThe unit’s data resources come in the form of pace, avg. pace, time, calories burned, heart rate, distance, heart rate, and more. The navigation aspect of the unit enables you to locate a position with ease, however it is not nearly as powerful as a true automotive GPS system. Some of the more innovative and unique features include the ability to download a course to the unit and compete against your previous workouts or a small “digital partner” in the form a small pixilated man.

forerunner-305-lap.jpgDuring 10 runs ranging from 1 to 8 miles the unit truly worked well, and it only cut out once when the sky was filled with a colossal amount of clouds and even worked in the woods. The calorie counter is seemingly not on par with the unit itself, as it reported some highly unlikely numbers due to the fact it calculates speed traveled to create its calculations. The heart rate monitor fits quite well and does not feel uncomfortable in the least while running.

The Training Center software and Mac alternatives enable seamless uploading. The software lets you track your training performance through a variety of charts, graphs, lists, and much more. Training Center allows users to create courses and download them to the device for workouts. With the course information defined, the Garmin device really shines, with its ability to tell you where to turn and what type of workouts to do in certain areas of your predefined course. In addition, you can view previous workouts superimposed on map of the course to better your workout even further and measure improvement.

Conclusion

With a price of around $249.99, the Garmin Forerunner 305 provides a complete solution for analyzing and monitoring workout data at a reasonable price. The unit has a variety of customizable features and displays. The ability to upload results to a computer or online, and the capability share routes online are undoubtedly useful features for any exercise buff. The 305 offers up GPS capability without any excessive weight, cords or need to place anything in your shoes. The 305 keeps track of a variety of workout stats, even in wooded or urban environments. The digital training offered by the 305 more than makes up for the somewhat large wrist unit.

The Score Card

At Audioholics Gear Corner we give you a quick but comprehensive look at consumer electronics from several different categories. All products in the Gear Corner have been individually evaluated through hands-on testing by our reviewers in order to give you a quick but detailed overview that we hope will help you in your purchasing decisions.

The Price: Bargain
  About right
  Pricey
Recommended For: Acoustic/folk/bluegrass
Rock/country
Classical
Jazz
Home theater
Display: Too small
Just about right
GI-NORMOUS
Is it Easy to Use?: If you have a pulse
It helps to be a bit geeky
Not unless you are a rocket scientist
Category: Auto
Handheld portable
Marine

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