Garmin Forerunner 305.

Is it good enough to buy?

1 to 20 of 36 messages
15/02/2007 at 21:13
I have been considering buying one but I have a dilemma.

Looking through the forums the unit appears to have it's problems with freezing, loosing data, battery power, firmware upgrades.

Would you reccommend it or not?

Also the cheapest price I have seen it is just under £200 in the UK (240v model). From the states it could be bought for £150 including shipping.
I don't think there are any differences in the two systems apart from the charging unit and an adapter would solve the problem.

Any thoughts on UK or USA model?

Thanks for your time.

15/02/2007 at 21:25
I bought one about 3 months ago and it is fantastic. I have had no issues or problems.

I look at the availablility of firmware and software updates as a positive thing and means Garmin are always developing and improving their products.

I would buy a UK model myself for the extra £50 but that is just me.
15/02/2007 at 21:58
I doesn't have much to fault it. Yes, I've had a dodgy unit before, but when assessing the device for what it does, it's a solid purchase.
15/02/2007 at 22:14
I love mine! Upgraded to UK 305 from US 201 a few months ago.

If difference is £50 it may be worth getting UK as duty and postage could make prices equivalent if you're not careful although plug is multi (on UK any way) and it can be charged via USB anyway.

16/02/2007 at 15:51
Dad of 3:
The 305 is a great training tool. You have obviously looked into it but do you honestly need the GPS bit. I mean, is your thing measuring how fast/far you have run or would you use the map feature or navigation features?
I personally do use the navigation bits when running through forests on small tracks, but thats me. If not, I personally would look at the new Polar RS800SD as the software is 'in my opinion' a better all round package. Does the speed/pace/distance thing with the footpod and they are getting great reports.(http://www.polar.fi/polar/channels/eng/segments/Running.html)
I've had some problems over the year+ Ive had the 305, but as others in this Forum have mentioned, Garmin have got their finger out and sorted them with upgrades. Bare in mind, there isn't another running watch with HRM/GPS all in 1 unit.
By the way, my 305 is now great again. Still on original unit, with all updates/firmware and Training Centre update.

Hope this helps...
16/02/2007 at 18:18
Thanks to everyone who has replied.

Upto now there's 4/4 positive comments and no negatives.

I would have to say at the moment there has not been anything to put me off a purchase.

I would be interested in any one who has bought the 305 and feels it was a waste of money.

Thanks.
16/02/2007 at 19:52
Chipping in...

Rather than me droning on for hours again, you might like to read some of the other threads (with my opinions posted therein!) here, and here.

I have used Polars for the last 12 years, so am used to the Polar way of thinking (Edge NV, Coach, S625X and now RS800SD!), so this is possibly bias on my part. Oddly I couldn't get on with a Garmin eTrex handheld GPS unit either.

I am now very happy with my RS800 - despite some pre-purchase doubts, it really is significantly better and more usable than the S625X. Plus Polar are apparently bringing out the "g3" GPS add on pod that would extend its use to cycling, skiing, etc. Interestingly Garmin have gone the other way and brought out a accelerometer footpod themselves!

Completely biased, but here is why I think the Polar RS800SD beats the Forerunner 305 (others will doubtless have contrary views!):
- small and watch like
- no problems with maintaining a GPS signal
- all batteries user changeable (including on the watch unit)
- easy to use but sophisticated software
- excellent heart monitoring functions

Biggest drawback I guess is that it is 50% dearer than the Garmin... but there will be a S625X going on ebay in the near future :^)
Running Dad    pirate
16/02/2007 at 19:55
Anyone use their 305 on a bike as well? Does it give speed & distance ok?

16/02/2007 at 20:22
I had the Polar RS800SD for a few months and, to be quite frank, it's rubbish. If you spend over £100 on a distance watch you expect it to be accurate. I callibrated my Polar on a running track as instructed. I then did a 10K race and it recorded the distance as 8.3 KM - way off. Consequently I sold it and bought a Forerunner 305- the best decision I made. The Garmin if fantastically accuarate and motivating. What I love is downloading my runs on to the computer and seeing them run again using google earth.
My advice: buy a Garmin Forerunner 305- you won't regret it. By the way the cheapest price is £189 in the UK is from GPS4less.co.uk
16/02/2007 at 20:51
i use the 305 on the bike, it is great for multisports in general compared to the polar which is no good for them at all in my opinion.

I also have the optional cadence sensor, which does cadence off the cranks and also has a sensor for the back spoke to measure speed as a back up or on a turbo trainer.

as greyhound said they are also bringing out the footpod, but purely for people who use treadmills a lot.

the way I see it the polar doesn't have the features of the garmin and is dearer so no contest. for me it is the ease of use. I turn in on leave in on the windowsill get ready put itn on and go. no messing with xtra bits and pieces/footpods or switching between shoes etc.

I used to have the timex (well still do) and the 4 seperate pieces made it awkward to use.
I think most people with a 305 love them but there are people who don't.

by the way greyhound it is a bit rich to claim an 'advantage' of the polar is not having to worry about keeping gps signal!!
you may as well put it as an 'advantage' that it is missing the feature altogether!!
17/02/2007 at 09:19
I've just looked up for the info greyhound mentioned about Polar bringing out a GPS add on to the RS800. Info can be found at: http://www.polar.fi/polar/channels/eng/segments/Running/RS800_GPS.html
Polar say 'On sale through authorised Polar resellers during the second half of 2007, g3 will be available for purchase as an upgrade for existing RS800 owners, or as a complete set in the RS800g3 Training System'.
I like my 305 and to be honest to change now for the price Polar are asking is beyond reason.
But, I would certainly be keeping an eye on the reports when this thing is released. For 'Dad of 3', this brings another perspective for you to look at. Buy now with/without footpod and upgrade with the Polar G3 GPS, or buy an all in one 305- cheaper too!
As they say, the choice is yours.....

18/02/2007 at 13:00
Dave...

Horses for courses - the GPS signal was a significant problem for me but I do run in hilly and densely wooded terrain. I lose the radio signal in my car driving through some of the ravines round here! This is clearly not a problem that everyone will face, and certainly didn't seem to be so much of an issue on the bike (moving faster and so more likely to get a new fix quicker).
Running Dad    pirate
18/02/2007 at 19:10
Dave,
thanks fot the info - sounds like a great bit of training kit.

RD
18/02/2007 at 21:32
Seem to keep popping up on the same threads as Greyhound - like him I've used both Polar and Garmin and have gone with Polar. My version of pros/cons of each :

Garmin
- Single unit
- No need to calibrate
- Downloading maps is a novelty (soon wears off though)
- Watch interface is well designed
- HR is basic, nowhere near as good as Polar
- Software is OK, again not as good as Polar
- Looks like a prop from an episode of Star Trek in the 70s
- Pace information is rubbish
- Not reliable (or at least, alot seem to go wrong)

Polar
- Better designed watch
- RS400/800 is better/easier to use than 625
- ProTrainer software is great - far better than Garmin
- Footpod is comfortable and accurate
- Batteries last far longer - have to recharge Garmin
- Very expensive - may come down in price

In the end I ummed and ahed, and went for the RS400. This is essentially the same as the 800 without the altimeter. I also haven't bothered with the footpod; this for me is the crucial reason I've stuck with Polar. When I bought the Garmin I imagined it would 'liberate my running' - I would go off like Forest Gump and the Garmin would tell me where I'd been and show me on a map. In reality I tend to have a number of runs of varying distance that I do repeatedly and running to heart rate on them is all that matters. Pace/distance is interesting, but for me the best way to train is by heart rate, so in the end I went for a very good heart rate monitor. Garmins for me aren't good enough at this and the rest of it is all a bit of a gimmick.
19/02/2007 at 11:27
Go for the Polar 200SD, it has all the fetaures that you are realistcially going to need and the prices have come off a lot
19/02/2007 at 13:46
RR, thats a very good comparison of pro's and cons.

is the - Looks like a prop from an episode of Star Trek in the 70s

a pro or a con. I love the retro look, but find that its quite a big bulky unit on your arm. I can feel the weight and have to have the strap very tight so it doesn’t rub.

Other than that i am very happy with mine, touch wood i haven’t had it fail yet!!


19/02/2007 at 17:45
...dare I even suggest not getting one at all (Polar or Garmin!)?

I just like to run and found for a while that I was becoming so obsessed with gadgets and fiddling with them that my frustration really diminished my enjoyment. For a good few months I simply left them at home and ran with my trusty Timex Ironman (only checking it at the end of a run) and felt liberated from the onslaught of information.

Currently I'm running with a purpose (training for a marathon) and the Polar has been useful in structuring my training - again mostly around my heart rate. The altimeter function is pretty important for me, which is why I justified its expense over the RS400.

I never fail to be fascinated by the heated debates the Polar / Garmin issue sparks off!

19/02/2007 at 17:47
...and a further thought, sometimes (when frustrated by these devices) I feel a bit of a mug for being sucked in my the advertising that this is something I need: well, I ran for 20 years before getting one perfectly well!

Then my true geekiness comes through and it all passes... :o)
19/02/2007 at 22:41
Good point grehound. I have to admit i only use it to record my route and distance so i can review my run after. I never look at the screen whilst running.

I know what you mean about being sucked in, thats how i ended up married!! erm i mean with a garmin!!
19/02/2007 at 23:21
would agree with greyhound, this gadget lark makes no real diff to my running.

what I love about the forerunner though is that I don't have to try and write down each run when I get back to have a record of mileage etc. I just slap it on every time and plug it in the PC every couple of weeks and everything is recorded for me. it keeps me honest without any real effort.. (I mostly don't use the hrm)
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