Strengths: Excellent for canal side paths, trails and general off road running. Good comfy fit with cushioning at a very acceptable level - good enough for 18 mile LSRs so far and I have every intention of going further. Easilly take custom orthoses if you wear them.
Weaknesses: The lugs do tend to clog with mud if you're heading through particularly muddy terrain. That makes them pretty poor for cross country racing as they soon become very heavy. Not completely waterproof either - run through puddles and your fee are soon wet.
Overall: I wasn't too taken with these the first couple of times I'd worn them. They took a bit of breaking in and clogged badly with mud in a cross country race.
Since then they've really grown on me. I've got alot of miles out of them, mainly along the canal and uneven gravel/rock towpaths and through fairly muddy sections. They clog with mud in wet weather but will soon clear on a gravel/tarmac section.
The cushioning seems very good for any on road sections and has been vital for the rock/gravel towpaths.
'WHEN ITS GOOD ITS VERY, VERY GOOD...BUT...WHEN ITS BAD ITS H'
Strengths: Looks reasonable, gives a mine of information, measures distances extremely accurately, works well with Sportracks.
Weaknesses: Speed/pace data suffers if running near trees - you'll think you're running far faster or slower than you are (though over a decent run it'll even itself out). Satellite reception can be slow to be acquired (though usually better than the 301 was). Garmin's software is useless. Calories burned data is ludicrously inaccurate. Connectors on the back tarnish very easilly so information won't upload to the pc. My unit has died after 5 months (a common story it seems) and the service from Garmin so far has been poor.
Overall: For the amount of money these things cost you'd expect something excellent and in theory thats what you get. Theories don't always work out though.
The 305 is a one stop shop for all the info you need to help you train more effectively, monitor progress and record information.
There are some weak points in general performance listed above but you can get round most of these.
My biggest gripe is that I don't expect the thing to die within a few months of purchase - espescially having paid so much for it. From looking at the forums there seem to be huge issues with the 305, with some users already on their 3rd, 4th or 5th unit.
The customer service isn't great either. I contacted Garmin and have had 2 emails from them asking for information or advising me on actions which were already provided in my initial mail - its like they've responded without really reading it. I called today to find the person who emailed isn't in, nobody else can help and even if they could the 'system is down'. Latest is that I will have to pay to return the watch via Special Delivery, and if I can't provide proof of purchase they'll charge me another £55 (even though all UK 305s will be within warranty as they have only been selling them here for 9 months.
You'll get to rely on the 305 and that'll make its loss if/when it packs up all the more annoying and the back up from Garmin doesn't help.