Strengths: Pretty accurate distance measure. Can set virtual training partner or more complex workouts. If you want HR function it saves wearing two pieces of kit. Easy to keep check of pace.
[Update 11/03/06] 1.Pretty accurate distance measure 2.Good information about your pace 3.If you want HR function saves wearing two gadgets 4.Other features such as virtual partner,ability to programme more complex workouts,download data to your pc 5.Clear display,easy to set up and use.
Weaknesses: Takes time to pick up satellites when you switch it on.There is always a line of them on the playing field outside our clubhouse when we meet for a long run so that they've warmed up before we set off! I find the strap for the HR monitor so uncomfortable I don't use it any more-is this just a girl thing? Picks up other peoples HR signals although its not supposed to. Distance measure over same route varies from time to time.Usually not by much but occasionally by as much as 0.2 of a mile. No backlight so difficult to read on those dark winter evenings.
[Update 11/03/06] 1.Distance accuracy varies for the same run on different days. 2.Takes a while to pick up the satellite signal-there is always a line of them on the playing field outside our clubhouse when we meet for a long run so that they have "warmed up" before we set off. 3.Signal from the HR chest strap is erratic unless I do it up so tightly I end up with bruises.Its so uncomfortable I don't use it any more.Is this just a girl thing? 4. Picks up other peoples HR signals although its not supposed to. 5.No backlight so hard to read on those dark winter evenings.
Overall: I bought this gadget about a year ago when I first started training for a half marathon.Being able to easily measure the length of my long runs has been a real plus.I have not used it to its full potential.I have n't even tried linking it to a pc.But even so I would n't be without it ,being able to easily keep track of my pace has really helped me as a beginner. I had good intentions of using the HR function to plan my training but find it so uncomfortable I have n't used the HR monitor for ages.With hindsight I should have bought a 201!
[Update 11/03/06] This review is from a beginners point of view.I bought this gadget nearly a year ago when I started to train for a half marathon.As a beginner I had no idea about how different paces felt and also found it difficult to know if I was running the distances required in my training program. Both these problems were solved with this very useful device and I successfully completed my first half marathon in my target time. I have been disapointed with the HR monitor finding it unreliable and uncomfortable.I was keen to use the HR function to get the most out of my training but find it just too uncomfortable to use.Not having used any other HR monitor I don't know if this is a common problem with other manufacturers devices as well. If the 305 addressed this problem I might upgrade. It does take a few minutes to pick up the satelite signal but this is n't a problem if I remember to put it outside while I get changed so that its ready to go when I am. Accuracy does vary but not by much. You do lose the signal under trees or around tall buildings but the Garmin seems to compensate for this when the signal returns. I have not used the other features of this device having not even downloaded my runs on to the pc (there is plenty of memory on the Garmin itself) perhaps now I'm starting my second year of running I'll experiment more. Overall even for technophobes and beginers its a worth while investment.The basic functions are easy to set up and use.