Average review score based on 419 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
Have only used the Garmin Forerunner 305 several times and my initial impressions:
- excellent features and easy to read screen
- handheld easy to operate and setup
- distance measurement appears accurate even with trees
- had to use provided strap extension to fit wrist comfortably
- had some difficulty installing software and drivers
- would not install properly in accordance with instructions
- took several hours using Garmin technical support and had to unload all of my other Garmin software and mapping tools and make changes to the register
- after uninstalling all of my other Garmin software, the Training Center software that came with the unit now operates
- also had to load USB drivers off the Garmin website - the drivers on the provided CD did not work
- now all is functioning - but have not yet reinstalled all of my other software to see if it works now.....
My wife had the 305 and she loved it. Last year running the Chicago Marathon she was hit hard by another runner, knocking the Garmin completely off her wrist, and down a storm drain. She was using the quick detach mount system. She runs triathlons and marathons, the reason she likes the 305 is because it works on her bike with the pedal sensor and wheel sensor accessories. She can easily track cadence, etc. Also, the quick detach mount lets her switch easily from the bike to the run. The watch clips onto a mount on the handlebars, and then clips onto the wrist strap. Only takes a second to transition. However! As she knows all too well, if you get hit too hard on the wrist, the 305 can get knocked off. If you are just running, use the standard watch style wrist strap.
The Garmin I ordered from Ebay was used, intended as a replacement for the one my wife lost. Garmin has discontinued the 305. The used one ended up not working properly and I had to send it back. Thank you Ebay Buyer Protection! When purchasing a used 305, be very careful that it powers up properly, charges properly, and will run for an acceptable length of time. There are several small holes on the base of the Garmin where the speaker is located. The holes allow the beeps to be heard. They also allow moisture, usually sweat, to infiltrate the unit, which causes corrosion over time. Once the corrosion is bad enough, the battery is compromised. Garmin charges about $80 to recondition the 305. So, beware of the condition of the battery. The unit will power on when it is connected to the charging unit, even though the battery won't actually charge. Make sure it stays on when it is off the charging unit. That was the problem with the used one we got from Ebay. It would power on only when attached to the charger. Other than a minor design flaw they are a great unit.
This is a great tool... I find it motivates me to get out and continue to push myself. If you have ever tried following a workout routine and notice the minute you think no one is paying attention, it's ok to slow the treadmill down, or "take a break" you know that it is human nature to take it easy.
Since I got this "watch" I've been outside making neat patterns all over the area . I get the biggest kick out of plotting the tracks in Google earth and amazing myself and anyone else I can get in front of my computer with the amazing accuracy and immense amount of details this thing captures. The resolution is so high, I can tell what side of the road I was on.. or the blip in the course as I change my direction to avoid the living deer statues at my local park ( Deer are so unafraid You have to go around them).
Running or walking in the real world has it's benefits.. You will get to see things. Travel to the less known parts of your local parks. You can't cheat! if you take off on a trail and 20 or 30 minutes in, you decide you need to bail.. you are still 20 minutes from your car.. You might as well keep pushing. see if you can break your record of time, or distance.
I use it for all kinds of stuff. Mapping the local trails in the park at around the corner... the one that doesn't have any maps.. I used it to map our local paintball fields. Best part of all these activities is that you are moving , recording, position, speed, heart rate, climb... and you can quantify the increase in your own performance like never before..
This isn't just a GPS, it's Motivation.
My sons gave me a Garmin 205, so I was quite familiar with the use of the 305. The reason I upgraded to the 305, was the capability to monitor the heart rate and the cadence.
I recently purchased a Trek road bycle and my friend and I like to ride medium to long distances. It is a blessing - after adding the Garmin 305 - I am able to keep track of so many things at the same time (attaching the Garmin is a snap with the small rubber holder; you really don't need any tie-ons!). Adding the cadence was easy, if you give yourself the time to install this device. After setup I calibrated my Trek computer with the 305, so speed and distance are the same.
Through the Trek Incite 9i computer I keep track of speed, time of day and temperature.
My main page on the Garmin 305 shows: triptime, distance, heart rate and cadence.
My second page is setup with the following: time of day, sunset, date and distance. This page is helpful in deciding when to turn around on a long run.
My third page is set up with lap information. This is helpful when we ride in our local park and do some practice laps.
Overall I am very pleased with the capabilities of the Garmin 305.
I read a lot about the maps and their quality, but what I usually do is upload the Garmin data into Google Earth and get a true reflection of our trips.
Finally, the Virtual Runner helps me in my running workouts to keep improving.
Thank you Garmin
during the past i own a Polar Watch with heart rate monitor.i had this watch for about 4 years and i was very happy with it as was my first Heart watch so i didnt search for more advance models..I running about 3-4 times a week 5km eatch time.i also make gym 3 times a week.I decide to buy a watch that will have both distance and heart rate monitor ..After some research on the internet and after check the reviews on amazon i saw the Garmin forerunner 305 as the price-best watch for my purposes.This watch is like a training manager for me.Running with this watch is trully great.Every time i run with this watch i try to make new record.i try to run more hour and i burn more gallories.The build quality is Great.is not cheap watch.The size of the watch is Affortable but you have to take in mind the big screen.The big screen is very importand for this kind of watches because during the running the screen splits in 3-4 more screens so you can see differend information during running.Timer.gallories burnings.distance etc.The battery was very good for me.after a run i connect it with the usb dock base so i can transfer the information to the pc.during the the connection the watch also is been charge.The heart rate belt coming with the watch is very good.is very confortable to wear and very very easy to take off.really i like it.The manual coming with the watch is very nice and easy to understand.the only think i dont like about the watch is the software coming with the watch.The training center.But You can download free fron internet the software Sportracks.Sportracks software is better than the garmin training center software.sportracks software shows more information about the running and also shows information about hear zones.is very importand for me.Also the software connect with google earch and displays the workoute on the google earth map.Also another think that i dont like the running lines that show me in google earth(is the lines i run in my workout)is not so accurate.but this is not importand for me...:) I will give to this watch 5 star.i was very happy with my buy..