Major Update: June 25th, 2009(I’ve completely revamped and updated this review (my most popular) to add in a ton of information about accessories, updated software and additional thoughts about the device itself now that I’ve had it nearly two years. After such a long time, it’s still my primary training device)
It’s no secret that I love my 305. I originally wrote up this ‘review’ back in May 2007 a few weeks after I first got the Garmin Forerunner 305 – but never published it outside a small circle of friends. I published the original version online in the Fall of 2007, and after using the device for nearly two years now as my primary training device, I’ve now updated this review with a ton of information.
Since buying it I’ve used it a ‘couple’ of times. As of June 2009 that’d officially be for 363 runs, 112 outdoor bike rides (in Aug 2008 I started using the Edge 705 for cycling primarily), 24 open water swims, and a few dozen airplane rides, hikes and other random things. Of course, while I don’t know everything there is about it – I have a pretty solid grasp of pretty much everything it can do. So based on that, I’ve put together this review – as well as all the answers in the comments section (closing in on almost 200 of them!). As for the level of detail…well, that’s just my DC Rainmaker way of doing things. Plus, if you think this is detailed…you should check out my Forerunner 310XT review…
That said, I feel pretty confident I know the watch pretty well. So with that…onwards!
Inside the box there are a number of components, but of course, the major item is the watch itself and the cradle to sync/charge with.
In addition to the watch, you’ll find a secondary wrist strap for those with smaller wrists (and a tool to change it), as well as a power charger (wall), and a USB charger. And of course a bunch of paperwork and software. One neat feature is the USB charger plugs into the wall charger, which means that you can also use that wall charger for charging basically any USB device (like your iPod). Just a minor little benefit.
Here’s the wall charger unit, and the USB charger unit:
One advantage to note with the 305 charger unit over that of the 405 unit is that the 305 charger sounds ‘clicks’ into place, whereas the 405 tends to fall out a bit easier of jostled. A minor nit, but something worthwhile mentioning.
The cradle uses a small mini-USB connector on the ‘dock’, which connects to your computer via standard USB. The nice part is the cable is your standard digital camera USB cable – so you don’t have to carry multiple cables on trips. Your computers connects to this small dock (pictured below), which the device clicks into. Way easier and faster than the IR connect with the Polar devices IR connector. I was concerned about having to tote another cable around in my bag, so having it be the same is awesome.
Many folks look at the device itself and wonder ‘is it too big?’. And at first glance, you might think it is. But for every friend who’s picked one up, all of them have found that the feeling of a large thing on your wrist goes away after about 30 seconds of running. To compare different device, here’s a picture of the Forerunner 305 next to the Forerunner 405, next to my standard Nike wristwatch. As you can see, the 405 is a bit smaller, though it lacks some of the features of the 305. Read my full write-up on the 405 for all the deets there.
With that, let’s get going on using the device. After all – that’s what we got it for!
Prior to the 305, I used a Polar 625X for a month (before I returned it). In comparison to the Polar and calibration, the setup of the 305 is a breeze. Basically you turn it on (after a short 3 hour charge) and it asks three questions Monty Python style:
1) What is your quest (US or Metric)?
2) Do you have a separate food pod (Y/N)?
3) Do you have a cadence sensor (Y/N)
After that, you’re done. At this point, you’re ready to start. No further calibration or dinking with is required.
I immediately went outside and went for a short half mile walk to check it out. Before I even got down three flights of stairs it had already picked up the satellites (inside) and was more than ready to go by time I got to my front door. The buttons are a little more clear in comparison to the 625X. Basically the two you actually care about are on the front (Lap, Start/Stop). The right hand side buttons are dedicated to changing the view or data displayed. The left hand buttons control a backlight (also On/Off), as well as the Mode button for navigating the menu system.
Of course, the real action is when you’re out and about exercising. So let’s jump into it by sport.
Using it while on the run….
Like most running watches (GPS or foot pod), it will give you pace as you go along. If you’re in ‘run’ mode, it will show it to you in minutes per mile (or KM per mile), if you’re in bike mode it will show it to you in MPH. These are all changeable and switchable to metric. When in operation, the watch gets divided in up to four quadrants to display information (depending on how you configure it). I typically run with pace, heart rate (HR), distance and lap time.
The pace is generally pretty accurate, though you’ll see slight variations as you run along – no worries though, it all evens out in the software. I generally don’t have any issues in normal trees and shorter buildings, though sometimes if I run right alongside taller buildings it will temporarily drop the connection. But if it does temporarily ‘lose you’, it will recalculate your pace/distance based on last known location. Meaning if you’re traveling in a straight line (like a street) and you lose signal – it figures out where you most likely went and interpolates. You generally don’t notice this on the watch itself unless your constantly looking at it – and again the software later on simply does math between the two points.
One other feature to call out is the ability to race against at ‘little man’ at a given pace (called Virtual Partner). This is a software feature on the watch that shows you how far ahead/behind you are compared to the little man (like racing a real person) Though I don’t use it much (as I train mostly based on heart rate), it is a neat way to motivate yourself if you’re training solo.
While this applies to cycling as well as running, you can also program workouts into your watch. This allows you to for example say “Keep a 8:00/mile pace for 2 miles, then switch to a 7:30/mile pace for the next two miles”, etc… You can also do it based on HR or HR zones. I use this all the time on the bike during races. It will beep at you when you fall out of the prescribed workouts. I put together a detailed ‘How to’ guide on this back a bit ago, which can be found here.
One accessory you can get for the 305 that’s applicable to running is the Garmin footpod. This footpod allows you to run indoors on a treadmill and still give accurate pace and distance data to the Garmin (any Garmin device, 305/310XT/405/410, etc..). This is also great outside though for looking at your running turnover as it records that as well. Below is a picture of it, it simply laces up inside your shoe laces. Note that they have significantly updated the Footpod around the time the 310XT was released to be much much smaller, and you can pick the new version up instead and it’s compatible with the 305. I have a ton of pictures of it in my 310XT review.
And here’s what some turnover data looks like in an interval set I was doing:
The last running accessory I’ll mention is the heart rate strap. This is of course applicable to many sports/activities, but since running is first – I’ll mention it here. Heart rate monitors help many athletes (including myself) to train based on particular zones, ensuring we aren’t training too hard (which happens a lot) or not training hard enough (also possible). The strap has a rubber portion that goes on your front side, and a fabric band that wraps around you. It’s easy to wash the fabric portion and the whole thing transmits wirelessly to the 305. The battery in it has thus far lasted me two years, so it’s pretty long lasting. Though, it’s easy to swap out if you have to.
On the bike….
One of the major differences between a typical bike computer and something like the Garmin is that at the end of the ride a typical bike computer will only tell you that you went X number of miles. Whereas the Garmin will tell you exactly WHERE you went, and tons of other useful info – like hills, pace changes, HR history, etc…
Of course, out of all of these, perhaps the most fun item is to simply see where you went on a ride. Here’s one I did in Seattle some time back:
Though, from a training perspective one of the most valuable features is being able to analyze the ride afterwards. To start with, being able to easily split up my ride based on different parts of the ‘course’. For example – the first few miles of many of my long rides are getting out of the city streets and onto established trails – these first few miles are usually considerably slower due to stoplights. Being able to break my ride into ‘warm-up’ and ‘workout’ is fairly helpful when evaluating my pacing over time (months). Another important factor is considering altitude changes into a ride, you may not realize for example that you’re on a false flat – and after a number of miles you’ve gained significant altitude, thus slowing your pace without making it obvious to you.
It’s pretty amazing to look at total ascent/decent, which includes the tons of times you go up and down small hills. Beware though that it’s best to use some of the altitude correction features available in software such as Sports Tracks as the native altitude sensors within the device are a bit ‘liberal’ due to using GPS elevation instead of a barometric altimeter. So sometimes it’s a bit off.
With the 305 you have two basic options for mounting it to your bike. The first option is to simply affix the watch using the wrist strap to the bike itself. This is fine for most uses, but the rubber strap is kinda hard formed plastic and thus it might loosely spin around a bit on the handlebar. The better option is to use the fabric wrist strap that’s part of the quick release kit or just simply use the bike mount, which is very cheap compared to most other accessories.
The bike mount is pictured below, and the detachable fabric strap is pictured below that:
Finally, you can also purchase a Cadence Sensor for the back of the bike. This actually has two features – the first is to help you monitor your cadence and the second is to monitor your speed in case you go into a tunnel or if you’re just simply indoors on a trainer. The cadence meter has three parts, one is a typical spoke magnet – just like any old bike computer. The second is a crank magnet – again, just like any old bike computer. And the third is the thing that sits between the two to read the passes from both of them. This then wirelessly transmits it to the Garmin 305 (or any other Garmin device you may have).
Summary of accessories:
Here’s a quick table of all the accessories offered (or that work with) the Garmin 305:
In short, you can actually use the GPS features during open water swims – I wrote up a long post on all the details about it – so go here. But essentially you place the 305 into your swim cap (usually in a tiny Ziploc plastic baggie) and it’ll track your progress. However, the HR strap won’t generally work (at least consistently). The Garmin 305 specifies a underwater rating to allow it 30 minutes of time submerged at 1 meter – which is more than enough depth for your average open water swim (unless you plan to dive with it). By using a waterproof Ziploc, you in effect extend the time to cover longer swims.
The new Garmin Forerunner 310XT now had a much longer waterproofing time built into it, and can go down to 50m. But the same principal applies – it still must be placed in your swim cap should you want it to track your route. This is because while on the arm it will produce sporadic results. The key benefit the 310XT offers is it doesn’t require a plastic baggie and is better designed for the water – minimizing some situations where 305’s have been killed through extended water submersion.
In the woods hiking…and other random things
I was up hiking in the Shenandoah National Park (instead of cycling for once) and did a very short (1.4mile) trail hike. It was basically through wooded terrain down a ravine following a waterfall. The Garmin stayed on track and was dead on with the measurements compared to what the National Park Service said the length would be. I also never lost signal in the woods. Granted, these were wimpy East Coast woods without tall pine trees like the West Coast – but a good sign nonetheless. It gave us the same distance going up as when we went down. That’s good. However, I have found that running (or even worse – mountain biking) with tons of switchbacks tends to cause device confusion in heavily wooded areas. You can increase the frequency of position updating – but at a serious hit to your battery. Given how rare I use it in deep trees, I’m not worried.
Of course, hiking is just the tip of the spear with all the fun you can have with it. How about turning it on and tracking a flight to the other side of the world?
Yup, I’ve done that a few times. And even though the battery only lasts 10 hours, you can easily extend that to well over 24-36 hours with this cheap little $15 device that I wrote about.
I’ve also used it to Geotag photos that I’ve taken while being a tourist. I simply download the GPX file(s) afterwards, spit it through some software and I’m good to go, all my photos are quickly tagged with their exact location. Lots of fun stuff you can do with it.
The major difference between a watch like the 305/310 and some of the other models like the 405/410 is multisport mode. This means that you can switch between sports seamlessly in a triathlon. Instead of having to change in the menu’s that you’re going from bike to run and to somehow include a transition time, it will automatically do it for you with a simple touch of the lap button.
I wrote up a big ole How To on using the Forerunner 305 in triathlons that you can read through here.
The first edition of this review focused heavily on the software side, and I’ve kept all of that below and have updated it quite a bit to reflect all the changes in the past two years. I think it’s the software and what you can do with it more than the device itself that makes the 305 (and most Garmin devices) special. In many ways, most of the GPS based devices all dump to GPX files and all do ‘basically’ the same thing: They track where you went and the exact point in time you went there. From that – you can do a million different analytical things with that simple raw data. It’s how you utilize the software and the data that really determines if it will be a useful tool in your training or racing.
Ok, like the Polar – the native software is the weak spot. However, unlike the Polar, 3rd parties have created tons loads of software for GPS based devices (based on the GPX standard, as well as the Google standards of KML/KMS). Sure, many of these same software suites also allow importing from Polar devices (including the GPS enabled ones), but unless you have GPS data – most of what you can upload is sorta blah an unexciting.
Included Software: Garmin Training Center
I would actually say that the Polar’s native desktop software stuff is slightly better than Garmin’s default Training Center Software. Below is a screen shot of the default Garmin Training software. This was an example of my run. You’ll note it has the usual split information at the top. I did manual splits at my mile markers (plus some other points). You can also set it to auto-split on the mile. The top line gives you the average. The part I hate about the software is the left pane. You can’t customize anything – in particular, the names of your runs. Sorta annoying. The only thing you can do is create new folders to stick stuff in. It does map as well, but it isn’t worth the 100K JPEG image for the map screen shot since it uses a 17th century map of Virginia, no satellite imagery or anything else. The graph mapping is just so-so, pictured below. You can’t change the scales, so when it makes a random mistake (such as that sky-high blue line showing me doing a 35 minute pace for 1 second), you can’t correct for it. You also can’t manually modify data points (corrections) in this software. In general you won’t use this software for much of anything, and Garmin’s noted that it’s basically end of life and replaced with Garmin Connect (which I’ll talk about in a minute).
I use this software exclusively now – because it rocks and it’s 100% free. It shows me my route, as well as the usual HR/Pace/cadence/splits. It’s also got the ability to name runs and group things however I choose. Lastly, it can easily export to .gpx and .kml – unlike the GTC (Garmin Training Center). As noted in the clicked drop-down, you can easily change map types. Because screen shots are so much cooler than words – I shall simply include a few screen shots below.
(A general view of a run, each of the panes next to the map has different interchangeable views) (A view of one of the many pre-canned reports – showing total mileage for each week, you can also create your own reports)
Web Based Software: MotionBased.com (Free, although more advanced features are offered for a fee)
This is an online (and far more advanced) variant of the inbox Garmin Training Center stuff. You have two options to get data onto the site – the first option is install a small application (they call it ‘agent’) that grabs it off the Garmin and pushes it to the web site. The second option is manual upload. Agent is painless and easy. Takes a few seconds to set up and it automatically uploads any workouts not already uploaded. I’m using the purely free version.
The cool thing about the MotionBased software is the ability to share out a ‘public’ section of the site. This is useful if you go for a run/ride/whatever with friends and want to show them the route afterwards – or if you just want to share a route in general. One really advantageous thing with MotionBased is using the site to find runs/rides in areas you aren’t familiar with. Below is a quick screen shot of one of the pages, along the left hand side you can select other view panes.
Given that MotionBased is all but retired now, for the most part you’ll want to focus on Garmin Connect instead…which is below:
Garmin Connect is Garmin’s answer to MotionBased…after they bought MotionBased. Not really fully operational with all devices until mid-2009, it’s been a long work in progress. But Garmin Connect is without a doubt Garmin’s direction moving forward as far as how and where Garmin device users should manage their athletic data.
Garmin Connect utilizes a small web agent that is installed on your computer to upload data (PC or Mac) from your Garmin devices to a website that you can then poke and prod at your run/bike/activity. You’ll see many of the same functionality that you saw in MotionBased, but just with a prettier interface. Over the past year Garmin has improved it quite a bit and eliminated many of the bugs, but I do find that it’s still a bit buggier than it should be for a primetime application that’s been around this long (dropped connections, web server errors, etc…). To use it you simply connect your Garmin Forerunner 305 to your computer and navigate to the site where you click Upload, at which point it will connect to the device and grab your activities. Simple and straightforward.
It also does handy things like inform you of upcoming firmware updates:
Like MotionBased, you can share activities with friends and analyze activities as well. And as of June 2009, Garmin now supports all fitness devices on Garmin Connect (when it was first rolled out, it was only the newer devices).
It also can do a bunch of nifty reporting and allow you to export out your workouts as well.
Finally, like MotionBased, Connect also offers a great way to find routes in other cities through the Explore tab, allowing you to search for runs/rides/activities by city and/or name – perfect for when you are travelling and want to find a good running route. Though at the moment, Motion Based is much more powerful in this area, as you can see below for my search for Boston Marathon, the results…kinda suck:
In general, Garmin Connect is a good way for the casual user to easily house all of your workouts online, without worrying about losing everything if your computer dies. But I find that for my purposes, much of the in depth analysis that I want to do is still lacking (hence why I generally use Sports Tracks or Training Peaks).
Training Peaks is a web based software very similar to Garmin Connect, except it offers a bit more of a holistic view of your training plan. The web based software is offered in a free version and a subscription version, which are detailed here. In addition, there is also a downloadable software package called WKO+, but I haven’t played with it too much as it costs quite a bit.
One of the major reasons athletes use Training Peaks is to communicate training data to their coaches. Training Peaks is unique in that Coaches can easily track multiple athletes from inside a console of sorts, and thus can see uploaded data from the athlete – including their Garmin 305 data.
To upload data you use a small piece of software called the Device Agent, which connects to your Garmin 305 and then grabs the data (it doesn’t delete it, it stays there).
Then, once on Training Peaks, you can view the data and modify the workout descriptions (amongst a host of other options).
In general, Training Peaks is a great way to share workouts with your coach or analyze/track your entire workout/training program (including stuff like calories, resting heart rate and sleep). For me, it’s my primary training log between me and my coach.
The downloadable version of Google Earth rocks. While not as useful for directly viewing athletic data (such as your HR or pace), it’s great for looking at your routes. You can easily export directly from either Motion Based or Sport Tracks to Google Earth and have it automatically open up for you. It’s like having the online Google Earth offline. You can cache up to 2GB of imagery on your local machine for review offline. I downloaded a small utility for pre-caching a specific area (such as all of DC) so I could look at stuff on the plane if I wanted to.
The downloadable Google Earth is free. Above and below are screen shots of it (above uses the Blue Marble NASA overlay to make it look really pretty). It will also do flyovers of your route if you click the play button on the left hand side. The cool part is tons of people have uploaded KML files for just about everything. For example, I found a .zip file with about 100 DC bike routes in KML format to load into Google Earth. From there I can easily examine potential bike routes (or any route).
(An example of a file containing all the bike routes for the DC area, I uploaded it here)
At this point, if you made it this far and still aren’t sure – I’d just go to a local store – pick one up, and give it a shot. 😉 If after 30 days you don’t like it, you can easily return it (which is what I did with my Polar). But, I think when you combine it with software – you’ll find it’s quite a blast to play with and analyze data.
I’ve found that by using it I’ve been able to more accurately train and race, especially when I’m concerned with pacing (either via heart rate or speed). I’ve found the cadence meter to be hugely helpful in my cycling, and the pace meter while running very useful for long runs and helping me to keep from going to fast in the beginning.
In short and in summary, I can’t recommend it enough.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve posted a TON of Garmin 305 and related posts, here’s a short list of things you may want to check out-
Finally, if you’re looking at the Garmin 310XT or the Garmin Forerunner 405 as an option – you’ll want to check out my reviews of both of those (they’re even more detailed than this…).
Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device.
Unlike other Garmin Forerunner watches, the 305 comes in one simple flavor with the watch and the classic style heart rate strap all included in box. This goes for about $150 these days (the exact price fluctuates based on moon phase and tidal currents). If you found this review helpful in your purchasing decision, you can support future reviews like this (or my weekend race fees) by using any of the Amazon links (accessories list above or the units themselves). The reviews generally take 20-40 hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love).
As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.
Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. Further, you can always e-mail me at the address on the sidebar. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!
Finally, if you have a Garmin device or are looking at the 305 – I’ve written up a ton of helpful guides around using these devices, which you may find useful. These guides are all listed on this page here.
You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2021 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s Gear Guide too.
Nice review. Shoot me an email and let me know which version you are using–1.3 or 2.0. If the the beta is good I will try it.
Great review. Do you ever wear your Garmin for triathlons? Seems like a great tool for training, but isn’t practical to use in races, since it isn’t water proof. Or do you just wear a simple watch to keep your splits on races and leave the Garmin at home?
I’ve been a Polar S625x user for a year and like it, but I can see both sides. I prefer not having all the extras you need for a Polar, but the Garmin is also bigger on the arm when you wear it.
Though, that coupon has me thinking about getting one…
Yup, I’ve used it in tri’s. I set it up to auto-change sports as I go into the transition areas (I’ll write about that at some point). You can actually use it for the water portion as it’s waterproof to 3 feet for 30 minutes. I put it in my swim cap, here’s a long post I wrote up on how to use it during the swim and for openwater swimming (and how to go beyond 30 minutes):
link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com
Great review. I LOVE my 205. I’ve used all of that software except Google Earth. I agree with your evaluation of Sport Tracks. It is great for tracking all of your activities, whether indoors or out.
Hum… interesting review. I thought about the Garmin, but decided to use Polar. Then I ran out of money, and instead of getting the 625X that I wanted, got the RS200sd. Good enough for me…
I’ve heard that Garmin is not waterproof, instead it’s water resistant… Is this true?
Wow, you did an awesome job reviewing it. I’ve had it for about a year and a half and love it. I can’t imagine working out without it. Do you have the indoor footpod?
To answer a few questions:
1) The 305 is waterproof for 30 minutes up to 3 feet (per the manual). I lengthen that by simply putting it in a little ziplock bag. But sometimes I don’t bother and it just goes for a swim.
2) I don’t have the footpod, primarily because I can’t stand running inside. I managed to only run twice on a treadmill all last year (both during ice storms), plus once when I was overseas in an unsafe area. When I do run inside though I simply just manually enter the data into Sport Tracks (distance/time), you can use the HRM monitor portion still.
Do you know if the SportTracks software contains a graphing window that lets me look at things like pace, heartrate, speed, etc versus distance run or elapsed time? I agree with your review about Garmin Training Center…I like everything except the graphing functions as it doesn’t let me change the graph’s range and as a result my pace data is all squished into the bottom inch with no visibility to the variation during my run.
(Hopefully you’ll get this response, since I didn’t see an e-mail address to answer your question)
Yup – ST1.3 and 2.0 both allow you to do all of the things you mentioned – HR, Distance, Speed, Cadance, Elevation, Temperature, etc…versus any other paramter. Basically you can build your own graphs using any set of parameters you’d like (adding in multiple layers if you choose). There are also a slew of prebuilt reports as well you can generate.
Check it out – it’s free and has no whacky shareware or other stuff littered into it.
link to zonefivesoftware.com
Btw, also check out the forums – tons – and I mean TONS of good info in there as well.
Good luck! And if you have any questions, feel free to ping me at my e-mail address (on the right hand side of the main page).
Excellent review. I’ve been thinking about doing one, comparing the 305 to my previously used Suunto T6. But I don’t think it’ll happen.
Spot on about Training Center v. SportTracks. The difference is amazing.
I just ordered the 305 and am excited about receiving and using it.
Can multiple user profiles be created so that my wife can use it also and record her training data separate from mine?
I’ve just moved from Colorado to Charlotte and am constantly getting lost on rides. Will this unit help me follow a road course during a ride? If so, I’m buying one today.
Buck – I’m not aware of a way to split it out on the watch itself, but easily you can split out seperate Athletes in Sports Tracks.
Jeff – You can indeed program routes into the watch – but I’ve honestly never used it that way. Most cyclists will get the Edge one instead, which includes map overlays. Sports Tracks worth with the Edge the same was as the Forerunner series. The Edge is from Garmin.
I noticed that most of your satellite photos were around DC. Do you have any problem with the signal in the summer with leaves on the tress in areas like the C&O or W&OD trail? I do most of my miles in the trails around town and worry about getting frustrated with a lost signal.
Nope. No problems at all on the W&OD or the C&O. I usually do the W&OD at least once a week, and teh C&O every once in a while. The only place I’ve ever had issues with signal and trees is in trail running situations where I make a nubmer of tight switchbacks. In those cases it doesn’t always pick up the turns as much as I’d like. But overall no issues with any of the major trails in the DC area.
Excellent review! I just got my Forerunner 305 a little over a week ago and LOVE it. The only thing I’d like to change, and I’m wondering if you know of a way to do so, is to change the week starting day (in history) from Sunday to Monday. I’ve always preferred to start my training weeks on Monday and have them end on Sunday. Any ideas? Thanks again!
Hi B.M. – I don’t see a way to do it in Garmin Training Center. But in Sports Tracks the default is Monday, and you can change the week’s starting day to any day under the options menu. Hope this helps.
Thanks for the review. I just picked one up. I guess the 405 didn’t get great reviews.
I’ve only used it twice so far, but I’m liking the 305.
I am torn between getting a 305 or 405. After reading your excellent comments, I am leaning toward the 305. However, I am looking for more information on cadence for both running and biking. From the Garmin website, it looks like the 405 will do both but the 305 will only do cadence for the bike. Is this true?
Also, what about the battery life for a full ironman – any options to make it last the distance?
Both the 305 and the 405 equally do cadence on the bike and the run. You can use either the newer or older footpod for running with either device. I have both footpods and they both work with both devices. 🙂
As for an Ironman – I used my 305 and it just barely held on to last my Ironman (used on bike/run). There’s a person out there who modified the charging cradle to use a 10V battery instead to last his longer IM time. Here ya go: link to jwshale.com
I haven’t tried it myself, but it looks like it should work.
I got a 405 for xmas and after having a hard time getting it to work on my computer I returned it. I think the watch is great but it was very uncomfortable for me. It has a stiff band on your wrist. I have the 301 and have had no problems with it. I ordered the 305 and received it in the mail today. I have not taken it out on a run yet but I wore it for awhile and hardly noticed it. I got it at costco.com for $160 after a $40 coupon. I ordered the footpod but have not received it yet.
I just got my Forerunner 305 yesterday and did a test run this morning. I bought my wife an Edge 305 for Christmas (she bikes exclusively and doesnt run anymore)I was torn about getting the Forerunner as it looked so big and clunky in pictures. I stopped by a local running store that carried the Forerunner and tried one on. I was pleasently suprised as it did not seem as big on my wrist (medium build male)as I had feared. I immediatly ordred one from Amazon (sorry brick and mortar stores, I cant justify paying $320 at your store when Amazon sells the same thing for $160 with shipping and no tax). Anyway, I run, bike and inline skate. I also go spinning at the YMCA a couple of days a week with my wife. I like the Forerunner because I can set the display up to show only 1 data field (Heart Rate) and the numbers are big enough that I can read it in dim light without wearing my glasses (old eyes).
I have one question. You say you have the foot pod for cadence (running I assume)Would the foot pod provide cadence while biking or spinning? I’ve ordered a Speed/Cadence sensor for my road bike, but it would be neat to be able to use a footpod for spinning cadence.
RE: “You say you have the foot pod for cadence (running I assume)Would the foot pod provide cadence while biking or spinning? I’ve ordered a Speed/Cadence sensor for my road bike, but it would be neat to be able to use a footpod for spinning cadence.”
It’s unfortunately two different sensors – one that goes on your shoe like a little pod and is designed to measure both distance and turnover. Whereas the one for your bike has a magnet on both the spoke and crank, and measures RPM and speed.
That said, I have seen cases where if I was riding my bike with my running shoes on and it had the footpod on I get some interesting data. Not useful data mind you – just a bunch of random semi-garbage data. But worthwhile pointing out. 😉
Hope this helps!
Thanks. My guess is that the footpod would have to register the impact between your shoe and the ground to “complete the stride cycle”.
One other gripe I have about the Garmin unit is that HRM sensor and footpod appears to not be compatable with other brands (Polar for example. I know that when I go to the Y and use the Treadmill or Eliptical my polar HRM strap works with those devices so I dont have to grab the bars to get my heart rate.
My Polar S1 footpod does not pair with the 305 (I beleive the garmin and polar footpods are made by the same company), so if I do want to get a footpod I’ll have to buy Garmin’s.
I’ve owned Garmin products for a long time and have a definite love/hate relationship with them. I can see by your review of the 405 one could wonder how they would bring something like this to market given the issues you and others have mentioned (look on the user reviews for the 405 on Amazon).
Overall I think the 305 will be a good purchase and a nice training/data recording aid.
How do I change my 305 to see a large view of my heart rate, it so small to view on a bike or running ?
Where and how did you get a rebate on the 305 ?
To change your views, simply go under the Data Fields option in General, and from there you’ll be able to modify what screens appear on each display. Your best bet is to make a screen with three different data fields, and place the HR on the biggest of the three.
The rebates are unfortunately gone at this point, although they do appear rather frequently. They are usually listed here: link to garmin.com
great review – i’m about to pony up for a 305 – looks great. i’m gonna use it to track my kitesurfing sessions. i imagine the GPS should come in nicely on open water but i’m concerned about your comment about switchbacks. kitesurfing has a lot of stop and go (jumps, quick turns, etc.) >> am i going to get a reliable route at the end of the day? i didn’t find anywhere the precision of the GPS receiver and how often it picks up a coordinate. do you have that info? precise to 1m or 10m? picks up every 1s or 10s?
Sorry T for the delay in responding:
“i’m gonna use it to track my kitesurfing sessions. i imagine the GPS should come in nicely on open water but i’m concerned about your comment about switchbacks. kitesurfing has a lot of stop and go (jumps, quick turns, etc.) >> am i going to get a reliable route at the end of the day?”
Yes, you should get a fairly reliable route. I’ve taken it skiing (at fast paces, turns etc..) without too much issue. My only concern with kitesurfing would be ensuring that you do NOT use the quick release mount (which you would have to buy seperately), as it would easily pop off. But to instead use the strap that it comes with. Also, the only other thing I could think about is that it’s slightly bulky compared to the 405 – but with the water, speed, etc… the 405 would be a pain to operate – but would be more streamlined. Just my two cents.
“i didn’t find anywhere the precision of the GPS receiver and how often it picks up a coordinate. do you have that info? picks up every 1s or 10s?
It has two different settings – a ‘smart record’ or you can specify how often’. But eseentially it works out to between once every 1 and 4 seconds depending on turns. In Smart recording mode the GPS sensing if it’s changed directions and records new coordinates. Otherwise, you can specify to record at a static every 1 second, but it reduces the time down to 3.5 hours.
“precise to 1m or 10m?”
The manual says 10m, but below that would be more accurate, as I can do track workouts without issue and it shows a very clear circle. Plus, I can see which side of the road I’m on on a simple two-lane road with sidewalks on either side. Whereas 10m would be beyond that. So i’d guess the average 1-4m.
Hope this helps!
Very informative review. It confirms my experience on a month or so. Is there any way to jump back to the regular timing display after being deep in the menus without having to push the mode button multiple times? Perhaps I missed something in the manual, but I can’t seem to back out without multiple pushes.
Donald: “Is there any way to jump back to the regular timing display after being deep in the menus without having to push the mode button multiple times?”
Hi Donald – Nope, I’m not aware of any quick way unfortunately, I have the same problem quite a bit.
Mr. Rainmaker ~ I’ve tried using my 305 under my swim cap 3 times. The first two times the unit locked up. The third time was successful. I think one or both of the buttons on the face may have gotten pushed continually. It responds fine after turning off & on again.
Have you had any problems with your 305 locking up?
Love your blog. I have used many of your experiences with the 305 FR for my own and agree it is a great watch especially with Sport tracks. You mentioned you set it up to automatically change over sports in transition in triathlons. Did you ever discuss how you actually did this? Very interested in doing this as well.
Patrick ~ I’ve used the auto transition feature & it works pretty well. In the “training options” screen there is a setting for ‘auto transition’. If you set that up (how many sports, include transitions or not & in which order) and turn it on, when you are ready to start your workout just hit the start button as you normally would. Each time you proceed either to a transition or the next sport just hit the “Lap” button. For example, if you have it set to include transitions and three sports, starting with “other”, then “bike”, then “run”, when you hit the start button it will start the timer for the other (swim). When you come out of the water hit the lap button & it will start tracking your first transition. When you start your bike hit lap again & it starts a new timer for your bike. So on & so forth. Just be sure to remember where your start button is if you have it under your swim cap. I thought it was on the other side & didn’t start the timer for my swim. Also pay attention to hitting the lap button just once. I hit mine by accident more than once & it proceeded to the next phase & ended the cycle early.
Any suggestion re: software for Mac (apple) users? Thank youl
“Any suggestion re: software for Mac (apple) users?”
I usually use Sports Tracks, but it doesn’t appear that supports macs.
While I don’t have a mac, but it does look like Garmin has at least GTC (Garmin Training Center) for Mac (which is free):
link to www8.garmin.com
Also – after checking out this page:
link to forums.motionbased.com
It looks like some folks are happy with: link to montebellosoftware.com looks pretty cool and works on a Mac.
Hope this helps!
On pictures of the 305 i see that the heartrate is displayed realy small. Can the 305 be configured so that the heartrate is displayed in one of de 4 bigger displayfields ?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, you can arrange it a number of ways. The most common one I do for races is a three-field display where I put the HR up top taking up the entire top half of the screen, and then down below two little boxes showing distances/pace.
Hope this helps!
I like your write-up, very helpful in getting used to my new Forerunner.
You mentioned a ZIP file of about 100 DC bike routes in KML format… can you post it or provide a link? I want to explore the bicycle trails in Google Earth because I’m relatively new to biking in the DC area.
I’ve had my 305 for 2 years and also love it. Two questions:
1) In my experience, the elevation data is pretty much inaccurate (gain/loss on a ride); I’ve exported my routes to Google Earth but can’t seem to figure out how to get Google Earth to tell me what the elevation change was on the route — any way of doing that?
2) Is there a way to show average pace on a lap? I do tempo workouts with it and would love to see pace for a split, but can only seem to get it to show average pace for the total run. I’ve gone through the potential categories and even the obvious ones (pace: lap average) don’t seem to give the right data….
Thanks – great post, as always!
Can the Forerunner 305 be used as a watch also? In other words, does it show the time of day on it?
Yup, the 305 can display ‘Time of day’ as one of the data fields you can add to the watch. So if you wanted to you could make one of the three rotating screens show just time of day, or show time of day and any other parameter.
Hope this helps!
RE: Bike Routes KML file –
Here’s the zip file with all the bike routes in DC. I’m not sure where I got it from, so I can’t take credit for it and apologize to whomever originally created it.
link to sites.google.com
RE: Jilani’s questions:
1) Elevation – Indeed, the 305 uses GPS elevation as opposed to barometric, such as the 705 does. As such, smaller deviations in elevation tend to be over-rated, whereas larger differentiations (like a mountain) are more accurate. I use Sports Tracks and the Sports Tracks elevation plugin to correct all elevation with NASA’s elevation data – much more accurate and generally dead on. As for Goggle Earth, I’m not sure on how to do that exactly.
2) Lap Pace – It’s odd that it’s not showing correctly for you. I use it all the time in races and on the track to judge pacing per lap for tempo’s, etc.. Do you have auto-lap set by chance, that might mess with it (as it would autolap every mile).
Hope this helps!
too bad that 2.9 firmware update fried my 305! At least Garmin is replacing it…
Nice review. Your blog is primarily why I decided to go with the 305. I do have a question about the 305 and SportTRacks. On occasion I do use the 305 as a “stopwatch” when doing indoor pool swims. Pretty much put it on “Other” setting then hit start when I begin swimming and stop when I’m done.
Problem is SportTraks doesnt seem to be uploading any data from things recorded as “Other”
Do you have a work around for this?
Great blog Rainmaker,
I’ve purchased the 305 on your rec and have enjoyed the functionability and data analysis for multi-sports (and of course, the price can’t be beat right now). I am planning to get my wife one so that she can use it training for the NYC marathon.
Question: Does SportTracks have the ability to share data amongst “friends”? This would be great to interact with my cohorts during training. Thanks for the reply – cheers.
Hi Anon and Brandon-
Re: Using it as a stopwatch.
I don’t have any issues uploading these ‘blank’ files, do they showup in your list of events available to import? If they do, then from there you need to change to the splits view, and then change the dropdown to ‘Recorded Laps/Splits’, to show your splits versus the standard mile/km view. Hope this helps some! Also, one thing you may want to try on the 305 is turning off the GPS when indoors (under settings).
Re: Sharing with friends
With Sports Tracks you can export out Fitlog files, but that’s kinda cumbersome and really not a solid solution. A better one that a friend mentioned is to use RunSaturday.com, which has a Sports Tracks plugin that apparnetly auto-exports out to a website where you can then share them amongst friends. Here’s the link to the Sports Tracks plugin:
link to zonefivesoftware.com
great review (the 305 and 405). i appreciate our time in putting these together, along with your insight.
Thank you so much for this review. I just bought my Garmin 305, and it’s currently in the cradle charging. I’m getting more and more excited about all of the things I’ll be able to do with it.
DCR – Great review. I have borrowed a neighbors for my last two runs, including a 9-miler on a trail that I have never been on before and really does not have any markers. I was heavily considering buying one, and your blog put me over the top. He had only showed me how you use it real quick, but I had no idea about all the features until reading your notes. Thanks!! (my wife might not thank you after I spend the money, but I’ll bet she uses it)
Great review. I use my Garmin 305 during a spin class at the gym. I set the option for indoor use. I like to use the time, HR BPM, and HR Zone. However, I do not get Calories burned. Can the Garmin 305 be used indoors and still get Calories burned?
thx for the great review, I’m discovering all the posibilities of my new 30, but I was wondering which plugin/little program you exactly use to be able to use google earth offline?
Are there other plugins you use in google earth?
I have had the Garmin 305 for about two years. Two weeks ago the off button stopped working. When I stopped after a skate, the unit then constantly cycled through all of the display fields and continuously beeped. The watch would not turn off so I had to wait until the battery ran out. I recharged it fully and used it again. The same thing happened. I updated my software from 2.8 to 2.9 and now it seems tobe working again.
I got the Garmin 305 for Fathers Day ’09 and have used it 12-14 runs and so far it is awesome. Im still learning all the different things that can be done with this model. I have the heart rate monitor as well and plan on getting the pedaling accessory. Dont know how accurate the calories burned is but the GPS mileage is almost right on when tested with the car and truck odometer. So many options that Im still a beginner, but would highly recommend this to anyone, my brother recommended it to me.
Google Earth automatically caches the areas you use most, up to a specified MB amount that you can configure in the options. Also, Sports Tracks will cache Google Earth imagery as well – making it perfect for long plane flights where you want to reivew your workouts. The only other major plugin I use for Sports Tracks is the Elevation Correction plugin, which automatically corrects the 305’s less than perfect elevation data to known good elevation data from NASA. Both are available on the Zone Five Software (maker of Sports Tracks) site in the forums, and both are free (just like Sports Tracks).
Hope this helps!
I’m using a 305 and organizing a local hiking group, for which I would like to produce topo-overlaid GPS tracks of hikes.
How do you produce clean tracks that export nicely into Google Earth? Do you create a route on the 305, or just use the start/stop buttons to initiate a new route? How about adding points of interest along the way – waypoints during your trip, on the GPS, or POI markers in the software?
Finally, have you any experience on using topographic map overlays – through Garmin Connect, Google Maps (not Earth), or other? The idea is to make it accessible and printable over the internet to anyone, not just someone who has and knows how to use certain software…
dc, thanks so much for your review. it was a major factor in my decision to purchase.
After just one run, I am sold on this thing – love it to death…
link to williamsfamilyweekender.blogspot.com
Roundup answers to questions:
Ted on Producing pretty tracks-
I use Sports Tracks for importing virtually everything. From there it just shows me the satellite view in the mapping window. But it also has a button for exporting to Google Earth, which I use. I don’t tend to do POI markers along the way. For new routes, I generally just create a new ‘activity’ using the start/stop buttons. Though sometimes I also do laps for certain things (like long chunks of a ride). Sports Tracks also has the ability to splice (or combine) two files together, so I tend to focus on doing it on the software side as much as possible. The one catch is the current version as of this writing of ST doesn’t support activities with more than 24 hours, so you’ll have to use either Garmin Connect, GTC or Training Peaks to export those initially. 🙁
I haven’t done much with topos from a hiking perspective. Most of my Topos are more elevation charts for a route/ride. For that I use Sports Tracks mainly, though sometimes if I want to share an interactive version, I’ll use Garmin Connect (which is internet friendly). MapMyFitness is also a good way of sharing it, as you can see the elevation diagrams easily.
Jason – Glad you’re enjoying it!
I just got the Speed and cadence sensor, installed it and it seems to work right. I was just wondering if you knew, when riding outside is the speed determined by the GPS or does it still use the magnet on the wheel? If it uses the GPS is this the auto default or is their something I need to set for it to make sure it does this?
I have the 405, but have been frustrated with many of it’s features and have been trying out a friend’s 305 to compare the two. I’m liking all the great features of the 305 vs the 405 except the screen is so much clearer, crisper and easier to read on the 405 than the 305. I’m wondering if you’ve noticed that or if my friend’s 305 is just a fluke in it’s darker dimmer screen. I have adjusted the contrast settings, but the 405 still is much easier to see while running.
Also wondering if the GPS keeps running the whole time the watch is turned on with the 305 whereas I know with the 405 it goes into some sort of power save mode.
feelin’ like a kid in his first day of a new school
so much to learn
This comment has been removed by the author.
Great review, I’ve been wanting this watch for about a month now and would really like to get it, I just have a couple problems. First off I’m only 15 (but I run 50-60 miles a week) and my mom thinks that with the size it will be too big for me and get in the way. Second I have an Apple computer and a lot of software doesn’t work with Apple computers and I was just wondering if this software is compatible with Apple.
Hornsfan – Re: Speed determined by GPS or sensor
The speed is determined by the GPS unit, unless signal is lost. For example, if you go through a tunnel it’ll use the cadence/speed sensor until reception is resumed. By default it uses the GPS, though you can turn off the GPS if you wish under the System Settings option. I do that whenever I’m on a trainer (either indoors or outside), so it correctly records the speed/distance.
Anon: Re: 405 vs 305 screens
Yes, the 405’s screen is a bit crisper. Though, from a darkness standpoint I find them about the same, just different colors of backlights. From my initial testing, the 310XT excedds the 305 in the darkness brightness testing, fwiw.
Andrew: Re: Size of watch
My girlfriend is pretty small – and she doesn’t have any issues using the soft strap (part of the bike mount kit). Though, in the box there is a secondary wrist strap that’s for smaller wrists. I don’t think you’ll find it gets in the way physically, I find that most people get used to it about 2 minutes into thier run. Kinda funny that way.
For the mac software, I updated the software section to include information about Apple-compatible programs outside of what Garmin provides (which is Apple-compatible).
Great review! I bought the 305 last month and love it! I was all set to go for a run on Saturday and the HRM would not communicate. I assume it was from a dead battery even though I only wore it for 66 miles over 12 hours or so. Is this normal battery life for the HRM?
Yes, the 305 has a battery life of about 10 hours before it needs recharging (10 hours of use). I usually just leave it on the cradle when I download my workouts, and I also have the little wall charge near my running stuff, so it’s easy to simply leave plugged in. The 310XT has about a 20 hour battery life.
Hope this helps!
Awesome review..spent the last few hours reading your site…so much info
I decided on a 305 but my cousin sent me this link….and now its got me thinking !!
What ya reckon ?
link to techradar.com
Okay I know you reccomend SportTracks over GTC. Have you figured out how to set ST to show swim pace for swimming activites of min/per 100 yards?
Hi! I decided to buy a 305 but while I was looking for a good offer in eBay, I read that the 305 built-in battery is Garmin proprietary and cannot be replaced. A user said that in his battery died after 2 years, and his 305 with it 🙁 Do you confirm this?
Since you seem to be pretty versed in the various Garmins, I wondered if you knew the answer to this. It seems that unlike the Edge 705, with the FR 305 you can’t easily import a “route” (gpx file via Navigation > Saved Routes menu) and follow the step by step instructions. Any history files must be converted to crs or tcx “course” files, then imported via GC and run from the Training > Courses menu. This gives you the little man to run against, the compass, etc. but does not give you step by step “turn onto X road in 200m” instructions, correct?
The 705 has both Routes and Courses (the former having step by step instructions before the fact, the latter only telling you when you’re off-route). How does the 305 work in that sense? Is there even an option for step by step route navigation? I’ve tried with GPSies, Sport Tracks, GC, etc. to import a GPX file into the 305 such that I have directions for the route, but every time it forces me to create a course file instead, which is useless unless you know the route well already (or so it would seem?)
Nice review by the way. Thanks for all the hard work!
This review supported me in choosing the Garmin305. Hope to receive it from Amazon somewhere next week.
I understand that the 305s default is to use the GPS to measure speed instead of speed cadence sensor. Have you found the GPS accurate enough? My experience has been that GPS is not as accurate as using a bike magnet and sensor.
BTW great review and I hope Garmin is paying you for selling all these 305s
Hey all – sorry for the delay, it’s been crazy busy the last few weeks with Ironman Canada, but now that everything’s calmed down…
Darren – RE: GPS satellites going
-Nothing to worry about there, just typical media over-reaction on a non-issue.
Hornsfan – Re: Setting Sports Tracks to do min/per 100 yards
-This is a very common request for the Sports Tracks folks, check out this thread on the forums:
Giuseppe – Re: Garmin 305 battery
– Indeed, the battery is fully integrated and not replaceable. That said, I haven’t had any issues with the battery in mine dying yet – though when I’ve had other issues Garmin has been more than happy to fix it right away.
Maryka – Re: Courses and Workouts
Hmm, I don’t know – let me poke around a bit and get back to you on that one.
Perryenjulienne – Re: Review
Great to hear I could be of assistance.
Danny – Re: GPS speed vs cadence sensor
I find it very accurate on the bike. The only places I tend to see differences is on the run while going around a track – mostly because of the corners. I’d be interested if the bike magenet/sensor in a straight and perfectly measured course (straight road) would measure out exactly a mile, or if the Garmin would be more accurate? And nope, Garmin’s not paying me anything. I just simply write them up because I’m interested in the technology (and I’m a geek at heart).
Hopefully I’m all caught up now on questions. Thanks everyone!
Glad to hear you found it accurate. I just received my 305 from Amazon yesterday. On a bike it is important for me to have accurate speed and distance info so I will be doing some testing with it on my bikes to compare it with my currant (none GPS) bike computer. It will take me a couple weeks because I will going out if town for a while on business but I will let you know what I find out.
Thanks for the great review. I’ve noticed that you said that Sports tracks is the way to go as far as software. I was wondering if you can program advanced workouts and them upload them to the 305 from there? Or if GTC is still the way to make advanced workouts? thanks
Brian, SportTracks has a plugin called Garmin Fitness that you can download and it works exactly like GTC (create and save workouts to your device). I actually never use GTC to set-up workouts because it annoyingly asks constantly to update my user profile (I use my 405, 705 and my boyfriend’s 305 interchangeably) so I just stick with the ST plugin and have it all in one place.
link to zonefivesoftware.com
Thank you for your reviews!! I understand that if you need to replace the battery on the 305 you have to return the watch back to Garmin at a charge. Do you know if the 310 battery can be replaced by the user or does it have to be returned to Garmin too? Do you know how much Garmin charges to replace the battery? Have you had to replace your battery over the last two plus years? Again, thank you for taking the time to share you knowledge and experience.
Bruce – RE: 305 battery replacement
The 305, 405/405CX and 310XT all have non-user replacable batteries. In fact, I’m not aware of any Garmin fitness devices that do have user replaceable batteries.
But, the good news here is that in the two years I’ve had my 305 I haven’t had to replace the battery. I thought I read somewhere it was good for 1,000 charges. Which basically means every day for three years. Obviously, at 10 hours for the 305, and 20 hours for the 310 – you’ll be charging less than that.
Now, to be fair – I’m not entirely sure if I’ve had a specific unit for two full years. Meaning, I killed one with water and electricity (long story) while on a Sea Kayaking trip – so I’m not sure if I got the same unit back.
Hi, yes very good review. I currently have a Polar and the thing that always annoyed me was the solid straps – they always felt like they wanted to fall down (and sometimes did). I use the HRM for cycling, running and soccer. I upgraded to the wearlink soft strap and it’s so much better, comfortable and doesn’t move. The Garmin appears to have the older style plastic strap, do you find this a problem? That strap is the only reason I haven’t swapped to a 305 yet. Thanks
Anon: Re Fabric Strap
Thanks! Yup, that’s why I use the fabric strap (part of the quick release kit) exclusively. I dislike the rubber strap that comes with it. But the fabric strap is relatively cheap price-wise, so it’s not bad.
Here’s the official Garmin link:
link to buy.garmin.com
And here’s the same thing on Amazon:
link to amazon.com
Excellent review on the 305. I ordered mine from Amazon and it should be here any day now!
My question is: How reliable is the quick release bike mount vs. using the strap/handle bar mount? I ordered the $8 one that looks like you just strap the device around it.
I liked the idea of the vecro quick release one better but there were some bad reviews of it flying of the bike (which I can’t afford to have happen)
What is your opinion between the two?
Of course the 310XT has a FAR better bike mount and the engineer in me wants to modify it to fit the 305! Perhaps some cutting and a piece of 3M industrial double sided tape to hold the locking mount to the bottom of the device?)
Hi Again, Nick from NZ. When I was talking about the plastic strap being uncomfortable I mean the HRM strap around my chest, not the wrist strap (which is what the part you referred to is). So do you find the HRM strap uncomfortable etc. Does anyone know if Garmin or a 3rd party makes something as comfortable as the wearlink strap or clothing available for the Polars? Cheers
Yes, sorry – regarding the HRM strap itself – Garmin’s newest one that comes with the 310XT rocks. The good news is you can buy it seperately and it works with the 305 (in fact, I used it tonight with my 305 for my long run). I detailed it out quite a bit here in the accessories section:
link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com
Just got my 305 and set it up.
I went for a quick 2 mile hike and it had no problems aquiring sats (took only 20 sec, even indoors)
Love Sport tracks. I’m hooking up the bike tonight and test riding tomorrow.
Wow, what a cool device. Just what I needed to motivate me to work out more.
Thanks for the incredibly helpful review! I have an Edge 305 for cycling and wanted to get a Garmin for my wife (runner). We’re on a budget so the Forerunner 305 made more sense. She’s out on her first run with it right now.
For those with Mac’s, I’ve found that MapMyFitness.com works pretty well. If you hate the ads (like me) use Firefox with Adblock Plus 🙂
Too bad SportTracks isn’t Mac compatible 🙁
Does anyone know if this watch tells you calories burned at the end of a run?
I’d be using this watch for two things: 1) to track distance during runs and 2) to use it as a heartrate monitor during workouts… and monitor how many calories I’ve burned.
Would this watch work, or is there something else you’d recommend?
Re: Using the watch to track distance and HR, and calories.
Yup – this is exactly what the Garmin 305 excels at. It can do all of those, though there is some debate as to the accuracy of the calorie counting technology. I tend to be of the opinion that as long as you’re being realistic about calorie intake/output, then everything works out in the wash anyway.
I use my 305 to do all of the items you mentioned, and do tons of HR training with it (in fact, all my training is HR-based).
You’re better than any “official” review! I need a suggestion: I live in italy and here the 310xt costs 320€ and the 305 costs 180€. For this principal reason (I use to run and i am a mountain bike starter so I would like to improve both) I would go for the 305. But looking in internet I’ve found the 310xt at 230€ but from israel or anyway I found a lot of cheaper offer out of Italy. My question is: do you think that the international warranty would create to me some problems in case of break or foult (garmin Italy accepts only Italian warranty, I’ve heard). Do you think I should go for the 310 bought abroad.
Thanks a lot, you’re the best!
Hello, I just read through your comments and think its great that you’ve provided this information. In fact, I’ve just ordered my 305 today and should expect it in a few weeks. I signed up to do a half-marathon in February so my main focus will be to use it for recording distances while running. My question is this, I’m currently living in Europe for another 9 weeks, will the 305 accurately record distance in Europe? I know that is probably a silly question but I was just curious. Thanks.
Does the 305 keep a running average for pace on a run? As in will it display the true combined average of previous miles, or does it only show current pace?
Regardless, I just ordered mine, expecting it in wednesday to replace my year old Garmin 50 that I bought for my first 1/2 back in March. Doing Rock n Roll San Antonio for my first full marathon now, and I wanted the GPS unit so I can accurately track paces now that I am getting more goal oriented and serious about my running. The Garmin 50 was a fine beginner’s unit, but it’s just too inaccurate for real training purposes and racing, IMO.
RE: Picking up 305 in Italy vs Israel.
While I can’t comment specifically on how either Garmin Italy or Garmin Israel would work, I can comment on Garmin USA. I actually picked up one of my Garmin 305’s while in Dubai after killing my first unit there. Given I was on a multi-week trip, I needed it for a variety of reasons (not all just training actually). So I went ahead and purchased on there. When I got back to the US, I send in my US-made unit to get repaired. A few weeks later the Dubai unit was acting weird (not charging correctly). The US Garmin folks were more than happy to not only fix the unit, but also to send me back a US unit instead of a Dubai unit. Technically they were the same, but somewhere on the backend they are tagged different. Anyway, just my two cents on that one.
RE: Recording accuretly in Europe
Yup, no issues at all. I’ve used mine all over the world (South Pacific, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, etc…) – Atlantic/Pacific Oceans, etc..
Folks have also used them successfully in portions of Antartica as well. So no problem at all. Above in the review you can see the route I tracked using the 305 on an airplane from the US to Europe.
RE: Average Pace
Yup, there are two options (well, actually a lot of options) to display pace. But the key ones to consider are:
Current pace (Basically shows you your instanteous pace)
Average pace (shows you your average pace)
You can then set within that to display either lap or total (current/average as well). Lots of options here.
One thing I’ve been doing a lot lately is running with the Virtual Partner feature to do pacing for an upcoming race. This shows me how far ahead/behind I came for a given pace. Check out my 310XT review for a bit more detail on that. But I’ve been finding it surprisingly useful.
Thanks for the advice! Did you save some money picking it up in Dubai?
I have also another question that is a bit out theme: what do you think about the fr 60? I mean for running and mtb compared with the 305 and 310xt (for amateur use, i’ve never ran a marathon).
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Can you help me out? How do you use the Duracell My Pocket Charger with your 305? Thanks!
RE: My Duracell charger
Check out this post I did on using exactly that to go for 24+ hours using the charger:
link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com
RE: Dubai pricing and FR60
It was about the same, perhaps a hair cheaper than I was expecting though. As for the FR60, I haven’t played with one at all, so I really can’t say. Sorry!
Hey thanks for the quick reply!! I found your page doing a search and hadn’t looked at your other posts! This will come in great handy this weekend for a 12 hour hike. Thanks again.
I had a Pacemaker installed in July 2009 before I bought my Garmin 305. I cannot get the heart rate monitor to work. Talked with the Pacemaker mfg (Medtronic) and they said no problem. Talked with Garmin and they said no problem. Still won’t work. Do you have any suggestions how I might get this to work. I love the Garmin but bought it mostly for using the heart rate function for training.
RE: Pacemaker and Garmin 305
While I don’t have a pacemaker and can’t give you a definitive answer regarding the pairing – I have run into band issues before.
One thing to do is have someone else pair the HRM strap to the watch well outside the range for you. For example, have them to to the other side of the house – or just 50 yards down the street. Just have them wear the strap, pair it, and then turn off the watch (this commits the settings).
That said, I found one post where someone saw similiar issues at first with a Pacemaker, but then found it to be just a coincidence with the battery. Note that they had pre-paired it before the pacemaker (you can do the same with just a friend). While the below note is about the Edge 305 (cycling) – it’s the HR strap and same technology used in the Forerunner 305 – they are swappable between the two units.
link to aushiker.com
Hope this helps some!
I’ve been using a 305 for just over a year now, and since yesterday the beeping sounds are gone. At first only very weak alerts and finally no more sound alerts with interval training or when switching on the device. Have you ever expecienced that yourself of heard of it, and perhaps know of a cure to bring the sound alerts back?
Super review! Just ordered my own 305 and your site will come in very handy.
Very nice review.
I don’t know if you answered the question in one of the different posts.
You can actually display the speed in kmh-mph by changing the speed option. Change the option from “pace” to “Speed”. It is working not only for biking but also for running.
I read about the problem before. It is simply due to the fact that some water and sweat most probably went into the little holes at the bottom of the watch. Down these holes… the buzzers. They are now rusted and can’t operate.
You need to cover the holes – I used 2 little squares of strong tape. seems to do the job. some use silicon.
As far as the repairing, I saw some guys doing the repair (even replacing the battery) but it sounds like a delicate operation.
By the way, Costco Canada has the Garmin Forerunner 305 for $170 CAD.
Hi fellas. I just got my 305 a few weeks ago and u sed it in a marathon just a week ago. The course we were on was certified (rock and roll san antonio), but the watch showed 26.53 miles. What is even more odd, is that my sister in law’s 310xt also showed the exact same mileage. I seriously doubt we hit the EXACT same line all 26 miles 🙂 Not too worried but something to note…
Thank you very much for your excellent review and contribution for a perfect understanding about the Forerunner 305 and all its interfaces.
I recently bought one 305 and this article was a precious help in order to become more familiar with it!!
Love this blogspot on the Garmin 305. Fantastic detail!!! Just ordered mine 2 days ago. Cant wait.
Any tips on how to use the HRM to improve my fitness as it will be my first time using one.
Nice page. Got a lot of useful information out of it.
Re: Garmin Measuring Long
Hey Keith – more than likely you ran a similiar line, which probably was a bit long.
Check out this post on how lines are measured – it talks to exactly what you described:
RE: Using HRM to improve fitness
There’s a few websites out there that will help you find general ranges. These are primarily based on resting heart rate and age – which are still pretty much the most valid ways to figure out a heart rate zone. Having VO2MAX type testing helps a bit as well, but isn’t really that critical.
link to fitzones.com
link to runningforfitness.org
Both of the above are geared more towards running – which is both good and bad. That’s because HR zones aren’t equal. A run HR zone isn’t the same as a bike zone, usually the bike is a bit lower (about 7 bpm lower for me), which…is where some of the books below help to clarify things a bit. There are a ton of great books that are super cheap on Amazon for training with HR information. I have this one on my shelf (only $10):
link to amazon.com
And this one is considered the god-father of triathlon training ($16):
link to amazon.com
I have the previous edition in my book case. The latest edition just came out this past winter. He goes into incredible detail on how to apply HR training, and then how to really craft it into a full training plan.
Hopefully these will help a bit.
Thanks for the comments, I appreciate them! And glad you found it helpful.
Thanx for the answer to previous question !!
i have one more for you !!
can 310XT be used as regular watch?? time/date/alarm/etc
in 310XT , if i want to use it as a watch to just see the time/date and switch off the GPS, how long does it work with single full charge??
Ray: Does the 305 work well when you run in the rain? Thanks for this awesome review.
Yes, the 305 works well for me in the rain. I am only a runner, and I have used mine several times in everything from a light mist to a steady rain. No issues. Just keep the contacts clean on the back, wipe them down after a run to get rid of water and/or sweat.
Excellent Review, Thank you very much!
I don’t usually post comments on random blogs, and I don’t usually READ random blogs, but was searching for information on using this for cycling and came across your review. THANK YOU for taking the time to write this review. I was having a difficult time finding answers to all the questions I had, especially in using this device while cycling, and all of them were answered on your blog. Thanks!
Wow, I’ve just found this post. What a repository of information! I’m going to go through and read some of your other Garmin related posts as well.
I’ve had my 305 for around a year and a half. Perhaps it’s just my part of the world (Wellington, New Zealand), but I find that it won’t latch onto satellites if I’m in the middle of the city. I have, through trial and error, found the closest locations on the edge of the CBD where I can latch on. I certainly don’t think it would find any satellites inside. It sometimes has difficulties when I’m in the middle of thick bush here. Now I’m wondering whether there’s something wrong with the GPS function. The heart rate monitor died a few months ago as well. I had already found, however, that the chest strap had stretched to the point that it kept falling down, so I wasn’t using it.
Other than those two issues I love my Garmin and am looking forward to getting more use out of it thanks to your knowledge!
RE: Working in the rain
Yes, it works just fine in the rain. No issues at all. Do note that if you get salt water on it (such as swimming with it), you’ll want to rinse it off and dry the contacts so they don’t rust.
RE: Odd readings.
Yes, it indeed does sound like something is amiss there. The good news is that Garmin’s support is really pretty good, and I’ve heard from other folks Down Under that the response for fixing it is quick.
my 305 keep shutting down without notice… I feel the battery is dying… I have had it for 2 years; do you know what’s the regular lifetime of a 305?
Fun stuff anyway.
I found this article very useful. I would like to take my data from my 305 and be able to post it on my website. Is there an easy way to do this? I basically just want to show mapped routes that I’ve run and wasn’t sure if I could upload files to my blog or if I needed to use screen capture. Any tips are appreciated. Thanks!
Had the Forerunner 305 since christmas eve, and it is amazing! Such a thrill to use it when running, and can’t wait for the snow to melt and MTB seasonto start! 8-D
Well, just one question – I’ve noticed that the Garmin uses % of HRMax, and i’ve seen quite a lot of discussions on whether it’s best to use this of % of HRReserve.
What’s your opinions and experiences with this?
RE: %HRMaxvs %HRReserve
I haven’t played around too much with using either. Instead I focus on specific HR zone (i.e. 146-156) and then depending on the workout I try and stay withint eh applicable zone(s). Sorry!
RE: Battery lifetime
I haven’t seen any mention of how long the battery lasts on the 305 – though for some reason 1,000 charges is in my head somewhere. If it’s shutting down without notice, that may actually be something else. I’ve seen a similiar issue if you get water inside it (prolonged exposure). I’d see what the warranty repair cost might be (more than a year), though, with the 305 often found for about $120, it may be cheaper to buy a new one. :-/
RE: Data from 305 to website:
Yes and no. I generally just use either Sports Tracks or Gamrin Connect to show routes/data, and then from there just take screenshots (usually using the Windows Snipping Tool). Though, Sports Tracks can export out a web page for uploading to a site (though not ideal for blogs). It can also export out JPG images of routes/activities, etc…which is best for uploading. Here’s my Sports Tracks Top 10:
link to dcrainmaker.blogspot.com
Thanks for this great review.
Just have my 305 days ago, not yet familiar with all the functions. I already tried the Auto Lap. I don’t find any instructions from the manual on how to recall your lap. Is 305 capable of lap recall? How?
Hi Bong from Japan-
Re: Lap Recall
Yes, while in history on the device you can pull up individual laps. Also, once downloaded to a computer you can quickly and easily look at all recorded laps (either those recorded by autolap, or those recorded manually).
For fellow mac users give Trail Runner a try. It sounds similar to Sports Tracker: link to trailrunnerx.com. It’s worked quite well for me so far.
love the review!
Is the battery supposed to stay charged while the 305 is turned off? I just bought a new 305 two months ago and I noticed that if I do not use it for a while, a fully charged battery runs out in 3-4 days, while the watch is turned off. Is that normal?
RE: Battery holding charge
No, that’s not normal. Mine will easily go weeks without use and still hold a fairly significant portion of the charge without use, and it’s almost 2 years old now. If it’s still under warranty, I’d give Garmin a ring and have them swap it out.
Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for the prompt reply Rainmaker. Also thanks for the super great review. Garmin should put you on their payroll :-).
nice work man
can you tell me if the battery as”life” i mean can i replace it when it stops recharging
Recently sold my Polars and bought a 305 after a very frustrating season with the 625x. So far so good. One question, I run in the early morning while still dark. Any way to keep the back light on during the whole run instead of pressing the on/off key every few minutes to see pace/hr? Thanks-this is a great site. Helped me to make the choice to go 305.
RE: Battery replacement
The 305 (and FR60/405/310XT) all contain a non user-replaceable battery. If it stops charging you’ll have to send it in to Gamrin support for replacement.
RE: Backlight on
Yup, you can change the backlight to stay on permanently. Just go into the light settings menu and choose the option that says “Stays on”, which will keep the light on, until you turn it off. That’s how I have mine – so I just have to glance down and not press anything.
Hi Rainmaker. Thanks for the info. Quick question. Would you recommend using the Garmin software that comes with the 305 or is there another program you’d recommend? I apologize if you already answered this (I’m kind of in a hurry and want to get to bed, haha.) Thank you.
RE: Which software to use
I’d use Sport Tracks and Garmin Connect. Garmin Connect is great for simple tasks, but Sport Tracks has tons of detailed analysis options and features. Good luck!
Thanks for all your information. I just got my Garmin 305 with cadence last night. I hooked up the cadence monitor on my bike and went to accessories restart scan. Then I pushed the button on the cadence sensor and spun the pedal. The light showed green and red like it should. After 30 seconds it only showed red. Then stopped showing any lights. I continued to pedal. I had the same situation with my wife’s. We bought two of the same. How do I know the cadence is connected? Also after it is how do I get a display to show the cadence. Your help is greatly appreciated. Also with that Garmin arm to get close the wheel sensor should that be rising up from the mount of going down. I have it going up but I see in your picture it is going down. Thanks.
RE: Cadence Display
It sounds like you are doing everything correctly. What you’ll want to do is add the Cadence data field to the display. That’s in the options for ‘Data fields’, and then just add cadence. You’ll then be able to see that information on the display, as it won’t show up automatically.
As for whether it’s up or do – it just depends on how far from the spokes it is. In my case with my particular tri bike, it’s a very tight fit, so it’s fully in the down position.
I’ve been using my 305 for over a year for all tri training, including my 2-mile ocean swims.
In the water, I wear double swim caps, with the 305 between them (no plastic bag). I use no other protection for the 305. A few other tips:
1. The 305 is very water resistant (it takes a dunking without a problem), but it is not resistant to forced water, such as rain directly hitting the face. So avoid splashing around the 305.
2. The metal contacts do get deposits on them that can generally be removed with a moist cloth. If anything remains, a pencil eraser works well.
3. The plastic over the buttons may crack with age. NEVER press any buttons when the 305 is wet. In a race, after exiting the water I remove my outer cap to get at the 305, and a simple shake is all that’s needed to remove the water, so I’m ready to press LAP when I reach the timing mat.
4. The transition time information is indeed present in the 305 data, but for some reason the Garmin software doesn’t correctly use it. Other software finds the transitions just fine.
Great site and information. I have one question. How would I go about calibrating my footpod to my 305 using the GPS?
Thank you for all the great work.
RE: Calibration of footpod to GPS
There’s an option when you go into calibrate the foot pod to run a set distance, which then uses the GPS to determine that distance. It only takes a moment (well, actually, however many moments it takes you to run half a mile…). 🙂
I just purchased my first gps and it’s the Garmin Forerunner 305. Thanks for making your information easy to use! But being new to this do you have (or is there a site where I can go) for some fast steps to getting started. Right now I’m a walker / hiker and want to get started quick.
Where is that elevation grafh on st hiding?
RE: Quick Start Guide
I don’t have a good quick start guide unfortunately, just a lot of semi-detailed information. Putting together such guides is something I have considered though.
RE: Elevation graph
The elevation graph is visible by clicking the little ‘Down arrow’ dropdown menu in the middle of the screen, it will show things like ‘Workout’ and ‘Elevation’, among other items. Good luck!
Thanks for the great review. I’ve finally decided to purchase one of these to help train for the Ottawa Race Weekend 10K. I’ve never run anything close to that distance (I think about 6K is my current max), so I’m going to be training for the next 50 or so days, and I’m hoping this watch will help.
I found a great price for Canadian shoppers, at gpscity.ca which is located in Calgary. Only $159.99. With shipping as low as $10.
With next day shipping, it was only $190, taxes in.
link to gpscity.ca
Hope this helps anyone in Canada looking for a great price.
Once again, thanks for the great review.
in the review :
Using it while on the run….
Like most running watches (GPS or foot pod), it will give you pace as you go along. If you’re in ‘run’ mode, it will show it to you in minutes per mile (or KM per mile)
It’s not KM per mile but minutes per KM.
Any idea if you can have 2 of these side by side with the heart rate monitors working independently? Thanks
RE: Wording error
Sorry about that, amazing nobody has noticed yet! I’ll get it fixed here shortly, I have to reformat some tables here this week, so I’ll roll it into that.
RE: Two units side by side
No issues at all. All Garmin accessories are paired using a unique ID, so you can use as many units as you’d like, without any interference. It’s funny, at big races like Ironman’s or the Boston Marathon, virtually everyone has one. 🙂
Hi, a newbie here, just got my 305, charged up fine and my first test-ride syncs into Garmin Training Center and Sport Tracks fine. BUT – does it have to load Garmin Training Center every time I plug in the unit? Does Sport Tracks need the GTC to load (as it did when I synced in Sport tracks, GTC opened up automatically)? And finaly, why does GTC every time ask me “the profile in the unit is not the same as in the computer – which do you want to keep?” when I haven’t changed anything since several syncs ago – does it not save the changes it makes? THANKS for your great site, these gadgets are so full of detaisl, it’s like a fractal thing . . . teh closer you look the more complex it is . . .
Hi Rainmaker. Firstly, what an impressive page on one product, you clearly love this unit and if Garmin haven’t sent you a few freebies for the spruiking, then it is about time they did. I will personally email them and recommend it because you’ve sold me on this awesome looking GPS training/tracking unit. So many people start a review page like this and never go back to check it, but you’ve made such a great effort to answer people and help them out. Great Job!
Mat from downunder.
Yeah, I was bummed that the past couple versions of Mac OS X didn’t support the 305. I’ve had this watch since I purchased it new in January of 2007 and want to keep using it so am lucky my wife uses Windows 10 for medical charting. Shelved the watch for a couple years before I realized it worked with Windows. I also just realized I can change the Data Recording option from Smart Recording to 1 second. Took me 12 years to realize that but better later than ever! Takes a bit longer than my Vivoactive 1 to get satellites, but I just leave it outside for a few minutes before my run. Problem solved!
Wow…. I honestly am surprised someone still used this watch. My guess is you still do for the nostalgia more then the capabilities of the watch itself. I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.
RE: GTC auto-loading
Nope, you can turn that off, which is what I do. You can also simply un-install GTC altogether if you’d like, and just use Sport Tracks. As long as the USB drivers are present, then ST will work just fine.
As for the profile issue…it’s mostly because GTC is…umm…special. 🙂
Hi Mat from downunder
Hey, I think this is a pretty good review you have here. I have a 305 and this site has been really helpful. I noticed though when I see my routes on any of the maps that it is off by maybe 20-30ft. Do you know if there is any way I can correct it so it is in the right location?
RE: Moving GPS Tracks
You can use Sport Tracks to edit the track, but it’s a very labour intensive operation, and is more likely to actually cause issues with your pace data than anything else. The other thing to keep in mind is that in some cases the GPS unit is correctly tagging the points, but that the map (satellite) data is slightly off centered. The whole process on how they tie coordinates together is pretty interesting, but it’s also somewhat complex.
Hi Rainmaker – So I’m slowly figuring out my new 305 which works fine . . . I have not been able to find out on the the Garmin Support website how to tell GTC NOT to auto load – it does not seem to be on the User menu, there are no Preferences I can find, and it’s not in the Help in GTC – google was no help – you said this was what you did, but how, do you remember? thanks
RE: GTC automatically starting
This is controlled via gStart.exe, a small taskbar application that runs and automatically opens up GTC when the FR305 is connected. It’s normally locatd at C:\Garmin\gStart.exe, which…you could just rename…to something like gStartNoStart.exe and that’ll solve it. 😉
Or you can go to Start > Run and type ‘msconfig’ and then click on the Startup Tab and deselect ‘Gstart.exe’ from the list. Simple as that.
For those with ANT+ wireless devices (FR405/310XT/FR60), you can simply select not to open GTC in the ANT Agent control panel.
Hope this helps!
Bike Mounting Question. Do you use the Alternative bike mount kit or the Quick Release bike mount kit to lock down your 305?
I use the quick release mount for the 305. Works great!
Wow – great review !!!!
On the Biking Mode:
I am planning to tranfer my wireless Cateye to my wife’s bike, just in case, does 305 has a programable odometer like the typical cyclocomputer for biking.
I do not want to loose my hard earned “km/mile”…
The Forerunner 305 sorta has a odometer function. In history you can show history for just the bike portion, and it gives total miles – but you can’t tweak it or add additiona miles as a baseline. I find though that with these devices it’s pretty much all stored online (or on your computer with an application like Sport Tracks) – so you can super easily check exactly how many miles thus far, and really dig deep into the stats.
Hope this does not sound a silly question! If I buy the 305 from the UK and use the watch in Cape Town South Africa – it will work just as well. meaning I will be able to download all the maps etc.
Many thanks Adam
RE: Using in other countries
Yup, no problems there at all. I routeinly use mine all over the world – including both the UK and South Africa (and Kenya and Singapore and Japan and Italy and UAE and Indonesia and Canada and….). Enjoy!
Saw in the comments that you are changing your opinion about the virtual partner.
The most useful part of the virtual partner to me is that with a quick glance I can tell if I am ahead (light background) or behind (dark background) on my desired pace. With less-than perfect eyesight combined with sweat and fatigue, that dark vs light is pretty valuable.
after 4 months of use must say that i am very disappointed
now i know that there is about 10% error on the distance
tha elevation realy bad even with elevation correction
cant see %max hr during workout just zones
RE: Virtual Partner
Inded, over the last year I’m actually starting to use it more and more for very specific items – not all the time, but on occasion. Agree completely with the dark/light – makes it super easy to see if I’m in trouble.
RE: Data errors
10%? That’s a lot. I’ve never heard of anyone being that far off. I’ve had many races where the accuracy is astoundingly close (within a few hundred meters over dozens of miles). I’d highly recommend getting in touch with Garmin support and getting the unit swapped out.
The elevation is a bit rougher because it’s GPS based elevation, but using elevation correction online should be pretty near exact. If elevation corretion is off, it sounds like that may be a symptom of your first issue with incorrect coordinates or points, as elevation correction is based on NASA radar readings which are pretty darn accurate.
Thanks alot for your awesome reviews. After 3 years, my 205 bit the dust (unless I can fix it) and decided to upgrade to the 305. I used the link so you get some Amazon love.
Hope your injury heals quick!
Blog is awesome. Bought my 305 last Sat and have logged 4 activities and use SportTracks per your recommendation. Much better than GTCenter.
Having a problem with the map. Ever seen an issue like the screen shot? Map just wont fill in.
link to dl.dropbox.com
I have a few other PC mapping programs with plug-ins to Google Earth and I’m wondering if I have a conflict.
Thanks again for all the info.
This is an amazing review…you should give up your day job and officially start charging companies for writing reviews on their technical products.
I have a questions. I have just started running and lost approx. 42 pounds in 105 days. However I run internally in a Gym and use the Polar HRM with watches that they provide in the GYM. It is used for running on the treadmill and also for training like foing Planks, Pushups, Lunges etc. The main things measured are Distance, Hear rate, average Heart rate, maximum heart rate and most important for me is Calories.
I am tired of using other peoples stinky and sweaty HRMs (eventhough I wash them everytime), THEREFORE, if I want to use it internally for my training and running on the treadmill, how effective is the 305 for the things I have to measure (especially if I don’t want to spend money on a foot pad for now).
Thanks for ur help.
Hi!I will be in Antarctica this year in Dry Valleys and next year in East Antarctica. Could you please let me know whether this unit will work? I need it to track while walking on ice…Thanks
RE: ST satellite spottyness.
There was an issue a while back with some of the older version of Sport Tracks where the API it was using to pull the imagery from Google Earth was hitting up against a Google Maps limit, but I beleive that has changed in the latest versions. I’d try updating to the latest version, and if that fails – the Sport Tracks forums are awesome for some of the detailed troubleshooting of the issues (just off of their website).
First off, huge congrats on losing 42 pounds in just over 3 months – that’s awesome!
On the calorie front, the 305 is good, but not as good as some of the more recent options – like the FR60 and 310XT, as the calorie calculations have been significantly improved there. Once you’re in a running situation, then they’re all pretty good, but for what you’re doing, I’d look at one of the more recent watches that can specifically download the New Leaf profiles.
RE: Antartica marathon
Yup, the 305 does indeed work there based on the reports I’ve seen. Though, I’m not familiar with the exact region of Antartica you’re going to, I do know that where they run the Antartica Marathon, it does work. I would suggest that you find out from the guides if GPS devices work there. Because all devices work the same basic way, if any GPS devices work, then the 305 will work. Enjoy the trip!
Thanks for your comment. One more clarification. I beleive the FR60 does not have Heart rate-based calorie computation, is that correct? Also, if I need the watch / tool to assist with indoor treadmill type of training and other training like lunges, push ups etc, what would be the best watch i.e. is there a Polar model that could assist.
Thanks again for your help.
Hi Rainmaker! I have a question for you… I’m thinking about buying a fr305 and i wonder if i could use both GPS conection and cadence from foot pod to calculate my pace and distance. Can i switch from gps to foot pod at any time? I hope you understand what i mean (i don’t speak english very well).
Great review! you’re awesome, dude. I love your swim cap idea…
RE: HR-based calorie calculation in the FR60
The FR60 does indeed do HR based calorie calculation.
RE: GPS vs footpod distance
Yes, you can switch back and forth at any time through a simple menu. It’s super easy. Good luck!
Great review! One question – in Garmin Connect, is it possible to change a point on the Map? I accidentally started the timer after getting home from a run that was 30 miles from home…so now I have the run mapped at the actual location…but the “End Point” is at my house. (Hope that makes sense!)
RE: Changing Garmin Points
Unfortunately there isn’t a way to do this in Garmin Connect. Sucks, I know. But, you can do it in Sport Tracks (free), using the little over-ride option.
Thanks for the review. I am going to likely buy the 305 based upon your recommendation. I have one question for you that I believe was not addressed in previous posts or is stated in the manual. Does the 305 have the capability of storing multiple user profiles? My wife and I both plan on using it and it would be great if there was an easy transition from one user to the next. It would also be nice for integration on the PC and managing our training. Thanks for the help.
RE: Multiple users
It cannot unfortunately store different people, but rather only different bikes. Even the 310XT will only store one human, but still stores multiple bikes. 🙁
However, one of the things I note is that for me all of the real calculations are done after the fact in software on the computer anyways. So the only true difference that on-the-watch per human settings would change would be calories (based on weight and body type) and even those can be re-calculated after the fact.
You can have many different screens, so you can easily customize one set of screens per person and just seperate those out manually.
Hope this helps!
Fantastic site here! Love reading your stuff. Im wondering if the garmin 305 can record on the same route after being turned off.
Hike 1 day
turn it off over night
Hike 2nd day, recording to the same route as the first day.
Is this possible?
Also when you export from gtc to a gpx file and then open it in google maps, you can only get a giant view of the track. Do you know how to make it animate. i’m sure i had it animating like 2 months ago. Seems to be different now.
Any help in these areas would be much appreciated.
P.s – i use a mac
RE: Resuming routes
Yes, as long as you don’t ‘reset’ it, it will resume the same activity, even if turned off. It will create a new lap for that activity, but it’ll all be recorded as the same one.
In Garmin Connect, use the “Player’ feature to make it animate.
I’m thinking about purchasing a 305. How good is it for just providing GPS coordinates? How does the “Go to Location” function work? Lastly, do you think it might also be good for motorcycling? Thanks very much in advance!
RE: GPS Coordinates
It’ll show you GPS coordinates on the satellite display screen. The go-to location essentially gives you a little arrow and direction to follow, basically like navigating with a compass. I actually used it today for a ride, works great.
May i know if the Forerunner 305 is able to dispaly cadence on the watch itself?
What an awesome review! Thanks, I just got my 305 a few weeks ago and am loving it.
Thank you again for your dedication. I wrote about 305 in my blog today.
link to keikofit.blogspot.com
This is a “friendly” review very helpful. I ran this morning in Panama City Fla. Being very hot on the return, I sat on the steps of the pool and cooled down. The watch immediately beeped, and the display had obvious water behind the cover. Any clues as to drying it up? I have never swam with it, but have sweated gallons with no issues. Any recourse through garmin? The watch is almost three years old. Thanks, Washed up
Yes, you can display cadence at all times (I do it today), no issues there. Both run and bike cadence.
Hi Lindsay and Keiko-
RE: Water under glass
Call up Garmin and explain, they’ll likely swap it out for free. Given you weren’t in the water (and even then, you have 30 minutes), it sounds just like a defective unit. Download your workouts to your computer, and then give support a ring to get it swapped out for free (before it dies for real).
Thanks for this review! I got a garmin for christmas last year and have used it heaps with ironman training 🙂 it’s been amazing until today – i tried charging the battery (it’s completely dead) but it won’t seem to charge at all anymore. i’ve tried a different cable, and cleaned the contacts on the garmin and nothing is working…and my ironman is in 11 days :S do you have any ideas on what the problem could be? I haven’t ever used it in water at all.
Did you try a reset of the unit? Check the manual or on line how to do this. (Hold down reset and power buttons)I have had this happen once.
I’d like to wear one of these next time I cut my lawn. I must walk at least a mile with all the back and forth.
Trying to decide on the 305 vs 205. HR and Calories are neat to see but not something I’d generally use to change what I do. Just to see the end result…
Awesome review! Thanx for yr dedication & effort in sharing yr wealth of knowledge. Never owned a device like this & still feeling my way around.Live in South Africa Just received a FR305 as a gift from a friend who was in yr part of the world. Got a good deal in the States. What I’m battling with is if I ride a specific route on the first day & the following day I ride a different route but the start & finish of the route is the same as the first route.When I download the ride data to Training Center the graph reflects the previous days data and then continues with todays ride data on the same graph.How do I get it to reflect a specific rides data only! I turn FR305 unit on, get satellites readings, press start & off I go.When I get back I press the stop button & turn the unit off.
I think 305 is a fine product, but the one thing I absolutely hate about it is that you can’t export the training data to Excel or CSV. I do all the analysis myself and it’s frustrating that the TCX files can’t be exported to a simple database format. If there is a way I would love to know (and other users may as well).
Very thorough job! My wife bought the 405 as I was still undecided…after using it I went for the 305 and haven’t regretted it once. One reason for this is the “Every Second” Recording which with SportTracks gives what I feel is an even more detailed result.
My question is this: Do you know how long you can record in “Every Second” mode and not start writing over your memory? It looks like you’ve gone 9 hours in a plane without erasing over that entry, but I’m not sure this was in “every second” mode. I understand the battery’s limitations in this mode, but “rigged” correctly, that’s not as much of a concern.
This was an extremely helpful review! I started off owning a Garmin FR 201 (which I loved), but when it died I bought a 405 (which I have NOT LOVED). In the couple years that I have owned a 405, I have already had Garmin send me a new one, and the 2nd one has now died. The options that I am considering are to: 1) Pay $79 to get a “new” 405 from Garmin; 2) Buy a new Garmin 110 or 3) Buy a 305. After reading your review, I think I am going to go with Option 3!
Is that what you would do?
Sorry to hear about it and hope your Ironman went well!
I’d suggest getting in touch with Garmin to have it swapped out, or also trying the full reset (which sometimes fixes battery charging issues) (as George noted).
RE: FR305 vs 205
Go with the FR305 – you won’t be disappointed.
RE: Way to export out CSV file
The challenge here is that you’re looking at individual GPS data points within a XML data set. It’s certainly exportable to a database format, but then you’d have to do all the math between GPS data points yourself. The GPS record set records each point individually based on GMT (and not just based on seconds). You’re best bet is to use some of the Sport Tracks plug-ins to create consolidated CSV export.
RE: Length of time
I don’t remember which setting I used for 9 hours, but my girlfriend uses 1-s recording and never has problems with many many hours of activities (sometimes upwards of a week’s worth before she uploads, which is easily 8-12 hours).
RE: Which one to buy
Go with the FR305 – you’ll be happy!
Great site here!
One question: Where does the map go? Sometimes I don’t get a map in both Garmin Training Center and on Garmin Connect when I upload my activity. (Forerunner 305)
I suspect that it’s when I start and stop the time several times for one workout, but I’m still not sure about that one.
Do you have a fix?
Thank you in advance!
Greetings from Denmark
The Map should always be there in Garmin Connect, unless for some reason the GPS got turned off (which is possible, but weird).
Fantastic review. Just a question to ask:
When biking, is it possible to leave the GPS on to record the route, yet view data recorded by the sensor? The current speed given by GPS isnt as accurate as the one the sensor gives, yet I would like to be able to view my route on the map.
Hi Rainmaker, hope you’re well. Thanks again for your reply on laps recall which I inquired last January. Another problem occured! My Garmin FR 305 DIED for the second time. I pushed the power and reset button after it died on the first time. But now on the second time,I kept doing the same thing but nothing happened. Here in Japan, there is no Garmin office or service centers, only stores that sells Garmin products. I’ll be joining a race next month and I really need this 305. I envy people who have not encountered any problem with the 305. Maybe I am one of the UNLUCKY runners using 305. What do you suggest this time? Hope to hear from you soon.
Bong from Japan
Hi DC Rainmaker,
I ride my bike outside, and I also teach spin 4-5 days per week inside. I do not currently have the foot pod. My question to you is when spinning inside, what # lb. do I use for the bike. I know the wheel base weighs about 60lbs, but because the bike is stationery, I’m not sure what to put in that slot. Currently I have it set at 21 lbs. The most important usage of the heart rate monitor for me is Calories/BPM/Average Heart Rate. My weight and age is set correctly and ever since I purchased the device, I can’t believe the calories I am burning. I just want to make sure my HRM is set up correctly for inside stationery biking.
Thanks for your time doing this !
I have bought the 305, and downloaded the ST3, but cant seem to find out hiw to export workouts to til 305. Could y help me ??
Hi! Do you know how to send waypoints from the computer to the device? I can’t find the way!
Thank you so much for the support you are providing! I bought my 305 because a friend directed me to your review. I love it for trail running. I have been disappointed in it for hiking. The total distance has been off by .5 to 1 mile on hikes in the White Mountains in NH. The reading is always short. Any idea why? It says “elevation correction on” when I hook up to Garmin Connect.
Brilliant review. i had a few doubts but you made up my mind for me. Mine’s in the post.
RE: GPS on but sensor viewing
This is the default for all watches after the FR305 – but I don’t believe it’s the case with the FR305. Sorry!
Hi Anon (Bong from Japan)-
RE: Dead FR305
If there are authorized resellers in Japan, then you should be able to call the Asia/Pacific Garmin office to get it resolved.
RE: Spinning bike
Unfortunately, I’m not sure that that changing the weight of the bike will help – only because unless you register the distance/speed, I don’t believe it’s going to significantly alter the calories (which are HR based).
RE: Exporting to FR305 from ST
To export TO the FR305, you’ll need the Garmin plug-in within the plug-in catalog.
Yup, use Garmin Training Center
RE: Distance off
Do a soft reset of the satellites and have it re-aquire, it might be hanging onto a satellite it can’t find. This should resolve it.
I’m just picking up running to stay in shap and for “me” time and I’ve been looking at a Garmin. This is a great review. Thanks for helping me make my mind up.
Thanks for the great review. You helped me make my mind up.The 305 seems to have just what I need to get started at a good price.
Ray, Great blog that motivated me to purchase a 305 from the amazon link and I am enjoying getting familiar with it.
I do have a question related to Sport Tracks as it appears that there is now a $35 charge for the software unless I am missing something. Can you provide an update on this.