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Review of Garmin Forerunner 305

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!

The box:

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.

Garmin 305 Unboxed

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:

Garmin 305 Power Plug

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.

Garmin 305 Cradle

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.

Garmin 305 and 405 comparison

With that, let’s get going on using the device.  After all – that’s what we got it for!

Getting Started

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.

Garmin 305 on wrist

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.

Old School Garmin Footpod

And here’s what some turnover data looks like in an interval set I was doing:

Cadence Graph in Sport Track

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.

Garmin Classic Heart Rate Strap

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:

Garmin 305 Satellite view in Sport Tracks

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.

Garmin 305 Elevation Profile in Sport Tracks

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:

Garmin 305 Quick Release Kit on BikeGarmin 305 Quick Release Strap for running

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).

Garmin Cadence/Speed Sensor

Summary of accessories:

Here’s a quick table of all the accessories offered (or that work with) the Garmin 305:

Accessory Name/Description

Retail Price

Amazon Price

Heart Rate Strap (Classic Strap)



Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft Strap)



Cycling Speed/Cadence Sensor



Running Foot Pod (for treadmill use & running cadence)



Quick Release Kit & Fabric Wrist Strap



Alternative bike mount (designed for 405, but works on 305)



Dock/Cradle (spare)



In the water swimming…

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.

Garmin 305 satellite view during swim (This is a swim I did in Honolulu, using Sports Tracks to display the route)

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?

Garmin 305 Satellite view with flight

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.

Garmin 305 during Boston Marathon with photos overlaid

The above was done using Picasa Web Albums after tagging all the photos I took while running the Boston Marathon this year (against my Forerunner 305 GPS file).

Using it in triathlons

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.

Garmin 305 during transition in multisport mode

I wrote up a big ole How To on using the Forerunner 305 in triathlons that you can read through here.

Software Options:

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).

Garmin Training Center

Sport Tracks 2.0 (aka the Best Software Ever Made – Free)

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.

Sport Tracks Overview
Sport Tracks route view in Rome
(A general view of a run, each of the panes next to the map has different interchangeable views)
Sport Tracks Reporting View (A view of one of the many pre-canned reports – showing total mileage for each week, you can also create your own reports)
Sport Tracks Chart View

Web Based Software:
(Free, although more advanced features are offered for a fee)

While I mention MotionBased, you should know that as of July 2009 it’s basically going away – though it’s replaced by Garmin Connect (more on that below).

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.

Motion Based View

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 (Free)

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.

 Garmin Connect Upload 305Garmin Connect Upload 305 DataGarmin 305 Uploaded Data on Garmin Connect

It also does handy things like inform you of upcoming firmware updates:

Garmin 305 Firmware Update Available

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).

Garmin 305 Overview on Garmin Connect Garmin 305 Lap View on Garmin Connect
It also can do a bunch of nifty reporting and allow you to export out your workouts as well.
Garmin Connect Activity ViewGarmin Connect Reporting View

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:

Garmin Connect Explore View

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 (free and subscription based)

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).

Training Peaks Device Agent

Then, once on Training Peaks, you can view the data and modify the workout descriptions (amongst a host of other options).

Training Peaks Calendar ViewTraining Peaks Workout View Traning Peaks Detailed Graph View

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.


Last up: Google Earth

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.

Google Earth View

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).

DC Bike Routes View
(An example of a file containing all the bike routes for the DC area, I uploaded it here)

Comparison Chart

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated March 24th, 2024 @ 12:36 pm New Window
Product Announcement DateJAN 3, 2006Nov 8th, 2022June 2nd, 2021Mar 24th, 2021June 30th, 2020
Actual Availability/Shipping DateFEB 2006Nov 8th, 2022June 2nd, 2021Mar 2021July 2020
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYesYesOnly via Phone Connected GPS
WaterproofingIPX7Yes - 30m50 metersYes - 30mYes - 30m
Dive/Snorkel FeatureNo
Battery Life (GPS)10 HoursUp to 30 hours20 hoursUp to 20 hoursUp to 50hrs with phone GPS (4 days standby)
Solar ChargingNo
Recording Interval1s or Smart1s1s/Smart1s1s
Dual-Frequency GNSSYes
Display TypeAMOLED
Backlight GreatnessGoodGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoYes (all Connect IQ Apps)NoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Voice IntegrationGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Has Mic/SpeakerNo
Can make/receive callsNo
Voice AssistantNo
MusicGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Can control phone musicYesYesYesNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoNoNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNoNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingNoYesYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)NoYesYesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoYesNoNo
Group trackingNoNoNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoYes (via phone)NoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesNoYesNoNo
Strava segments live on deviceNoNoNoNo
Crash detectionNoYesNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesNoYES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)NoNo (but has accelerometer for indoor running)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNoNo
Running PowerNoNoNoNo
VO2Max EstimationNoYesYesYesYes
Race PredictorNoNoYesNoNo
Recovery AdvisorNoNoYesNoNo
Run/Walk ModeNoNoYesNoNo
Track Recognition ModeNoYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Designed for swimmingNoYesYesYesSorta (waterproof but HR only tracking)
Openwater swimming modeNoYesN/AYesNo
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingNoYesYesYesNo
Record HR underwaterNoYesYesYesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)NoYesN/AYesNo
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)NoYesYesYesNo
Indoor Drill ModeNoNoNoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureNoYesYesNo
Change pool sizeNoYesYesYesNo
Indoor Min/Max Pool LengthsNo20M/Y to 250 m/y20M/Y to 250 m/yN/A
Ability to customize data fieldsNoYesYesYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsNoYesYesYesNo
Indoor AlertsNoN/AN/AN/A
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Designed for triathlonYesNoNoNoNo
Multisport modeYesNoNoNoNo
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesYes
On-unit interval FeatureYesSorta (offers structured workouts)YesSorta (offers structured workouts)Sorta (offers structured workouts)
Training Calendar FunctionalityNoHas daily suggested workoutsYesHas daily suggested workoutsSorta (offers daily workouts)
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Auto Start/StopYesNoYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesNo (but can give out of zone information)Virtual PacerNo (but can give out of zone information)No (but can give out of zone information)
Virtual Racer FeatureNoYes (Race Pace)NoNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoYesNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoYesYesYesNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoNoNoNo
Markers/Waypoint DirectionNoNoNoNoNo
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNoNo
Back to startYesNoNoNoNo
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitNoNoNoNoNo
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Altimeter TypeGPSGPSNoGPSNone
Compass TypeGPSN/ANoneN/AN/A
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)NoNoNoNo
ECG FunctionalityNONoNO
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesNoYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)NoNoNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableNoYesNoYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableNoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
PC ApplicationGTCPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacGarmin Express (PC/Mac)Polar Flowsync - Windows/MacPolar Flowsync - Windows/Mac
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectPolar FlowGarmin ConnectPolar FlowPolar Flow
Phone AppGarmin FitiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/AndroidiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 305Polar Ignite 3Garmin Forerunner 55Polar Ignite 2Polar Unite
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink


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.

ProductStreet PriceAmazon
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Classic Plastic Strap) - HRM1
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM2
Garmin ANT+ Heart Rate Strap (Premium Soft-Strap) - HRM3
Garmin ANT+ Replacement HR Strap (for HRM3/HRM-RUN - just the strap portion)
Garmin ANT+ Running Footpod (Mini)
Garmin ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (GSC-10)
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
Garmin FR305 Quick Release Kit
Motorola ANT+ Speed/Cadence Cycling Sensor (Quick Install) - BEST!
Suunto ANT/ANT+ Running Footpod (good for both ANT types)

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.

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  1. Smogdownunder

    Thanks for reviews – you’ve convinced me to buy a FR305. I would love to support your site by buying from Amazon, but for some bizarre reason they won’t ship GPS watches to Australia. I don’t understand why.

  2. Anonymous

    Sorry to be such a techno weenie, but you suggested a “soft reset” to correct mileage errors when hiking. How do you do a soft reset?


  3. Anonymous

    i Anon-

    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.

    How do you do a soft reset of the satellites? Thanks

  4. smogdownunder

    Now have my 305 (see comment 201) and have used a couple of times to get used to the features. One thing that suprised me- my pace seems to vary a lot more than I believe it actually does when running with a group. I’ve apparently gone from 4:50/km to 6:10/km to 5:15/km all in a matter of 30 seconds. Do other users get this variability over short peruiods? And I’d know if I’m doing 4:50 as I wouldn’t be able to talk!

  5. Nice review. I am having one as a X-mas gift and am looking forward to it. It was great to read a good documented actual user review.

  6. Kel

    Just got my 305 for Xmas. Gotta read this review again to figure out how to use it. It’s 30 degrees here in WI so it probably won’t get much use for another few months though. :)

  7. Kel

    Should the heart rate monitor that comes with the 305 work with fitness equipment with the Polar logo/symbol on them? I just got my 305 and tried using just the strap at the Y and it didn’t register anything Tried 3 different machines (bikes and treadmills).

    I put on the 305 and it picked it up just fine so maybe they are just not compatible? But I thought they would be.

  8. Hi Ray, love your in-depth technical reviews and articles. They were a big factor in me (as a relative beginner running 13 miles per week currently) deciding to get a FR305 recently, and getting me up to speed on it quickly :)

    Quick question about HRMax, HRR and zones. I haven’t measured by HRMax but estimated by formula as 181. I recently measured my HRR averaged over a 10 min period at 55bpm, then plugged that figure into Garmin Connect. Then was shock to see what a big difference it made to my Zone 3 range.

    Previously, with just a 181 HRMax my zone 3 was 126-144. I had been having difficulty running slowly enough to keep HR at even the top end of this, and was running almost exclusively four steps to a breath.

    Now, with 55 HRR and 181 HRMax, my zone 3 is changed to 143-155 – quite a difference.

    I guess my question is, is the zone just that much more accurate when HRR is known than when it isn’t? And does it make a difference that MRMax is estimated by formula?

    Cheers, Robs

  9. I have owned the 305 since July ’06 and have been very happy. In the meantime at my second unit. This last weekend I raced in an XC skiing half-marathon and towards the middle of the race the 305 started recording erratic track points.

    My initial thought was that the unit behaved erratically because of the cold. Temps were falling from 18F to 9F by the end of the race. Even though this keeps the 305 within the operating specs (-4F is given as the lower margin) I still think that the temp is the most likely reason. I still wanted to check if you have ever come across something like this. For an image of the overlay track on race course see here: link to cfospruns.blogspot.com
    Thanks, and thanks also for this great blog!

  10. I have read and re-read you reviews and countless others on the Forerunner 305 and 310XT models. I’ve come to the conclusion that though the 310XT would be an absolute dream of mine and the perfect piece of machinery, I simply cannot afford it right now.
    I’m a second year triathlete and in the market for my first HRM. I’ve narrowed it down pretty much to the 305 and the Polar RS300X G1. I’ve heard good and bad about both and was wondering if you were familiar with the Polar model at all and it’s water capabilities? Would you use the same method for the Polar as you recommend for the 305 (under the cap)? If so with its separate GPS sensor how would that work? One of the major things that has me on the fence about the 305 is how it calculates calories burned. It says it doesn’t use heart rate to calculate burned cals, do you know what method they use? I’ve heard some questionable reviews about the accuracy of that feature since it doesn’t use heart rate. Any comments, suggestions, and advice would be greatly appreciated. I’ve been racking my brain over this for over 4 months and can’t seem to come to a conclusion. For me I’m making a major investment and do not want to be completely disappointed wishing for the other one. Thanks in advance. Hope Jordan is going well. Sounds awesome!

  11. Anonymous

    Hi! I’m new to the Forerunner 305 and can’t figure out how to enter intervals of varied lengths and recovery lengths. Say I wa to do a ladder of 3mn hard, 2easy, 4 hard, 2 easy, 5 hard, 2 easy, 4 hard, 2 easy, 3 hard, 3 easy. That sort of thing. On my Timex I cna program interval so that at the end/beginning of each segment the watch beeps to tell me t start or stop going hard. How can I do this on the 305? It seems to me that I can only repeat intervals of equal length… Thanks!

  12. Anonymous

    Make sure that you delete history occassionally on the 305 or it will shut down on low battery after about 15 minutes once the memory starts overflowing.


  13. Anonymous

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your reviews on the TGT and 305.

    I’m new to running but do a lot of challenge walks over here in UK and am kind of thinking of getting a GPS watch for running and walking side. I have a question about what I should go for and since you come across as highly knowledgable in both the sport side and the kit side I reckon you will know.
    I am considering a watch mainly for the running side of things and to record trails whether run or walked. I am a self confessed geek about things so I know I will get into it. I already have a basic GPS for walking which I don’t used for anything but grid references (in UK we have the GB OS types of grid reference, not sure if you are familiar). I understand tht only the 310XT and the TGT offer this. Am I correct? Whilst I’d like this function so I can leave my old GPS60 behind I reckon since I never take it I really shouldn’t be too bothered about the location reference read out function.

    Basically in your opinion if I really just want a watch to record details about a run / speed walk with HRM is it really worth getting the TGT or 310XT or better to save and get the £100 305? I am never going to be a triathlete and only run to improve my fitness for walking and challenge walks so does the TGT or 310XT really offer any advantages over the 305 for a general plodder?

  14. Hi Smogdownunder-

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Soft Reset-

    “To power the unit back on, press the “Mode” and “Reset” buttons at the same time. Let go of those two buttons, press the power button, and the unit will turn back on.”

    Hi smogdownunder-
    RE: It will vary a bit due to variances. One suggestion is to use lap pace instead – as that tends to be more stable.

    Hi Kel & Kris-

    Hi Kel-
    RE: Straps and the Y

    The Garmin’s use an ANT+ protocal strap, whereas the YMCA gym’s likely uses an uncoded HR strap type (like a Polar). They don’t talk together. Sorry!

    Hi Robs-
    RE: HR Zone Formulas

    There’s quite a few different HR formulas out there, some are based on simple math like 220-Age, and some are a bit more complex. And yet even more are based on VO2Max tests. Up in the ‘Equipment’ link I have a few books which I use to calculate mine.

    Hi Christian-
    RE: Really cold weather

    Yeah, I find that below about 10*F things start go get a bit slow and funky.

    Hi Cadence-
    RE: Polar Models

    Unfortunately, I haven’t spent much time to date with the Polar models – look to this spring.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Entering complex workouts

    Here’s what you’re looking for:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Shutdown/slowness

    Hmm, that doesn’t sound normal at all. After you’ve saved all your history – try doing a hard reset. What you describing happens if there’s some disk/memory corruption, but it can be cleaned via hard reset.

    Hi Non-
    RE: Which watch

    Based on your requirements – go with the FR305 – it has everything you need…and skips on the expensive things you don’t (Power Meter compat, deepwater proofing, 20hr battery)

    Thanks all!

  15. I have a 305 and was wondering if by adding a cadence sensor my calorie calculations will be more accurate?

  16. Anonymous

    Dear DC –

    Thanks for your website. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me find the right watch and learn how to operate it. I’ve got the 305 and am having problems with the Heart Rate Monitor. I’ve replaced the battery and now the HRM won’t sync with the 305. I also tried syncing it with a friend’s HRM and it still won’t sync. Any tips would be greatly appreciate.

    Thank you.

  17. Anonymous

    Thanks, Rainmaker


  18. Hi Warren-
    RE: FR305 HR Monitor Sync

    Have you tried to re-pair it? I assume so, but just wanted to check. If that’s failing and a new battery is in there – you’re best bet is giving Garmin Support a ring. It sounds like something might be wrong with the strap though. The good news is that even if you’re out of warranty, at worst a new HR strap is about $30 on Amazon these days.

    Hope this helps! Thanks!

  19. This is a great full comprehensive review of the Garmin Forerunner. I’m lurking for a Garmin product to wear for my run. I know they are the best to mess with. THanks for the great review. It’s of great help.

  20. Anonymous

    Hi DC Rainmaker

    My FR305 is barely 3months old but already the speaker vol is getting weaker and softer. I personally feels that the location of the speaker is poorly designed at the back of the watch as perspiration will leaked into it.

    Did you experience the same before and how do you rectify? I did soft and hard reset but still doesn’t work.

    Pls advice

  21. Mike

    Thx for the great reviews. I just got the 305 but do a lot of my training in doors as my knees and back have seen better days. I do spinning classes regularly and use treadmills and elipticals. When it’s warm out I will do some 20-30 mile rides. So, I’ll probably use the unit indoors 75% of the time and when doing so need accurate heart rate info and want accurate calories burned. Obviously, the GPS will be great on the road. Can I get all the functionality I’m looking for (except GPS) indoors? Is this the unit for me or should I have gotten the FR 60? Thx for your feedback.

  22. Naber

    Hi Rainmaker

    You have mentioned that the the 305 is very useful in tris with in the multisport mode. My question is if the 305 supports biathlons / duathlons in the same way? ie for dualthlons, you can preset the multi sports to RUN/BIKE/RUN race with just pressing the ‘lap’ button.


  23. Mike - CO

    Hi, great review(s) helped me to decide on the FR305 since my current Polar HRM battery is dying and I just don’t want to pay to have it replaced by Polar since it isn’t such a great device anyway. I had an older Polar HRM that was much nicer but it fried in the pool one day.

    A couple of questions: I see Sport tracks is no longer 100% free, I’ve been using the free version, but will soon bump up on the free version limits. Is this still the best SW outthere for this? At this point I seem to be doing triple duty on the data – Garmin TC, Garmin Connect, and Sport Tracks.

    With my previous Polar HRM the analysis SW allowed me to overlay two or more workouts and make direct comparisons to the heart rate graphs. Is there a way to do this in any of the 3 SW packages mentioned above?


  24. Anonymous

    Thanks for the great resource. After reading reviews across the 305, 405 and 210, I am leaning toward the 210. I have an existing 301 that I bought in 2007, but it has TONS of issues with picking up satellite reception quickly. The reviews indicate that the X10 series has fixed that. If I’m only seeking a solution for running, I’m leaning toward the 210. Do you see any issues with that? If I don’t care about loading custom workouts, is tehre anything else that I am missing that the 305 would provide that I can’t get from the 210? Thanks!


  25. I know this is an old review but I wanted to say thanks. I bought the 305 last week base upon your review and I really like it.

    I am a 55 year old ex-Marine that “let myself go” and have been on a 3 month trek to get healthy again. So far I have lost 50 pounds but I needed a tool to help me track my heart rate so I could monitor performance.

    I just wanted to say thanks for the review it helped me decide and this HRM is a great tool.

  26. bk

    Great blog! Thank you for all the information. I have been using the 305 for years (maybe the 205 before that)and have always used it as a stationary heart rate monitor. All i have to do is turn off the gps. In the last couple of weeks, it tells me it won’t store the data because of error in data. I think i have pressed a button inadvertantly and it will longer collect heart rate data and time without a distance travelled. Hopefully you can help me out.

  27. I have a couple of questions for you, both concerning footpods.

    My first question concerns using multiple footpods. I have an old style (through the laces) footpod and was thinking about getting a second footpod since I’m now rotating between two pairs of shoes for marathon training. I assume I’ll have to re-pair the footpod and FR305 as I change shoes, but will I lose calibration values when I pair another footpod? Also, is the calibration value for one footpod likely to be the same as the calibration value for ANY footpod?

    The second question I have concerns using the FR305 with just the footpod, even outdoors. I have some training that’s very pace specific, and the instantaneous pace via GPS tends to wander pretty radically. However, you said in your review of the FR60 that its instantaneous pace was more consistent because it was only readying the footpod. From a pace perspective, would the 305 pace readings be more reliable if I only used the footpod?

    There’s a related question to the 305 in footpod mode. When you answer ‘Yes’ to the 305’s question “Are you running indoors” when it finds a footpod, does that turn off the GPS, or do you have to turn the GPS off as a separate step?

    Thanks for all the great info. I’m a big fan.


  28. I just got it, along with the cadence meter. In just one weekend of use, this gadget has made a big difference in my cycling. There’s so many features, and, for the most part, everything is about as intuitive as could be for a small device. The cadence meter was reasonably easy to attach and very worthwhile. I did not understand that you don’t need the cadence meter for distance and speed, as the GPS will do that. Nevertheless, I like the idea of having a wheel magnet in case there is trouble with the GPS reception. It is awesome having a cadence meter, especially a wireless one.

    In terms of reliability, the HRM works as well as my previous polar one, and maybe a bit better. I got some funny readings at the beginning of a ride, but that was due to forgetting to wet the sensors. Once you get a bit sweaty, the HRM seems very accurate.

    Charging and uploading data are brilliant. The PC and web software work well. However, for the web verison, I’d like to be able to see where on the map I am at different times. That is available on the PC version.

    Some data features seem dubious, although those are not important. The calories burned seems astronomically high. The grade meter seems wildly inaccurate.

  29. Anonymous

    Can you run in the rain with the Garmin 305?

  30. Through your blog, you have encouraged a lot of people. And that’s nice to know.

  31. thanks for all your info. How instantaneous is the turnover rate (running cadence) that is displayed on the 305 watch? If there is a lag, does it make it hard to ‘dial in’ a tempo of 180? Is the 310xt functionally the same for running cadence?

  32. GCA

    My 305 ‘Enter’ button kind of disappeared into the unit! It doesn’t work any more as it’s now flat where the button was – any ideas?

  33. Great Post! I just don’t know what will happen if there’s no such a thing like those. They are all high-tech and helps the person who uses it.

  34. smogdownunder

    Just sharing a fix that might be of interest.
    I’ve been happily using my 305 for about 8 months, but recently it started to ‘hang’ whilst reading onto my computer or uploading to Garmin Connect.
    The Garmin Support people recommended doing a master reset by pressing the Mode and Power buttons with the watch off, and then saying Yes to ‘Erase all data’. There were only about 40 hours (and 450km) of data on it, which I think is only a fraction of its capacity.
    It was a bit of a pain in that I had to re-enter all my profile bits and display settings, but…it worked.
    Hope this is of use to anyone having the same problem

  35. Matt S

    Thanks for this writeup, I wound up buying a 305 based on your advice and love it. One problem I’ve had is pairing my Bontrager ANT+ cadence sensor with it. I can’t seem to find anything on Google…have you successfully paired a 305 with a non-Garmin cadence sensor? Curious to know if you have any troubleshooting tips. Thanks!

  36. Nice work man! I own a FR305 and only use it when I ride motocross as in finding out laptimes, top speed, average speed etc.

    I’m pretty satisfied with the watch, but we (I forced others to buy it as well) have some issues with it sometimes because it has sometimes issues reading the correct lap times.

    Anyway I crashed it last weekend in a race, and was going to buy a new one and wonder if the other Garmins might be more suited for the task (size, better GPS reciever etc). I was supposed to buy the 405, but reading your review I kind of question the purpose spending $50 extra for it when it really doesn’t seems to be much better except the size. Any thoughs?

  37. The 305 is awesome. Now that it’s discontinued you can practically steal them from Best Buy. I found mine in FL for $39!

    Great Blog

  38. JO

    Hey mak_g I’m also in FL, in which best buy did you find your 305 for $39? I’m in Miami, Thx

  39. I love your reviews, very helpful – THANKS- overall- between the FR series, best “bang for your buck right now?” I’m basically looking for HR, cadence (both bike and run) pace, distance.
    That’s it really!

  40. I love your reviews, very helpful – THANKS- overall- between the FR series, best “bang for your buck right now?” I’m basically looking for HR, cadence (both bike and run) pace, distance.
    That’s it really!

  41. Great information! Thank you. You mention that the reports show split information, but I don’t see the split information on the screenshots you show. Can the reports show mile splits by mile and cumulative for each run? This is a make or break thing for me.

  42. How exactly do you geotag the photos with the garmin watch?

  43. Wow! A Garmin tech support sent me a link to your site. Fabulous info that I wish I’d had during the past few years that I’ve owned my 305. Unfortunately I’ve developed a problem with it that I can’t solve. It charges up fine, but shuts off after about 10 minutes; when I put it back on the charger it qyuckly shows charging complete. I’ve done soft and hard resets (eliminating all stored data), and at Garmin tech’s suggestion, downloaded all available updates from Garmin site. All to no avail. Any other suggestions? It’s a few years old but hasn’t been charged more than a couple of hundred times at most.

  44. Follow up post. Since I was unable to get my 305 to work, and being ignorant of this site, I purchased a 410. Not happy with it. Can’t get hang of the touch bezel, dislike only 3 data fields rather than 4, harder to read than the 405. The ANT+ is cool as is the better satelite reception (though the 305 seems to show slightly longer distance for my usual runs). Had I seen your review, would never have bought the 410, and will probably take it back. Thanks for your wonderful resource.

  45. (Part 1 Answers)

    Hi Best Running-

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Speaker

    There’s no issue with water leaking into the back of the unit where the speaker is. Most water issues with the FR305 actually come from the front bezel side.

    Hi Mike-
    RE: Calories indoors

    Check out the calorie info page here I put together:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Naer-
    RE: Duathlons

    Yup, you can just narrow it down to two sports for duathlons/biathlons.

    Hi Mike in CO-
    RE: Sport Tracks

    In general, I recommend Sport Tracks for desktop clients and Training Peaks if you want a web app. ST is free if you have less than two plugins.

    Hi Anon (MikeE):
    RE: FR301

    Yeah, the FR301 is a whole different class of slow. I think you’ll find all of the new generation watches are significantly faster, especially with the HotFix technology allowing it to roughly remember where you were.

    Hi CattleKing-

    Hi BK-
    RE: Error in data

    It sounds like the watch may be full, you’ll want to empty out the data. Failing that, try a soft reset. And failing that, the hard reset will get you back to factory defaults.

    Hi Edward-
    RE: Footpods

    Yes, two footpods will require repairing each time. You can just memorize the calibration values for each shooe and enter it in manually. Each shoe will be different since it’s based on exact placement.

    RE: Footpod pace consistancy

    You can select to change the speed source to be footpod based, which should even it out a bit. Best of both worlds!

    RE: Answering Yes to Indoors

    Yes, that turns off the GPS.

    Hi Mike-
    RE: Calorie and grade

    Grade is GPS based, which in general is a bit sketchy compared to the barometric altimeter based ones (for during ride use). Afterwards, the Garmin Connect site will apply better elevation data using elevation correction. Calories are indeed not as accurate as some of the newer units, especially depending on whether or not you were wearing a HR strap.

    Hi Anon-
    RE: Rain and FR305

    Yup, running in the run is completely fine.

    …to be continued in a few seconds (too much text for one comment).

  46. (Part II Answers)

    Hi MWBike-
    RE: Cadence turnover rate

    I find it’s pretty darn quick, quick enough that when I’m working on drills at specific cadences, it’s easy to follow. Same on FR310XT.

    Hi GCA-
    RE: The button fell in

    Eek! Your best bet would be to ring up Garmin and try and get it swapped out. If under warranty, no problems. If not, you still might luck out with them.

    Hi Smogdownunder-
    RE: Tip

    Thanks! Yeah, sometimes some of the units just need a good spring cleaning. The different resets will do the trick.

    Hi Matt-
    RE: Cadence Bontrager ANT+ sensor

    The challenge is the FR305 doesn’t support speed-only and cadence-only sensors, it only supports the combo sensors (speed & cadence). It’s essentially a different ANT+ profile. The newer watches support them. See my big post on it here:
    link to dcrainmaker.com

    Hi Marc-
    RE: Motorcross

    I’d go with the FR310XT or the FR210 for your uses. I’d stay away from the FR405/FR410 merely because of the touch bezel piece.

    Hi Mak G & Jo-
    RE: Really sweet deal

    Holy cow – very impressive! $39, that’s a steal!

    Hi Team Familia-
    RE: Best Bang for the buck

    The FR305 remains the best bang for the buck, especially since the Timex Global Trainer prices have mysteriously shot back up into the $200’s.

    Hi Laura-
    RE: Splits on reports

    Yup, no problem with splits on the reports afterwards. I just happened to show different runs – but you can customize it however you’d like, including splits (either auto splits or manual splits).

    Hi Levi-
    RE: Geotagging

    As long as your camera and watch are set to the right data (watch will happen automatically), I use Microsoft Pro Photo Tools (free) to do it, quick and easy. Though there are likely better and quicker tools out there these days:
    link to microsoft.com

    Hi CW in Dallas-
    RE: FR405/410

    Yeah, I’d recommend picking up the FR210, 310XT or FR610 – all of which I like, instead of the FR405/FR410, just not a big fan overall of those watches.

    Thanks all, and sorry for the delay here – been a bit of a crazy few months with wedding and honeymoon, just getting a chance to catchup on all the past comments.

  47. Anonymous

    Is there anyway to make the heart rate number larger on the watch? I can’t see it when I am running.
    Thanks for your help.

  48. Hi Anon-
    RE: Larger Numbers

    Yup, you can change the number of fields displayed on a given data page to be as few as one, which will cause the numbers to take up the entire screen. You can then change the number of data pages (each page can contain between 1-4 data fields), and there are three data pages you can customize. Enjoy!

  49. Thanks for the review about Garmin. I got gathered.

  50. Randius

    I had recently gotten a used FR405 + brand new classic HRM strap quite cheaply, about 100USD for the bundle. However, after using it for a few runs, I find the touch bezel to be rather troublesome to use and I am now seriously considering getting the FR305, as the 310XT is out of my budget. But I wish to know if I will be missing out any useful features on the FR405 (if any) by making the switch to FR305. Thank you.

  51. Anonymous

    I’m using the Forerunner 305 intensively for kayak racing and cycling as well as running = I LOVE the functions of the 305.

    However, between me and my wife I’m on unit number 10 within the last 4 years. (4 of them left working … one for each of us for two different sports).
    I had experimented with mounting devices and 2 units are on the bottom of my nearby lake due to my mistakes.
    One think I cannot improve on is the failure due to spray water exposure from the kayaking. I’m getting between 10 to 18 months out of each unit … things seem to deteriorate faster in salt water. Having a boat (unwantedly) roll and submerging the unit here in Florida going from 100F air to 60F water even for as little as 10 to 20 seconds most certainly kills the unit (starting with a completely fogged up display).

    When I just shelled out the $$$ for a new unit and/or when I see the failure nearing … I start putting the unit in a mini lunch bag … but the difficulty to read the numbers due to the addtional condensation and glaring effects around the wrinkled bag turn me off.

    Are you aware of any simply trick such as particular zip lock bags, etc. to minimize the water issues? I’d like to keep using the 305 vs. 310XT for a variety of reasons.

    I have the 305 quick connect on all our boats and the cycles (over a dozen in total) … too much folded zip-lock bag builtup can make the whole thing spring back out.
    Is there a simple way to place it in a water tight bag and have the bag be flush and tight around the display?

  52. I haven’t heard of any good methods for rubber bags – though now to think about it, what about vacumn sealing it? It would probably take a few test runs, but with something like a Freshsaver you might be able to seal it to just the right level where it doesn’t depress the buttons, but keeps it fairly tight. Charging would be tricky though, have to think through that some.

  53. I’m curious about the nature of this watches aforementioned waterproofing(or lack thereof) in terms of just dealing with sweat and rain it would be exposed to during running situations. I sweat quite a bit compared to your average runner, and I was curious if the sweat from a hard run will get worked into this watch from all the pounding of the run. Also, is it better to not wear this thing out for a 45 minute to hour long run in the pouring rain? Have you had any issues with using this watch in subzero temperatures such as runs on 15-20 degree F days/nights?

  54. Anonymous

    Hi thanks for the excellent review I buy one refurb recently and I have this problem hope ypu can help

    My FR305 have this problem:
    When on Auto Multisport (Set to Bike then Run, checked add transitions) Hit ester the start I do the bike then hit Lap the T1 starts wait 5sec then hit Lap and then Run, here’s the problem the Multisport screen appears but immediately the Distance Alert also appears and beeps and the distance for the multisport read 4,295km.

    So I did a test same settings the only thing is that instead of ride the bike I walk for 10sec then hit Lap the T1 stars wait 5sec then hit Lap again the mulstisport screen appears walk for 10sec no problem distance is ok everything works perfect.

    So I did a second test same settings the only thing is that I ride the Bike for 10sec hit Lap the T1 starts wait 5sec hit Lap and again the Distance Alert also appears and beeps and the distance for the multisport read 4,295km.

    I have the Garmin the cadence/speed sensor GSC10 so maybe I suspect that have something to do with that


  55. Eric from Bethesa

    Ray, thanks for the review. Still having an impact after all these years (decided to pull the trigger after my Nike croaked).

    One question: when I ran outside with the footpod, the run in Garmin connect showed neither the map nor elevation data. I assume there are a limited amount of data fields, and the cadence bumped the others out when the footpod was activated. Is this correct?

  56. Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the insign you bring to the topic, awesome stuff!

    Fast Watch Battery Replacement Service

  57. Anonymous

    I’m not a super huge bike rider but when I do ride, I just wear the watch on my wrist as I do when I’m running. Is it better to have it fixed to the bike?

  58. Anonymous

    Hi!! Thanks for this cult review!!

    Just got my new FR305. I have been following the ‘Run Less Run Faster’ recommended “FIRST” training program. I have been trying to feed the workout in ‘my workouts’ using Garmin TC. Would you know how to create a workout with the following data which I am supposed to follow.

    15 Mins – easy jog followed by 12 repeats of 400 meters at pace of 6 mins/km. Each repeat to have a 90 sec rest interval where I have to slow jog.

    Appreciate any pointers on how to


  59. Hi!

    Does someone know how long it can run with gps disabled?

    Garmin advertises that the new models have a longer (3 weeks or so) runtime with gps disabled for using them as a watch.

    Once the 305 has a gps fix it has got the time and i can use it as a watch when gps is disabled after that…

    Any experiences anyone?

  60. Ray, I just ordered a 305 and since your review was a major factor in my decision I’ve ordered it following your Amazon link. At $138 this is a great deal even if there are more modern or slimmer watches out there. Thanks for taking the time to write all these detailed reviews, reading all of them really helped me decide.

  61. Unbelievable review, very comprehensive and the attention to detail here is amazing. Thanks for providing such a thorough review of this product, one of our most popular in recent months. We may have to provide this as a review on our site. :)

  62. Anonymous

    when i want to charge the fr 305
    it turns on saying low battery
    and it wont charge
    please help…………

  63. is

    I need help
    When i try to charge the fr 305 it turns on saying low battery and it isn’t getting charged

  64. is

    please help cant charge the fr 305
    it turns on when ever i try to charge it

  65. Use a rubber eraser to clean the contacts on the back of the FR305. Additionally, ensure the pins on the dock are fully pressing up against the FR305. If they aren’t making great contact, use the tip of a paperclip to push them up a bit higher so they have a snugger fit.

  66. is

    tried it didnt help
    when ever i want to charge it turns on and not getting charged

  67. I accidently pressed some buttons on my 305 today and got into a menu that I don’t understand. My device is fine I was just wondering what this menu does. I got to it by pressing the up button then the enter button and finally the down button while on the home screen.


  68. Anonymous


    I just purchased the Garmin Forerunner 305 and I am using it for mainly running purposes but I also work out indoors and take aerobics classes and would like a device that can show me my Heart rate and ACCURATE calories burned. Do you have a device you recommend????


  69. Anonymous

    My Garmin Forerunner 305 lasted less than 2 years. After two refurbished replacements that lasted only one week each, I decided to give up on Garmin.

  70. Seems like this is downgrading, but can you comment on the 305 vs the FR60 for someone who ALWAYS runs with their Android phone in a Tunebelt for music and recording the GPS via Runkeeper or Endomondo App (and a phone of course!) I WAS 99% sure I wanted the 305, but now thinking since I’ll have my smartphone with me all the time anyway that the FR60 would be fine. My main reason for wanting something on my wrist is that the only thing the phone doesn’t give you easily is quick pace in races since some races ban headphones. Another added benefit to the FR60 is the footpod in case you lose GPS. Would also be able to be used as a normal watch. Am I crazy in thinking a non-GPS watch in tandem with a smartphone gives you just as good a setup as the 305 or do I go with the “old reliable” 305? hmmm

  71. 3 yr old 305 only holds charge for about 3 hours max, any ideas appreciated. thx james

  72. granty

    great blog ray, i was inspired to buy a 305 after useing the nike + thing on my iphone, i must admit i prefer the nike + website is their any programmes similar than can be used with the garmin ?

  73. greetings: Thanks to your review I have purchased the 305 and love it so far. I’m considering the foot pod but have a question. I use the Nordic Track ski simulator in the winter. Will the foot pod work with this type of equipment?

    Thanks, Greg

  74. Thanks for putting all the time and effort into these reviews – greatly appreciated. I’m sold on the 305 -I know it’s “old” but can’t beat that price for what it offers and based on your reviews (and others I’ve talked too) its a great watch. I was just down at one of our local running stores here checking them out. I’m pretty sure i will be heading back to pick one up. Thanks again for your help.
    – Ian

  75. Becky

    Hi, I’ve had my Forerunner 305 for several years and use it for everything – Tri’s, kyacking, skiing and more. I love this device and was horrified this week when it found it’s way into the washing machine…and has not recovered (I think the process has fractured the screen and let water in). At a time when I’ve just moved house I really can’t afford to replace it (but equally can’t train without it) and have discovered the uber-efficient Garmin Customer Service. For those of you wondering IF you should buy over other brands, I called Garmin (Europe) today and confessed all. For £51.48 they’re simply sending me a replacement refurb unit (with 90 day warranty) within 10 days. For a well-used and out of warranty unit Garmin have therefore got a great after sales service going on…and it’s far cheaper than replacing the unit with new or ungraded units. Gotta be worth bearing in mind because once you buy these lovely expensive toys things they are invaluable, go everywhere, get a battering, and maybe one day take one hit too much because that’s what we do! My advice is get a Garmin!

  76. Anonymous


    If I thinking about sell my Garmin Forerunner 305 in future… how can I clean up all my data and all information in that watch? And put back to original that when we first open the package.

    By the way… great many review!!


  77. hey ray, any idea why the 305’s are now $100 more than they’ve been in recent memory? garmin trying to stop brand devaluation?

  78. Hi Jenna-

    Simply do a ‘hard reset’, and it’ll set everything back to the factory defaults. Enjoy!

    Hi Eric-

    The price increases are due to Garmin stopping production of the units back in the fall. With them being out close to 6 years now, they’ve moved on a bit.

  79. does this have the calorie counter build in?

  80. Michael Graham

    I’ve had my Garmin 305 for 30 months. I’ve put about 7000 miles on during that time or roughly 1000 hours of watch use. The battery no longer holds a charge for more than an hour. I’ve followed the cleaning instructions/updating that Garmin suggested without any improvement. Is that battery life normal? I’ve loved the watch and would order another, but I had thought it would last longer.

  81. Wenceslasz

    Hi. I just bought a Forerunner 305 and I’ve been able to get it started and running ok but when I tried to import my first few workouts on SportTracks it said I didn’t have a Garmin Communicator Plugin. I went to the site they recommended and downloaded it (twice) and it still can’t find it. In SportTracks when I look at “plugins” it says I have the latest Garmin GPS Plugin installed.

    I was able to import the sessions on the Garmin Training Centre – just not SportTracks.

    Any suggestions? I also was wondering if the Forerunner automatically recharges while pluged in to the computor? And does it tell me when it is finished? Thanks for your help and great site.

    George Z.

  82. Milosz

    Hey RainMaker, i am just preparing to get FR305 and am confused whether it will work OK with Mac OS Lion 10.7.3? cannot find this information anywhere. Would be awesome if you could help.
    Thank you for all your great reviews!

  83. whats going on here with the price

    Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor
    by Garmin
    4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2,269 customer reviews) |
    List Price: $299.99
    Price: $269.95 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. Details

  84. The price increases you are seeing is due to the unit no longer being made. They ceased production late last summer, so all units out there nowadays are holdovers from prior to that. At this point, I’d recommend folks looking for a budget triathlon watch, to look at the Timex Global Trainer. It’s $130ish most of the time. Check out the review on the sidebar. Enjoy!

  85. Thanks for the great review! I lost my 305, sadly, but have a chance to get a 205 for super cheap – any idea what functions I’ll be missing out on if I go with the older 205 model instead of just replacing my 305?

  86. The FR205 can’t connect to a HR strap or other ANT+ accessories. Otherwise, the same watch.

  87. Nick 2012

    Which watch do you think is better,
    305 or 210?

  88. Totally different.

    The FR210 is newer, slimmer, but also with far less features and customization.

    Yet, the FR305 is bulkier, older, less integration with newer software…but, more features.

    Personally, if you’re a runner first, then I’d go with the FR210 instead. The FR305 isn’t being made anymore (stopped making them approx. a year ago), so support is going to get pretty slim these days.

  89. Nikos21

    wow! thank you very much for your direct answer!
    But the 305 costs 110euro
    and the 210 costs 195euro
    so i dont know which to prefer.

    Thank you very much for your incredible blog!

  90. Holy cow.

    Well, in that case – go for the FR305 and enjoy!

  91. Anonymous

    hi there
    been lurking around for a while… my FR305 has lasted YEARS! but alas, the side buttons are not functioning any longer..
    curious to know your thoughts on what would be a comparable upgrade for road run/cycle use only?

    • DC Rainmaker

      I’d look at the Timex Global trainer. Check out the front page right now for the Black Friday deals, one place has it down to $110. Enjoy!

  92. thocloryprozy


  93. Eric

    I’ve had mine for 4 yrs now, and after lots of abuse the battery life was down to about 3hrs, 4hrs max if I turned off HR and set contrast to about 25%…

    Don’t bother with Garmin for a replacement, too expensive for what the watch is worth by now. But $2.99 for an ipod mini battery and some soldering work and I’m back up to 12hrs and still showing 2 bars in the battery life window…

  94. elreytabal

    Hello. Nice Blog!!!

    Could someone let me know how I get a software for the garmin 305? I bought one but didnt bring the softwere, and I couldnt download and make it work one yet.


  95. Matthew from Indonesia

    Hi Rainmaker, great review, i got my FR305 since 2011, and early this year sudently it cannot find the sattelite, the wierdest thing is that it happen during my warm up, then I restart it but still lost the connection to the sattelite. I’ve try hard restart but not help. Email the offiial garmin Indonesia and they say they no longer produce the parts for FR305. I try so many thins even let it search for the sattelite up to 2 hour in open space, but still no connection. Can you help?

    • DC Rainmaker

      Eek. Unfortunately, if you’ve tried a hard reset, that’s about where it ends for most troubleshooting.

      It may just be that after three years, something has broken inside the unit. One other thought would be to try the Garmin forums: forums.garmin.com – as someone there may have had a creative solution.


  96. Great, detailed and geeky review! I’m in the market for a “running watch” that does heart rate and the 305 keeps coming across my radar. Sure it’s not as fancy as some of the current stuff, but I see a number of these used. It might be what I’m looking for. Thanks for the great review.

  97. Egon

    Great Review as all your reviews are!
    Based on the review of the FR610 I decided to go for the FR610….until I read this review and found a used FR305 on the internet for US$120 (90 euro). Because some my friends are using the FR305 you can imagine that it was clear for me to gor the FR305. It saved me also a fair 185 Euro (US$235)

  98. Josh

    I began running in about march of 2011. Shortly thereafter I bought my 305 on the recommendations of several folks. It’s been with me thru hundreds of training runs, several half marathons, 5 and 10ks, and one marathon. As I geared up to begin training for my next 26.2 recently, I was convinced I needed the newest and best watch. After trying another watch during a couple runs, I now remember why I love my 305. Back to the store the other watch went. I await my recent amazon orders for the quick release Velcro watch band, and the new garmin HRM3 band to replace my original hr monitor strap. Hoping my trusty 305 will be with me for years to come. I’m currently testing it’s ability as an everyday watch but need to see what it does to battery life. Thanks again and any suggestions you may have or other updates to your review are great!

    • DC Rainmaker

      The best bet for increasing the battery life on the FR305 is definitely to disable the GPS (go into indoor mode), which should more than double it, getting you about a days worth.

  99. Tanya

    loved the information on the multisport function and have started using that and shown a few friends the function as well….however, for some reason Garmin Connect is saying that I cannot upload any of these activities….any suggestions on what might be the problem?
    05/01/2013 05:30:57 PM 00:33:44

    04/27/2013 08:04:16 AM 01:05:06

  100. Elyn

    Love my Forerunner 305 but at 2 years it’s starting to get a little wonky. Probably time to move on. Any suggestions as to what watch–I’m strictly a runner but definitely like having pace alerts and being able to program in workouts. I like the big display on the 305.

  101. Chris

    It rarely happens that a 6 year old product review is still so relevant. This is by far the best and most detailed review I have found. I have been contemplating getting a GPS enabled heart monitor, and I think this review may just have helped make my mind up.

  102. Bob

    How do I replace the battery in my Garmin Forerunner 305? Thank you.

    • DC Rainmaker

      Unfortunately there is no method to replace it (supported). You can ring Garmin support and I think they have some program, but it may cost as much as a new watch.

  103. Michal


    I just got a new wheelset today with the cycle ops powertap hub and I was hoping to use the 305 to connect with it but looks like I cannot. Is there really no way (tweaks to the unit) that it would show the power meter readings?

    Thank you

    • DC Rainmaker

      No, unfortunately the FR305 doesn’t support power meters. The first unit to do so was the FR310XT (for triathlon). The cheapest option out there today is the Garmin Edge 500.

  104. Roger


    Watch (FR305) took a leap from my son’s hands tonight while in transport to me and landed on the garage floor. Everything seems fine except no sound. Any suggestions? As a long time reader I found this to be a sad panda moment.

    • Eek, Sad Panda indeed!

      I’m not aware of anything to do to fix the sound, though I have heard of others losing audio upon hard knocks. You could try a soft reset, but honestly I wouldn’t expect it to fix it (as it’s probably a hardware aspect at this point).


  105. juancho valle

    a friend is selling his FR305, and timex global all 2nd hand. which do you think you will prefer me to buy?

    thank you and God bless!

  106. JohnT

    Sorry to ask, I am sure it is above somewhere but i cannot find it, how long will a 305 go between charging, whilst being used. ie long distance cycling


  107. Eugene

    My FR305 kinda died recently…

    1) When put on charging cradle…it will not charge
    2) When I try to power up using the power button..it will not power up. BUT I’m able to do a soft reset using the Mode and Reset buttons..and then it will start to locate satellites.
    3) But during the locating stage, all other buttons are not responding (e.g the up/down buttons to see the signal strength or the mode button to skip to main screen…

    Anyone having same issue and found a fix? Not sure is it sweat went in through the speaker at the back of the watch and corroded the circuit board?

  108. Alan

    I have a 305 and am doing a physical agility test for Search and Rescue this Saturday. Do you know if you can set the watch to do intervals and still be able to see the total time and pace while the interval is running? Thank you.

  109. Angela Core

    I enjoyed reading your review. I have had my FR305 for four years and it was great until a month ago. When i try to set the intervals, it just sends out this long beep. I’ve done a soft and a hard reset. I’ve also updated all software! Nothing has worked. Do you have any suggestions?

    • If you’ve done both hard and soft resets, that’s about the extend of troubleshooting I’ve got. I’d try and ring up Garmin support. You’ll get a human on the phone pretty quickly and be off and cooking.

  110. colin

    Does the Garmin 305 support Ant or do I have to upgrade to the 910xt (using for triathlon)?

    • Yes, it supports ANT+ accessories (Speed/Cadence sensor, Footpod, and Heart rate strap). It does not suppor either the ANT+ power meter nor swimming functionality (on wrist).

  111. colin

    Can I use the 305 with trainer road?

  112. Stephen Porter

    Your site is amazing–I don’t know how you get all this done while maintaining a day job AND athletic activities.

    My question: I almost bought a new 210 at REI, but decided to do more research. For some reason, I like the overall look and everything about the 305 and have been checking eBay for a good deal on a used one. I’ve passed up a couple of FR 210’s (used) for about the same price as 305’s. I’m not a real serious runner–more of a hiker. I’ve been using my Nexus 4 phone with Strava, Endomondo and others, but those apps seem to have a lot of flakiness and they also only support BT 2.0 HRM’s–and they are foot-dragging on getting BT LE integration. So I’m looking for a good deal on an FR to provide better GPS stability, and pairing it with a Viiiva HRM. So I’d have a single HRM that would work with the Edge 500, a FR AND (eventually) the Nexus 4. Would you recommend I continue to focus on a used 305, a 210 or possibly something else. TIA for any input you can give.


  113. So I’m still on my original 305, mainly because I’m too cheap to buy a newer Garmin. The only problem I’ve been having is that the rubber in between the holes on the watch strap breaks. I’m on my second rubber watch strap, and I don’t really want to buy a third. Are there any alternate watch bands?

  114. Ted

    Hey Ray,

    I was reading through the Fenix 2 review and got nostalgic and decided to check out this review as I’ve got an F2 coming to replace my good old 305. Looking at the 1,000+ comments from the F2 preview kinda funny to think that getting more than 200 comments was a big deal just a couple years ago. Keep up the good work!

  115. Haroldo

    I have a 305 and just purchased a Fenix 2 but will continue to use the 305 for several things. After all it is a very good watch and is still in perfect conditions.

    I have a footpod which I have not used with the FR305 while outdoors because i have seen written in some Forums that when you use a footpod outdoors with the 305 it will default to the footpod for distance/pace/speed/cadence instead of using GPS for those things and using the footpod only for cadence. Is that correct?

  116. Lewis

    Rainmaker, I have not seen any posts since 3/23/14. I hope you remain active as I have learned so much thanks to your generosity and knowledge. Please keep up the great work

  117. Lewis

    Very new to the sport and this wonderful blog, as will be reflected in my question: If the FR305 is discontinued (and thus not supported by Garmin?) what is your recommended replacement/advice for a rec. runner who is mainly interested in cardiac-related data/values that can be analyzed graphically, printed, and stored (eg, HR max, min, average pace, etc. ? I do not require GPS data but if I need that to gain access to use of superior software, so be it. (I was thinking about the FR70 with foot pod. Your thoughts?) Thanks.

  118. FredL

    Just got a new road bike and looking to upgrade my current GPS watch selection. I have a Forerunner 110 which I love for the size and “simplicity”, I loathe it’s charging clip / sync clip. I also have a Forerunner 305 which is great because it works with my ant+ cadence sensor, charge/sync cradle is also really good. I also have the Vivofit which I love for it’s extreme ease of use and simple syncing. Big bonus for not requiring charging. Lastly I have a Garmin Swim for tracking indoor swims. I love the simple sync and no charging required.

    It is 2014 now and I would like to have a watch which will work with cadence sensor and feature live tracking so my family can track me on my rides. I haven’t used any of the advanced features of the 305 like virtual race, etc or training courses. I track distance, time, speed or pace and sometimes heart rate for hikes, runs, bike rides, cross country skiing, kayaking.

    I have an iPhone 4S and wife also has an iPhone. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is there a 305 sucessor with live tracking? Fenix?

  119. Gareth

    Hi DCrainmaker:
    Thanks for your review of the Forerunner 305. I have owned mine for five years and love it. But, one major failing is that there seems to be no way to annotate a workout. I’d like to be able to make some notes. For instance, whether I was doing a run with a particular pair of shoes. Or whether I was purposefully going slowly on a particular day. Or whether I was running alone or with a partner. Etc. Such notes are very helpful when trying to look at historic data. To be able to include only certain runs (say all with shoe pair A) to compare to those runs with shoe pair B. Whatever.
    So, my question is whether Garmin’s new software is going to have this capabilty? Or, should I upgrade to a new device to get that capability in the software? Or, is there an after market software that can do this?
    Thanks much!

  120. Bren

    I am wondering about waterproofness. I need to use this for a canoe sport. I outrigger canoe so it will get splashed on but not immersed unless I flip the canoe in the river. Thanks for the insight

    • The FR305 is waterproofed to IPX7, which means it can go 30 minutes at 1-meter deep (non-swimming though, due to the whacking of the water). So flipping over and splashing should generally be fine (I’ve used my FR305 on my kayak in the past without issue).

  121. Adam

    Hi Ray,

    Since You have been long time user of 305, maybe You heard (or experienced Youself) about problems with side buttons (the rubber ones). My already 6y old 305 is still working perfect, but I “lost” two side buttons (Mode and Enter). The rubber got old and they simply stopped “clicking”. I tried with something harder than my fingers and ended up pushing in the rubber pieces all the way inside, which later resulted in having to remove them. Anyway, the final effect is that my 305 doesnot have these buttons at all and I have to use a small pen (or anything similar) to be able to “press” these two buttons.
    So, I was wondering if You have any idea how I could “rebuild them” :-P? Not to achieve anything like full functional watch again (forgetting waterproofing of course), but at least being able to control the watch at minimum level. I got new device, but its a shame that fully capable 305 is not being used just because of two small pieces of rubber.
    Any ideas?

    cheers, Adam

    • Hi Adam-

      Hmm, I haven’t had to do it myself, and while I’ve somewhat occasionally heard of people in similiar situations, I don’t think i’ve seen any specific ideas.

      That said – you might want to browse over to the Garmin Forums and the FR305 forum, if you haven’t already. Usually folks there have tried some pretty creative things…

  122. TonyH

    Hi Ray,

    Purely based on gps accuracy, would you still advice this watch in 2014? I can buy it in the UK but it costs more than the 310XT.
    But I read a lot of positive user experiences, even people using this watch for 5 years!
    I would need to import the data into Rubitrack.
    Please react.

    • While you could buy it and it’ll work just fine, it’s almost always more expensive than a FR310XT, and it’s far less capable. I’d always recommend a FR310XT over a FR305.

  123. TonyH

    Thank you very much !

  124. Jenny

    I think that, sadly, it’s time to retire my 305 after 6+ years of service. It charges through USB but it isn’t recognized anymore by Garmin Connect or TC. “There was a problem while communicating with your device.” None of the solutions found on message boards solved my problem. :(

    It is solely a running watch for me (can’t swim and don’t own a bike). I use it for pace, HR, distance, time. Nothing special. I am pretty cheap so I’m thinking a used 210 on eBay will be next watch. Do you think the 220 has any extra features that are with the higher price?

    • It depends on whether you want custom workouts (you had that on your FR305), or if you want Bluetooth Smart uploading via your phone (on the FR220 as well).

    • Jenny

      I like to be able to have Distance, Time, Heart Rate Avg, Heart Rate Lap, Current Heart Rate, Current Pace, Average Pace, and Lap Pace whilst running. Then the ability to upload results to my computer and review heart rate performance throughout each run.

      I don’t have plans to integrate with a phone or do custom workouts.

      So after typing that all out, I think I need a fairly basic GPS watch w/HRM.

    • Yup, I’d agree. Check out something like the FR15 or TomTom Runner.

  125. Andy

    Can the 305 connect to a HRM and footpod at the same time while gps is switched on. I cant get my 305 to pair with a Micoach footpod, the watch freezes every time and I have to restart the watch. The 305 works perfectly with the footpod accessory setting set to off though.

  126. Melanie A. Chatman

    I am fairly new to running. I bought a 305 in 2007 for a breast cancer walk and have used it off and on since. Anyhoo- I would like to know what watch you would recommend for daily activity-steps/walking/running/heart rate/treadmill/swimming and is able to be programmed for intervals such as run 4 mins walk 1 min. Is there such a thing? lol I would like the HR monitor to be a wrist if possible. The chest strap aggravates my skin even when layered. I may be asking a lot! I have read your review on the forerunner15 and the tom-tom multisport cardio and mio. Thank you

  127. lyndsay

    I appreciate your reviews. they are very helpful! I recently purchased a FR305 on ebay. Am I missuing something or is it not possible to turn GPS off? Do you have to use the foot pod accessory for treadmill use?

  128. lyndsay

    Thank you! I did find where to turn GPS off. Sorry! I swear I’d flipped through every menu 5 times and couldn’t see it! Ha! One more probably silly question. On other models I’ve used there is a display option for calories. I do kick-boxing and other cross training several times a week. Wondering if there’s a way to track calories with the heart rate monitor. I cannot find a display option for calories on the 305. Thanks for your time!

  129. Noel

    It’s easy to replace the FR305’s battery (mine swelled & popped the case open). An Ipod mini battery fits and only costs ~$5. You will have to remove small plastic post that the watch has to position the original battery but then the Ipod Mini battery fits easily. Even better, the Ipod mini battery has nearly twice the capacity of the original Garmin battery.

    The Ipod Mini battery has a Molex 3-pin connector on its wires (white/black/red. Only the black & red wires are used in the FR305). Mouser Electronics ( http://www.mouser.com ) sell the matching wire-to-wire connector & crimps (Molex pn: 51047-0300, crimps are either pn: 50058-8100 or pn: 50133-8100, I forget which). For a dollar or so in parts you can fit the new battery without soldering and in future replace the battery with a simple unplug the old, plug in the new…

    * cut the original battery’s wires close to the battery,
    * attach the Molex crimps to the FR305’s black & red wires,
    * insert the crimps in the housing (make sure you match wire colours & position)
    * plug in the new battery
    * use some double sided tape to stick the new battery into the lower case, and tuck the wires into the available space around the battery,
    * use a bead of silicone sealer to glue the case halves back together. Clamp, tape or hold the halves under some pressure until the silicone cures.

    Using the Molex connector eliminates the need for soldering & insulation tape/shrink tubing *and* if/when the replacement battery dies, it’s a simple matter to unplug it and plug in a new one.

    The most difficult part is stripping the tiny wires and then attaching the 2 crimps. A 2nd person with tweezers helps to hold things until the crimps are er….crimped.

  130. Gord

    Can anyone help. …..Just tried a turbo session with a Speed/Cadence sensor but only got Cadence. I know it has worked in the past and it works on my 800, but I only get the cadence icon in the 305’s menu now.
    I had to revert to firmware version 2.8 in order to get my foot pod to give accurate readings and am wondering if the earlier firmware version did not support the speed or did it have a bug and was this added with the firmware update 2.9?
    Thanks in anticipation.

  131. Terry

    I loved my Forerunner 305 so much that when it dies I searched high and low for a replacement, however the data field that I loved so much was average speed, however this new one does not have it. I have made sure that it has the latest software…

    Any ideas…

  132. Scott B

    Thanks for your excellent reviews. I’m a long-time 305 user but my old faithful friend has been letting me down lately: My recent runs have not been transmitting the map data to Garmin Connect. Time and distance is accurate on the device and Connect but no map data at all.

    I thought that maybe I needed to delete my history since the 305 has such limited memory but that didn’t solve the problem. Don’t know why that would matter anyway though since I’ve been using my 305 for years without deleting history. It seems like this problem happens only once for every 5-7 activities with no apparent pattern.

    Any ideas or suggestions? I know I could upgrade to a newer model but the 305 does everything I need it to (except this problem!) Thanks for your help.

    • Gord

      Hi Scott. Im a long time user too – since 2006 and when I put my data onto strava some was missing the gps data, just had totals. I managed to retrieve a lot of it using the ‘restore’ function on Garmin Training Centre when I had save some data but not all of it and I still don’t know why I had lost some GPS data. There was also a ‘back up’ function on Training centre that i may have used.? I suspect it was overwritten but am not sure, perhaps using the 1 second data used too much memory.
      I recommend saving what you have…(UPLOAD it to Strava or Connect) and then deleting the old stuff and take it from there….
      ps …afaiaa.. connect history only goes back a couple of years whereas strava goes back to the earliest gps data available – which will probably be from 2005 – i have never seen any earlier.

    • Scott B

      Hi Gord, thanks for your response. It sounds like you had a similar experience to me with your historical data but in my situation, it’s still occurring. As recently as yesterday, I recorded an activity that had no map when i synced to GarminConnect. I use Strava too and the auto-sync to Strava didn’t work. When I tried to export the run from Garmin Connect and upload it manually to Strava, Strava won’t accept it because there is no map data.

      So anyway, I did a hard-reset on my 305 and set everything back up again. Hopefully my next run will record properly but if not, I guess it’ll be time to upgrade unfortunately.

    • Gord

      Is there a setting that says ‘overwrite’ when the memory is full. It does sound like it ran out of memory and maybe just stops recording.?
      Ive been thinking about an upgrade – this is my 6th 305, and always wanted temperature, but the Fenix seems to have too many problems…You can pick up 310XT very cheaply if you look around.

    • Scott B

      I’ve never seen such a setting but I’m sure it must do that automatically. After doing the hard-reset yesterday, I logged a run successfully today. So, hopefully all will be good now. We’ll see! Thanks for your responses.

      By the way Gord, why are you on your SIXTH 305 ?!

    • Gord

      Hi Scott – its a long story about my 6×305’s…if you really want the details let me know!!

      I had a look myself to see if there was a overwrite setting but there isn’t – I think there is on the 800. But there is an option of keeping the stored data for 3 different time periods.
      Glad you’ve got it sorted.

  133. Helle Lauridsen

    I am still using my 305 with my bike. I like it and would prefer not to have to buy a new garmin edge of some sort.

    But I have a problem with downloading a route i made in garmin connect to the watch. And then i read that it is not supported any more to download to garmin forerunner 305.

    So what to do? Any adwise? There got to be some other way!

    Love yout reveiws!

  134. david

    Is there a Garmin or any other GPS watch that has the same or similar VIRTUAL PARTNER/TRAINER training mode with an optical HRM?

  135. Jill

    Amazing detailed reviews!
    I have a hrm from the forerunner 305 I mean! Is his compatible with the 620?


  136. Andy Strojny

    What is current watch closest to the now discontinued Forerunner 305. I’m looking for a replacement.

  137. Noel D.

    hi DCR,
    thank you for writting this article, I got a forerrunner 305 and was concerned when I read that it was a discountinued product.
    The transparent information, the links and how-to-use instructions are great! I can’t wait to start using the device.
    The only thing I have found is that the laptop does not read/finds the device, the pod works as it charges the unit, perhaps I’ll try it again after downloading/connecting to ” garmin connect”
    thank you DCR!!!!

  138. Andrew

    Thanks for you incredibly detailed reviews. I couldn’t quite believe it when I first found your website!

    I’m getting a running watch for the first time, and have found a second hand 305 for a good price. One thing I’m keen on though is having instant pace from a footpod while outdoors. Does this have a speed source setting, like some other garmin watches?

    If not I’ll get refurbished fenix… I just wish the fenix had four data fields!

  139. Douglas

    Good morning, like many others below I picked up his watch second hand (the whole thing was together in the box still – I feel so lucky!)

    This post was a welcome tutorial – thank you! I may have some silly questions but I thought you might be the closest to being a person to have an answer.

    1) On the box there is a picture of the watch with 4 data fields and one is “Time To Go” and the other is “Water”. I can’t find those as options anywhere. When I start a workout I can get a screen that has two windows (‘time remaining’ which is not what it is called on the watch and ‘HR zone’ because that is what I select in the work out as my target). I would love to have a screen where ‘time remaining’, ‘lap time elapsed’, ‘over all time’, and HR are all together for quick review. Is this possible?

    And what is that ‘water’ field?


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  141. Neil

    Great review and clearly still relevant. One major point to make new owners aware of. It seems the latest MacOsX is no longer compatible so if you want to upload data you will probably have to do this via Windows (no issues with Win 10). This may end up being sorted between Garmin and Apple but if not, a potential big disappointment for Mac owners

    • misterdangerpants

      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!

  142. Marc

    I stopped reading after ‘wimpy east coast woods’….obviously the east coast deserves more respect than what you’re giving it. I would recommend you just move away from the east coast if you’re there, or just don’t go back if you’re not.

    • I regret to inform you, that by any measurable standard – the trees on the east coast are wimpy in comparison to west coast trees. It’s not really debatable.

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  144. Name

    Hi there. Any chance to compare this watch with FR 965? :) Or with any older (the oldest) watch you have? Just curious how the accuracy changed over time. Would be cool to also check the screen against Instinct 2x.

  145. Carolyn Swanson

    Just wanted to say thanks! I’ve been reading lots of your reviews lately. They’ve been very helpful. I’ve just purchased by first ever Garmin (or sports watch of any kind), a Forerunner 305 — arriving within the week. I know it’s an old model, but seems to have everything I need!