Forerunner 305

Review by planetFear
Wednesday 24th October 2007

Follow Up Review

I’ve now been using my Forerunner 305 for over a year. It’s become an integral part of my training regime and knowing precisely how far, how fast and how hard I’ve been going, whether running or biking has been great.

There are two comments that I feel are important to share.

The battery life is supposed to be 10 hours. Well it’s nothing like that, and consistently my 305 dies after about 5 hours. The 5 hour battery life I’ve experienced is under normal British weather conditions and temperatures. This is the biggest disappointment with the product as far as I am concerned.

On the positive side, I did need to speak to Garmin’s technical support recently and they were very helpful and very knowledgeable, which makes a change to most technical support phone lines!

Original review 15th January 2007

I’ve been using my Forerunner 305 for over 3 months now so feel I can give a fairly comprehensive review of the product. First of all, straight out of the box, I was able to turn it on, follow the on screen instructions and play. Nice and simple, easy to use, which is just want you want with a new toy! So, full marks for easy of use.

The 305 is designed to give runners, bikers or any active person who is interested in improving their training efficiency real-time information about their pace, speed, distance covered and heart rate. The 305 display can be easily changed allowing you to view a huge variety of different information. For example, I’ve set up mine to display race information in the first window, which for me is simply current pace and a stop watch. In the second window I have an altimeter and distance information which is very useful for mountain marathons. In the third window I have training information such as current heart rate, average heart rate, current speed and average speed. You can display up to five different sets of information in three different windows (15 in total)!

The Training Centre software that comes with the 305 is again nice and simple to use and will allow you to quickly start analysing your training. You’ll be able to view pace, distance covered, average speed, heart rate etc. In fact, there is so much information available you could easily spend more time analysing than training!

Garmin state that the chips used to power the satellite acquisition of the 305 are much better than previous models, particularly in built-up urban areas and woodland. Although I am unable to make a direct comparison to another GPS training device I can say that I’ve experienced no problems while using the device to record my training around the roads and woodlands of Sheffield.

Apparently there is some navigation functionality built into the 305 but I haven’t explored that yet as this is far from what I wanted the device to do, and let’s face it a map and compass is still much quicker than a GPS for navigating.

The 305 has a digitally coded heart rate monitor that straps round your chest. Because it’s digitally coded you shouldn’t get interference from other heart rate monitors if you are training with other people using similar devices. The data from the monitor is impressive and it’s the combination of the heart rate monitor and the GPS that makes the 305 such a useful training tool.

The Alerts function allows you to set an alarm if your speed, pace or a multitude of other factors that you can select, falls outside certain parameters. For example, over the Christmas holiday I ran from Falmouth (in Cornwall) back to my parents’ house, which is a distance of 5.5 miles. I wanted to have a good steady run and simply set a minimum pace alarm of 7 minute/miles. As I ran home, every time my pace fell below this the device bleeped (very loudly) and bullied me to run faster. I was a bit disappointed by just how much it was bulling me as I ran! If I had simply been timing my run I would have been a little disappointed with my time, but thanks to the GPS function I realised my total height gain during the run had been 1650ft. Suddenly 7 minute/mile pace seemed ok!

One of the small irritations about the Forerunner 305 is that if you set off before the device has had a chance to acquire a satellite signal, once you are moving it simply will not acquire any signal. Therefore you need to ensure that you turn on the device and leave it outside for 2–3 minutes before you intend to start exercising.

Finally, in terms of niggles the 305 doesn’t display your total ascent in the history files stored on the unit, which is one of the first things I want to know when I finish a hilly run (they are all hilly runs in Sheffield!). To access this data you need to plug the device to your computer and use the Training Centre software.

Overall, the 305 is a very impressive device that has helped to improve the efficiency of my training and also allow me to record and analyse each training session in detail.

Highly recommended.

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