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While most people would ask for a party, lots of alcohol or a fancy car for their 18th birthday, I asked for money to buy myself a Garmin Forerunner 305 Wrist-Worn GPS Personal Training Device with Heart Rate Monitor.
I had read about these wonderful gadgets on a running forum, and as a keen runner and cyclist, with a love for numbers, I wanted one. The Garmin Forerunner 305 is one in a range of gadgets for athletes, which help you record every step you run/cycle/walk.
This is an amazing gadget, that is worn on the wrist like a watch, and although it does tell the time, it also tells me much more interesting data. The data is achieved by using GPS Satellite signals, to plot where you are and your speed etc. All sorts of information can be recorded, such as distance, speed, lap rate, number of calories burnt, maximum pace etc.
It is also possible to run a track one day, and on another occasion, set the watch to race yourself, so using your exact movements on a previous day, as a virtual training partner. It is a great feeling to beat yourself, and see how your fitness is improving! You can also do things like set it you return home (just in case you were to get lost!), and it will direct you all the way. The voice is not as annoying as in a car sat-nav though!
It is powered by a lithium ion battery, which is recharged by placing the watch onto the docking station and plugging into a USB port or into the main electricity. The screen does look big, but it is just the right size for me to be able to see everything. There are training plans online which can be downloaded onto the forerunner 305, or you can make your own and set it to beep every minute for example, or every mile.
The weight of the item is 77g, which is not too much to have on your wrist, and after wearing it a couple of times, I didn't even feel it. The heart rate monitor is a band that is easily clasped around my chest, and it transmits data to the watch to show my heart rate. This is great for people who like to exercise to a certain heart rate, as well as to monitor your heart rate throughout the session.
Garmin Training Centre is a programme which is included on the accompanying CD, and after plugging the forerunner and docking station into the USB port of my computer, I very quickly get all the recorded information onto the screen, where I get several graphs, showing everything from my heart rate, speed, max./min. pace etc. and the map of where I went.
Appart from the included heart rate monitor, several other items can be purchased to use with the forerunner 305, including a bike mount (to attach it to your handlebars should you not wish to have it on your wrist) and a cadence monitor (to accurately measure how many times your legs go around in a minute, and so how hard you are cycling).
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is currently available from amazon.co.uk marketplace for £119.99.
I have now had my watch for 2 years, and use it regularly, both in the UK and abroad and have never had any problems. It picks up signal quickly, the battery lasts ages, and I love looking at all the figures and the graphs I get when I get home. I never run or cycle without it, and it is also great when Im out on a leisurely walk as well. It also has settings for skiing although I have never used them.
6/5 Dooyoo stars!!
I use the Garming Forerunner 305 for just about everything physical I do and it stands up to the test, It will keep up with me on the bike, it helps me with my averages when Im running, It serves me a lot better than screens on most of if not all of the indoor cardio equipment, it also comes in very handy when im lost with its own little maps feature, It is compatible with Strava which is important if you are competitive as you can post all of your times and training regimes and share them on facebook. The battery lasts about 8 hours and the watch itself isnt a burden to wear even though it looks big, it integrates with the Heart rate monitor almost seamlessly although it takes a while to load satellites.
The controllers are very use friendly and the screen can be customised to whatever you see fit for it to read, customisation is easy and it is not hard to see even the smaller screens whilst doing your exercise. With the release of newer models these are coming down in price quite quickly, one is definately worth a purchase if your serious about training.
I bought the Garmin 305 just after Christmas. My new year's resolution was to get out and do some more running. I've always been a keen runner however I struggle for motivation some times and that was the driving reason for purchasing this watch. The main thing I wanted was a watch which would tell me how far I'd ran, the time it had taken me and how many feet I'd climbed. I wanted all this for around the £100 mark.
The initial pictures of the 305 made it look quite bulky and cumbersome however I was quite surprised when I got it out the box as to how compact and user friendly it was. With all the varying functions that it provides it would have been easy for Garmin to make it far too complicated to operate and alienated the less computer proficient of us, however they have done a very good job of making it simple and easy to use.
When the watch is first switched on it locates the satellites which track you as you run. It usually takes the watch about 2 minutes to locate them however that varies each time. If you live in a built up area you may have to find a more open space in order for the watch to locate the satellites quickly.
Once on, the watch has a quick start function which is the one I primarily use. It allows the user to just select the displays they want to see such as distance, time, and speed and then just start running. This is an ideal function for me as I'm not really one for changing settings and messing around with these things, I like to just switch on and get going. If your training requires more than just basic long distance running then the watch also provides a much more focused training package. The watch comes with software to upload to your computer. This software is in fact a virtual personal trainer and you program what workouts you wish to do on which day of the month. There are multiple workout types to choose from such as interval training, fartlek training etc. all of which are edited by yourself to suit your needs. These are then uploaded to the watch and away your go. I was particularly impressed when I realised that this function was available. The whole system is very user friendly and workouts can be planned long in advance allowing future goals to be met.
Another feature I was impressed with was the ability to automatically request the watch to stop the timer when you stop running. This is beneficial in built up areas when you have to cross roads or wait on traffic and ensures that your time isn't effected due to these unforeseen circumstances.
Upon completion of your run you are able to upload the route to Google earth so you can see exactly where you ran. The Software also shows you your pace at varying points of the run and which parts you struggled on the most.
One thing I wasn't really impressed with was the heart rate monitor. Rather than being built into the watch which would be more desirable it is in fact a band which you strap round your chest. I personally don't like this and find it uncomfortable but it does work and is effective.
What I've noticed the most since buying this watch is my eagerness to get out and run. I no longer feel like I have to stick to the same old routes anymore, I can leave the beaten path and venture further afield and still be sure that I've run the distance I want. I can even plan a route on the computer before, upload it to the watch and then it will tell me which way to go.
I seem to kick the trend here in that I don't really run, i've been jogging maybe twice in the last year.
I bought the garmin based on reviews on dooyoo hoping to get a bit fit for the summer holidays. A fortnight in and im sad to say I've given up already, but at no fault of the garmin. If anything it was the only reason I went out in the first place
My first impression was that the, well, "watch" I suppose was pretty huge on my wrist. I've got quite skinny arms and so it looked oversized. Perhaps theres a womens version out there, but its certainly a bit big for what it does. That said it is quite pretty.
The think that made me choose this, over say the Nike addition for iPod is that its on your wrist, there's no pulling an iPod out to see how you're doing. Just a quick glance at your wrist and you can instantly see things such as heart rate, average speed, distancde travelled. I found this useful, if not a little overwhelming with the amount of stuff.
To get a heart rate, Garmin provide a chest strap. I found it a little imposing, perfectly good heart rates can be obtained from the wrist, or even the thumb, these seem like far more sensible things to have than a strap restricting breathing whilst you're trying to exercise. I don't really bother with the strap at all, if im honest, i've got no need to know that im running at 70% of my max heart rate. Though I suppose having payed a premium for the Garmin, it would be nice to be able to use all its features.
My favourite thing about the Garmin is its connectivity to my laptop. It's useful in refining how you run. When I started with my first jog ( wearing the hr strap) I seen that I ran at constantly different speeds and that my heart rate fluctuated wildly. Afteer a few more tries, I managed to get myself running more or less at a constant average speed.
All in all, the watch is a pretty good motivator. I can see its uses if one were say training for a marathon. Personally I dont think it's a substitute for a personal trainer yelling at you to run faster, but it does the trick. I'm told that theres also additional "bits and bobs" for using it cycling etc.
I seem to be the exception here in that I don't use my Garmin Forerunner 305 for running!
In fact I use it for 2 things - horseriding and walking. However, much of my experience with it applies to all.
It is quite large as a watch, but light to wear although bulky. Therefore it is not really cumbersome, if it were any smaller it would be difficult to use as it needs some space for the display, function buttons etc.
It comes with a little cradle and wire for connection to a PC or power when it needs re-charging.
This is a great piece of kit. It measures time, speed, distance and will give you max speed and calories used info. It also has an easy to use lap function. When I first got it I just wanted to get on with it and have a go and this was very easy to do with a few simple instructions. It held all the info on my rides/walks so when I was ready to investigate further it was simple to download them all onto the software provided.
You can also use Garmin Connect (as I was made aware of by a previous reviewer - thanks) for more detailed data analysis and also, most helpfully for me, to have the routes overlaid onto Google mapping.
It is very easy to compare routes so if you do the same route several times you can easily see how you are improving each time.
It has a heart rate monitor which I haven't used to date but plan to work out if I can connect it to my horse as I am more concerned with her heart rate than mine for what I do!
If you are a rider who keeps their horses event fit this is a really useful gadget. As it measures speed, you can use it to ensure that your galloping speed is correct for whatever level you are eventing at without having to tediously measure a distance and time yourself over it (as is the common way for a lot of riders to do it). This will tell you how far you've been on every ride and record the route for you so you know which ones are the best fittening routes. It even records elevation which is great for measuring hillwork.
I use the lap counter for switching paces - so I can keep a track of average walk/trot/canter/gallop speeds.
This might sound a bit weird for most of the people reading this but for any riders who find this review, they will understand what a revelation this is for us!
I also use it for walking (I walk the dogs and use that as my fitness routine) as I can then challenge myself to walk the same distances with better speeds.
It's pretty pricey at around £150 so not a cheap bit of kit but well worth the money if you get a lot of use out of it.
Also posted on Ciao
This is by far and away the best fitness purchase I have ever made. The GPS on it works brilliantly, it integrates with Google maps and you can upload your data to analyse all of your data and see how you progress over time. Unless you are a hardcore triathelete who might be more tempted by the 310XT model, I would recommend this watch to anyone, from a couch potato simply thinking that it would be nice to start exercising (like I was), to a committed jogger or cyclist who wants to measure their performance and keep improving.
Having owned a Polar F60 heart rate monitor for a few years in an attempt to boost my fitness, its motivational effects soon wore off as I found the data it yielded to be very limited and it didn't tell me a lot about what I had done. Not so with the Garmin!
As many other places will tell you, leave this by a window or on your front porch while you get changed and it should have a lock on your position after 90 seconds. After this point, it is very accurate - to test this, I jogged around a tree trunk and the tiny loop showed up on the map of my run.
The strap is very comfortable and easily adjustable, but without it working loose during a jog. It is advisable to adjust this so it feels loose when you first put it on since as you exercise you will find that your chest expands by this amount. The sensor is accurate and, unlike the Polar models, you can very easily access the battery to change it when needed.
The watch unit
This is highly customisable and it is clear that a great deal of thought has been put into the display, training options and even the ergonomics of the unit itself. While bulky, it fits very comfortably on the wrist and there is even an extra-long watch strap and tool for swapping the straps in case you have the forearms of a Goliath!
The display itself is fully customisable in that you can select any output to display on one screen, up to a maximum of four.
In terms of workouts, I generally only use the basic workout routines, in which I can state distance and desired time or pace, and then press go to start my jog. However, there is plenty more functionality and with the supplied software you really can create any routine you like, based on the variables of heart rate and speed over a set distance or time.
Software / Internet
The software which comes with the watch allows you to program various workouts and also display the data recorded from the watch, breaking the information down according to laps. It looks and feels a bit outdated now, which is no problem as there is a replacement service called Garmin Connect which allows you to upload and analyse data on Garmin's own website. You have your own username and login, so there are no privacy fears here, and the web version integrates with the latest version of Google maps and includes a player function, where you can review your course and see how your heart rate fluctuations correspond to the terrain and elevation, or your speed.
Value for money
At around £130, this is not cheap. However, it packs in so many powerful features into such a user-friendly format that it certainly represents excellent value for money. For me, it has motivated me to exercise more frequently and has let me see for myself how my fitness has increased. Compared to the cost of any other means of getting me to improve my fitness, it is an absolute bargain!
Overall, a fantastic product that enhances any outdoor exercise experience and helps you keep motivated and improve.
I'd describe myself as a runner, but a runner who runs for fun. I don't really compete - I've done a marathon, half marathon, a few 10Ks and a few 5Ks but I wasn't exactly among the leading pack!
But I do enjoy running, and I think anyone who gets into any sport, I want to be the best I can be at it.
Anyone who has trained using a running training plan will know how complicated it can be - the plan will say things like @8 minute/ mile pace, or at 80% of maximum heart rate. Even just knowing exactly how many miles you are doing (without having to go out in the car and measure it on the speedo) is hard work.
A friend suggested that we get the Forerunner watch and heart rate monitor, and it has been a really worthwhile purchase.
It does everything we need, measuring time elapsed, average speed, measures height (useful for when you are wondering why you've suddenly dropped pace!) and distance covered.
I'm not so keen on having the heart rate monitor around my chest, but I've not really given it too much of a chance. I tend to let my girlfriend wear it when we are running, and although she didn't really like it at first, she has got used to it now. I imagine that if I used it for long enough, I'd be the same - but I find that it feels too restrictive around my chest, or too loose (in which case I expect it to fall down and worry about it). Other friends have said it's not bothered them either. Either way, it's not really a problem though, since you can use the watch without the heart rate monitor, which is what I tend to do unless I am training for a specific heart rate zone.
The watch is pretty chunky on your wrist, but it's not particularly heavy and the weight is definitely not noticeable when you are running. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but most people I know who run regularly don't really care what they look like when they are out pounding the streets. The screen is big enough that you can see most of the information without breaking stride. The only bit that is hard to see on the standard display is the heart rate - but that's not really a problem for me, not wearing the monitor! There is a light, but sometimes it's pretty hard to see quickly in really low level light, but as soon as you go under a street light you will be able to find out where you are up to. You can rearrange the data that is shown on the front screen too, to make sure you are seeing the things that are important to you and your workout.
I've found that the best and most useful part of the Forerunner though, is the software and the link to the computer. You put the watch onto the little docking station (which also charges the watch battery) and it immediately uploads all your recent runs data since last upload. From there, you can see the routes you ran, the distance, the height climbed, your heart rate etc. It's a really good way to chart your progress and see how you are improving, why you found a certain part hard, the areas you need to work on etc. For example, we found that my girlfriend runs solid average speed, no matter whether going up hill, down hill or flat, whereas I (wierdly) tend to up my pace - which I guess comes from trying to 'beat the hill'. These are things we wouldn't have known without the assistance of the training watch.
There are lots of other tricks that the personal training watch can do, most of which we've not even got to yet. You can add a bicycle attachment to allow you to get more out of your cycling work outs. We've not done this yet, so I can't comment on how well this works, but I'm considering investing in this, so if I do I'll come back and update!
The satellite is pretty good. Even running around the park, the GPS doesn't lose me. Sometimes the watch finds it hard to initially locate satellites, but I've now discovered that if you leave it by the window while you are lacing up your trainers it will be ready by the time you are all set to leave the house.
You can set the watch up to compete against your former run, to work as a proper training partner, setting goals and challenges, or use the software to create your own individual training plan which you can then upload to the watch. It really is very very clever - giving you beeps if you go outside of your training zone (really good if you are doing interval training etc.)
Like I said at the beginning, I would describe myself as 'a runner' (I run 4 times a week) but I think even if you are just a casual jogger this could turn a passing interest into a true hobby. I'm considering getting one for my mum, who just wants to lose some weight and run a little bit faster but doesn't know where to begin and doesn't want to shell out hundreds and hundreds on personal trainers. At arond £150 and ultra easy to use, she wouldn't really have an excuse not to use this - and more importantly I'm sure she'd enjoy the focus and the challenges the watch offers.
All in all, I think this is really useful kit for anyone from the casual runner to the elite athlete (although I'm sure elite athletes have lots of personal trainers and coaches to time them!). It brings a new dimension to your training programme, and anyone who is training for a run (of whichever distance) will definitely feel like they improve and gain confidence much more quickly than if they just run alone.
I have only just seriously started running, and I have been on several running websites looking for a Heart rate Monitor and wrist top computer to record the stats. On every site the Garmin 305 was mentioned and very highly rated, so I went off to Ebay and manged to get one slightly used for £110.
My first impressions were its size. The actual watch is big.. Very big, but also very light. Im an avid watch wearer and have several large watches in my collection, so I wasnt to put off by this. On the wrist its doesnt feel as big as it is.
The watch sits on a neat little stand which when plugged into the mains or to a compuer by USB charges the watch up. I have noticed and also read that quite often the watch shows the charge to be fully complete, when in fact its not. This is something to be aware of you are planning on taking the unit out for a long run. I recommened charging the unit for at least 6 hours to be sure its fully charged.
On the the actual operation. When you start the unit up, it comes up with a diagram and shows the progress of finding satelites for the GPS function. Outside this takes a matter of seconds, inside takes minutes an usualy results in not finding any at all. You can bypass this screen by pressing the menu button which will take you onto the main data screen.
The data screens can be set up in all manner of ways. There are 4 to choose from and each can be set up to show a number of different sets of data. For instance on my first main screen, I have HR, distance, Time and speed. On the next page I have Max speed, calories and elevation.
The screen is large so all the data is easily visable, even with muliple data sets on screen.
The unit allows you to create custom workouts and will prompt you when you fall below or go above set heart rate or speed limits. It can keep you in your fat burning zone so you dont waste energy running to slow or too fast. The GPS on the unit is very accurate. As a slight cheat when I got it, I took it out in my car for a short journey and then transfered the data to the computer and Gamins Connect website. This downloads the data off the watch and shows you exactly where you have been on Google maps, and also shows your speed, HR Calorie, Elevation and time in easy to read tables. Other websites can provide a more detailed analyisis if you prefer. The data showed the exact route I drove,all the speed data, and even showed when I had stopped.
The watch features many more functions, some I havent even used yet, so cant review, but on the bits I have used, the watch was well worth the price.
The HRM part of the watch is a wireless rubber strap that you wear accross your chest. Its elasticated and adjustable, so should fit most people. Simply wet the sensor parts with a little water before putting it on and thats it. It stays there all day and is very comfortable. I wore it for a whole day at work, and didnt notice it after a while.
For those wanting something similar but for indoor running, dont dismay. The Garmin can do that too!
All you need is the Garmin Foot Pod, available seperately. This is a small deivce which attaches to your running shoe and wirelessly sends data to the watch. It records everyhting the watch normally would, except the GPS data. So you can use the watch on the treadmill or indoor circuit and still have all your HR and speed data. Brilliant!
Out of the box the foot pod does an acuurate job, but you can if needed set it up to be even more accurate by callibrating it on an known 800m circuit. This will then learn your stride and habbits and make the reading that bit more accurate. Please see my seperate review of the footpod.
This watch is a qulaity product that does everything and more a runner or cyclist could want. It has so many features, I havent even found them all yet. The manual is clear and consise, so all the features are explained easilly. Weather you run inside or outside, 100m or marathons, this watch hs something for you!
I am a runner and I would be lost without my 305 now! Not literally because I don't use the GPS for navigational purposes (although I know you can do this with it if you want to). This bit of kit has totally transformed my training. With the heart rate monitor, I can make sure that my easy runs are easy and in races I can judge how much I can push it by keeping an eye on my heart rate. For those of you who love analysing your training, this is the most useful thing you can buy - it shows you how far, how fast and when these things happened in your runs. Setting up intervals is easy and it beeps to tell you when the next phase is about to start.
The software that comes with it isn't very good, but you can download sporttracks free which does a much better job or upload your data to a site like fetcheveryone.
I have used this for training and racing and have found that it taught me to pace myself properly so I didn't blow up (just set it to beep at you when you go outside a particular pace range).
If you are serious about improving your running, this is one of the best investments you can make.
The Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS receiver is a great GPS for runners, cyclists, and even ski-ers and walkers! I'd used one of the earlier models and compared with that it's a) very fast to acquire satellites and become functional, b) got great battery life (about ten hours on a recharge c) much smaller, although still a bit chunky compared with the 405 which is more like a watch in shape and size and d) it's very much more difficulty to lose the satellite signal - this only happens in very dense woodland and tunnels. It's great in towns.
Recharging is simplicity itself - just rest it on the USB cradle while plugged into your PC.
The 405 is identical to the slightly cheaper 305 except it includes the heart rate strap that fits round your chest and although I've had the 405 for six months, have not yet found the need to use.
The display is very flexible, you can display as much or as little information as you want, but I find the calories used, time of day, distance travelled and time elapsed since session started to be a handy four field display. For a training session or race you can substitute one of the fields for current speed, or whatever is of interest.
I've not seen this mentioned on other reviews, but it has great navigation/waymark features that let you enter positions beforehand, or while out. You can then use the 305 to navigate to them. For example, I'm interested in archeological sites marked as tumuli on the Ordnance Survey maps and the 305 will show me bearing and distance so I can easily find them while out for a walk or run. Alternatively one can enter the position of one's home or car and the 305 will guide one home. Awesome!
The software that comes with it is c**p but the garmin interfaces with the brilliant SportTracks website and also Fetcheveryone which is a sort of online training log, to let you upload your routes automatically.
Although it synchronizes relatively quickly while stationary, it takes a while if you are moving along so do allow several minutes before you start off. I tend to leave it turned on by a window beforehand or wait for a couple of minutes before moving off.
Costing under £150 from amazon, I thoroughly recommended the Forerunner 305.
Form meets function with Garmin's next-generation, sleek and stylish line of personal trainers - the Forerunner 305. Don't let its good look fool you. This taskmaster will continually push you to do your personal best. The Forerunner 305 combines all of the popular features found in the 301 along with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, new courses feature, and robust wireless heart rate monitor for optimal performance.
Designed for athletes of all levels, this running partner and personal trainer has one goal in mind - a better you. It continuously monitors your heart rate, speed, distance, pace and calories burned so you can train smarter, more effectively. It tracks your every move with a super-sensitive GPS that even works on tree-covered trails and near tall buildings.