I'd get a Polar if you don't need the GPS. I have the Polar F4 (I wish I had the F6, though) AND the Garmin Forerunner 101. I like having them separate because if I know my distance, then I don't wear the Garmin. The Polar is a smaller device for my small wrist.
I think GPS is an <i>awesome</i> tool so, in general, Id say go with the Garmin. But since you've stated that you don't need GPS (maybe you just don't know you need it yet!) I voted for Polar. Why pay for GPS if you don't need it?
Please explain why I would need GPS. Isn't it just to figure out where you are in your run? I guess I don't know all of the details on the Garmin.... all of the perks I guess. I hate being a techno-dingbat <img alt="sad2.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad2.gif">
Kinda depends on how much of a "data geek" you are.<br><br>
It's most basic function is to measure the distance of a run. So, instead of mapping routes or driving them with your car or whatever, you can just go out and run and you'll have a good measurement of how far you went.<br><br>
Level two is that with the ability to measure distance comes the ability to measure pace. So the GPS-based watches (and the accelerometer-based systems as well) can give you feedback on your pace while you're running or biking - kinda like having a speedometer on your wrist. You can set a target pace and try to maintain it - or just get feedback on what you're doing or have done for the previous mile.<br><br>
Level three ties the watch to mapping and analysis software. Now you can do things like plot your route overlayed on a map and make heart-rate charts vs. elevation and geeky stuff like that.<br><br>
Just the basic distance function makes GPS well worthwhile in my book. I have a Garmin 201 (the old one that looks like a brick on your wrist) and wear it for most of my runs. Love it.
I've got a Polar with the footpod. It's never let me down, except for the day the batteries finally died, but it had been warning me for about 3 months before they did finally cease to operate. I rarely use the footpod, since I tend to run the same routes most days. It does come in handy when I travel and just want to explore a new area without worrying about mapping an exact route or trying to remember exactly where I ran after the fact.<br><br>
That said, as a gadget loving guy, GPS is cool. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
I voted for Polar cause I've used a 625 for over 2 years and love it. I can swim with it, the foot pod works great at keeping distance, I even wear it for a watch sometimes. The only negative is that other than HR, it only shows 2 displays on the screen. I think the Garmin can be set up for 4?
Do you want to know how far you paddled and how fast you went?<br><br>
Do you want to mark a location like home or where you parked your car and know how far you are from it and what direction it is?<br><br>
Then the Garmin.<br><br>
You want to use the tread mill at the gym? Then the Polar.
I voted Garmin. I absolutely love mine. I travel a lot so the GPS keeps me straight on distance when I go running. I also have a hard time keeping a standard pace, so it helps me slow down and not train to hard.<br><br>
I would wait until the Garmin 405 is ready to purchase. It looks much nicer and can be worn all of the time. The 305 you can't do that. You also have the option of the cadence and footpod accessories. One for the bike and the other for the TM for those days you can't go out and run. I don't have the footpod, but do have the cadence. It works great, give me cadence while on the bike and also keeps track of distance if indoors.