I really like the Garmin 305. I have owned the Garmin 201, 301 and now the 305 and each successive model has offered vast improvements. It is also very intuitive compared to say the Polar products as for its various functions.<br><br>
With the 201 and 301 models you were always subject to loss of satellite signals running in tree covered parks and/or high buildings such as downtown Atlanta. Also if you ran tight circles such as track workouts as part of your run, the distance could be off by half a lap per mile sometimes.<br><br>
The 305 has solved all those problems in my case. When I run track workouts at Tucker High School the Garmin reflects my mile mark pretty accurately. I can run at Stone Mountain Park and other tree covered areas and rarely lose the satellite signal now whereas used to it was hit and miss especially in the Spring and Summer. I used my Garmin 305 in a 1/2marathon trail race in Winder this weekend and did lose the signal after mile 12, but ironically it was when we came into a clearing. It kept the satellite signal all through the tree cover. I don't know if during the later Spring and Summer the satellite would be maintain it's connection as well once the leaves are in full bloom.<br><br>
But for 95% of my runs the 305 works just dandy. The only difference between the 205 and 305 is the 305 has a HRM feature and comes with a HM strap. Retail is a little over $300.00, but you can get them on E-bay for around $250.00. I got mine on E-bay for $260.00 with shipping and have had no problems. But use E-bay at your own risk.<br><br>
I like using my 305 for my races to then download to the PC so I can see my splits. You do have to bear in mind that whatever race you are running whether a 5k or marathon, when you cross the finish line your Garmin may not be exact unless you followed the exact line used to measure the course which is highly unlikely. But it'll be close enough if not right on the mark.<br><br>
One very neat feature of the 305 is the "virtual running partner". You can set him for any pace/distance you desire and use him to pace you in your run. The watch monitor will show you and your partner's distance and how far ahead/behind you are with each other.<br><br>
Another Garmin fan here. I worked my way up from an inexpensive Timex that just timed my runs to a Polar with one button that included a HM and now the Garmin 305. No contest! When I can run, I perform better with the 305, and b/c I'm competitive with myself, the virtual running partner is great. And the HM is great for me, especially when running in the hot Florida summer and needing to know when to slow it down to avoid heat exhaustion.<br><br>
One question to ask yourself if going Garmin is: will you use the Heart Rate Monitor? Will you use the GPS? Since you can get models with only one or the other for less than the 305 that has both, if you don't think you'll use one of those features, you can save yourself some money. OTOH, if you don't need one now, but want it later, you'll end up having to switch and spend more in the long run.
I love my 305. I like having the hr monitor and I use the GPS WAY more than I thought I would. I really like that I don't have to run on measured trails anymore for distances - as long as I get a signal, I can get my mileage. When I run by myself and have been going for awhile, I find it's too easy to slow down - the virtual partner helps with that.
I like my 305 as well. I have it set to record my mile splits, which is good feedback for me.<br>
I've found the GPS to be extremely accurate and have had no problems with it and it's almost a year old. I did have to make a new chest strap for the HRM, but had to do that with my Polar HRM too.<br><img alt="icon_thumleft.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_thumleft.gif">
I like my 301. I like the mile splits and really like being able to know how far I ran without having to measure with car or computer anymore. I don't really use the HRM so, my next purchase will probably be the 205 instead. I am loyal to Garmin. Bought mine through Amazon.com for $199 about a year and a half ago.<br><br>
Totally worth the price of two pair of sneakers! <img alt="icon_cyclops_ani.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cyclops_ani.gif">
I use a Polar model with a cadence thing, not GPS, but I wanted to chime in and say I think you'll find you'll appreciate the gadget and what they can do. I really enjoy mine and find that at times, it can be the reason I go out the door. Try something new or a different setting, etc...
I find that the older version that I have 201, if when it says it's locked onto a signal, there is a definite delay. I usually know where my first mile marker is and I "lap it". More often than not it'll say I ran .9 miles when I absolutely "know" it's one mile. I haven't gotten the new version because I just want a pretty good estimate of how far I've run. However, I tried to do some fartleks and it is impossible due to the sudden difference of jogging and then running fast the delay is quite severe. For instance it said I was running 9.5 mph and yet I ran 1/2 mile in three minutes.<br><br>
My DH has the Timex GPS, more expensive, no delay........nothing but the best for him. *sigh*
sue, my DH is working on a device that will take Garmin-type watches to the next level. it'll be about a year before it's ready for production, but believe me, we'll make sure that YOU get the good stuff.<br><br>
(I get all of my DH's hand-me-down toys except for the Garmin, since I started running first)
You know you want it.<br><br>
The 205 doesn't have a heart rate monitor. That's what I have. If heart rate training is not important to you, you can save, what, $50 or so.<br><br>
If you like HRT or want to be able to have the device monitor your cadence on a bike, the 305 is the way to go.<br><br>
Some people don't find the pace function useful. I do. I mostly like how it will record distance so that I don't have to be super picky about measuring my routes.<br><br>
The Garmin will reveal that you do not run perfect tangents during races. This is a good thing.<br><br>
The Garmin is a miracle, but not perfect. It will not measure distance perfectly, but I think it's pretty good. In my experience, its readings are consistent. Your "mileage" may vary. I think the improved antenna in the 205/305 models should help.<br><br>
The forerunner will let you send data to Motionbased. This to me is a "nice to have." Other folks get upset because it calculates distances slightly differently from the GPS data than the watch does. This does not trouble me in the slightest, but you should be aware of it. If I wanted to be a surveyor, Garmin and other suppliers have other fine products that are better suited to that task.<br><br>
I had a 201 (the first model out) for many years. I loved it. You should probably buy a new 205/305. If you can find a 201/301 "new in box" you might get to play at a discount.<br><br>
It's a good toy. You will no doubt enjoy it. Give in.<br><br>
What about power? Are they battery opperated? I have an old Garmin, not sure of the model number, and I swear I had to change batteries every second run. Also, it loses its signal constantly now. I don't know if that's because of the foliage or if it's just too old.<br><br>
At $250 bucks, I think I'll have to set some real goals nad meet them in order to reward myself with a new Garmin.
In going from the 201 to the 205, battery power is one of my few complaints. The 201 had 13 hours of life, while the 205 has 10. I've never had a reason to use the watch for this long. However, I do use the backlight a lot for my very early morning runs and that eats power like crazy.<br><br>
The 205 also doesn't display the battery life indicator on every screen, while the 201 did. This is not a huge deal because it is easy to get to a screen that has it but it is still a little annoying.<br><br>
These are tiny complaints. I like the USB cradle. I like that you can get data to and from the 205 much quicker than with the 201 (using a serial cable!).<br><br>
You're doing excellent if you are getting 10 hours on your 205. I have a 305 and don't get more than 5 hours. I have to recharge it at least weekly if not two times weekly, especially if I'm doing a long run.<br><br>
Other than that I don't have any complaints about my 305.
I have an old Timex (which is Garmin) with the arm pod and it's so low tech compared to the 305...however it does keep very accurate distance.<br><br>
I have a Garmin nuvi 350 which really isn't for running but I take it out once in a while for a hoot. The poor chick inside was having a meltdown the other day when the Boeing 717 I was on simply refused to stay on any road built into the maps software...and the speed of 560 mph was disturbing to her too.<br>
It picks up a single in about 5 seconds and is deadly accurate with distance.
I have a Garmin 205. I've had mixed results with it.<br><br>
It's performance in heavy terrain and wet trees leaves a little to be desired. Sometimes it will hold lock, sometimes not. My worst experience was fighting through a tough technical section in a 50K and having it start to count the distance BACKWARDS. Not fun when the miles were crawling so slowly.<br><br>
The battery life is a problem too. At 10 hours it's useless for anything other than really short races. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"> Sadly, the initial satellite lock could be faster too. I thought I'd start it at the 20 mile point of a longer race, but couldn't get myself to stay still long enough in the aid station to get a lock. The Garmin was dead weight that day.<br><br>
I love it in road marathons though, it's a very nice backup to the course markings.
OK- I've read this thread and have narrowed my decision down to either the Forerunner 205 or a Timex Ironman- which are about comperable in price.<br><br>
Would you say they are comperable in functionality as well from a speed and distance point of view? I realize the Garmin might do cooler stuff as far as giving you long and lat/ and timex will be a watch I can always wear... but...<br><br>
also- in terms of altitude- neither of them take ascension or descension into account when giving the distance?
HP - I wish I could answer your question directly, but I know nothing about the Timex product.<br><br>
I think you may be technically correct about altitude. The "however" is that if you upload your Garmin data into MotionBased, I'm pretty sure that MB will take altitude data into account when finding distance. This is a point of frustration for some, as MB distance and "watch" distance on the Garmin can be different.<br><br>
MB is free, but of course somewhat limited on the "free" side. It's still pretty neat, don't get me wrong, but not spectacular. I have no idea if the "pay" side is better. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> So, I don't upload my stuff to them very often.<br><br>
Hope you are thrilled with whichever one you decide to get,<br>