I’ve had my Garmin Forerunner 305 for 2 weeks now and have been quite pleased with it. A few people have asked me for a review of the unit, so I’ll do the best I can.When I first opened the box, I put it on the docking station plugged it into my DC inverter in my car so that it could charge on the way home from REI as I wanted to use it that day and it was supposed to charge for a few hours. After I got home, I plugged it in and it was ready to go in no time. I turned it on, took it outside and it acquired a signal pretty quickly. I browsed the instructions while waiting for it to charge, but didn’t thoroughly go through them.There was no configuration required and I started my first run by strapping on the heart rate monitor (I read a tip that said to put water on the monitor before putting it on), putting the monitor on my watch and I was off. There really was no configuration needed to get it going. It seemed to keep a signal and gives me the data I need to train (current pace and heart rate are about it).I’ve read some complaints about the unit from others in that it doesn’t keep a signal, the heart rate monitor doesn’t work, etc. My unit has performed flawlessly and keeps the signal all the time; I don’t run in wooded areas and there is pretty much a clear view of the sky. Also, the heart rate monitor works fine; another complaint I’ve read has to do with the heart rate monitor not registering when the GPS unit is placed on bicycle handlebars or on a crossbar on a boat. Since I run with it and it was designed for running, it works well. My only problem with the monitor was that I didn’t wet it down one day so it didn’t start registering until I had worked up a good sweat.If I wasn’t a techno geek, I’d stop here as the Forerunner tells me my pace, distance, and heart rate which has been helping me train. One of the reasons I went with the Garmin device is that Garmin announced Macintosh support for their products. The Forerunner comes with Training Center software which currently only works on Windows; I haven’t bothered to install it as Garmin’s subsidiary, MotionBased, put out a beta version of a Mac plugin that uploads data from the Forerunner to the MotionBased website. I love data analysis and this site has more data than I could ever need.The Forerunner has so many options, I don’t even know where to start. I configured my main screen to show my pace, time, and distance. I then configured a secondary screen to show my heart rate and average pace. It took me a few days to figure out that I could reconfigure the screens as I didn’t bother reading the instructions. The device does limited navigation (to get me back to where I started), handles multiple types of activities, etc. I currently have no use for lots of these options, but I’m sure I’ll discover them when I need them or I get bored.I’m quite impressed with the device; it appears to give me accurate information about distance and time. I’m not sure what else I could ask for in a device. I’m definitely giving this device a thumbs up; it makes me excited to get out and run.
- Easy to use
- Large readable display
- Reasonably accurate distance tracking (I did compare a run with Google Earth and found it to be close)
- Lots of options
- Not too bulky for what it does (looks better than the Twinkie shaped Forerunner 301)
- Partial Macintosh support for MotionBased; more is coming
- Can charge over USB
- Current desktop software is Windows only Update: Mac software is available. Read my first impressions of it.
- Training partner is annoying to me, but maybe when I get better it won’t bother me as much
Some pictures of the unit are at the end of this entry. If anyone has specific questions, please post a comment and I’ll try to respond.