Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Review

If you have read many of my posts you know that I am a big ol’ fatty with the meager aspiration of having the length of my jeans surpass the circumference of my waste at least once in my life. As I go through my little stages of binging, regret, self-loathing, and then exercise I do as many of my rotund brothers do, I buy gizmos and gadgets to help me trim the blub.

A couple of years ago I decided to start running. As an engineer, statistics and numbers rule my life, so I started tracking speeds and mileage manually and then graduated to a wristwatch version of a GPS. I went for the gold and purchased the Garmin 305 with heart rate monitor.

It is bulkier than a normal watch, but has tons to offer. It is very customizable so I put heart rate, running time, speed, and distance right on the front screen. I can glance at my wrist and, in an instant, see that at .3 miles, my heart rate is roughly 200 and I am within 3 min. of heart failure. I also know that the corner gas station’s slurpy machine is exactly .6 miles from my house, so I will not likely make it at my 4MPH pace before the left side goes numb.

The best part is the tracking though. The unit comes with software that allows you to link with your computer and download the entire run. You get data points all along your route so you can see how long your heart rate was in certain zones, how fast you went over a specific trail or whatever. Everything is saved so you can track your running statistics very well. It also shows you a map of your path and will link with google maps to give a satellite picture of your route as well. After a couple of clicks, you can sum up your mileage over a certain period and even upload all of the info to the internet so it is accessible anywhere you go.

You can even save your stats for a specific route and race yourself the next time you run it. Great stuff all around. I can’t think of a more quantitative tool to bring to life, in vivid color, your lack of devotion and progress. It is a beautiful thing.

The battery lasts plenty long, enough for several runs, but I am no marathon runner either. The USB sync is automatic when you charge it and the info is pulled into your computer easily. I’ve had no problems using this on XP, Vista, or Vista64. Now that I have had it a couple of years, I can also say that it has been very reliable and has held up really well. No problems so far.

The only negative I can really find is the initial sync with the satellites on startup. It can take a couple of minutes, but I am usually stretching during that time so it doesn’t matter much to me. After initial link, I haven’t had a single instance of it losing signal while I was running. It has been solid as a rock as far as that is concerned. I don’t really run in a jungle though, so not sure how it would do in under cover.

I paid way more for this thing 2 years ago than you are required to pay now and it was worth every penny back then. I would recommend this unit to anybody that runs or bikes. The ability to run and just take random turns wherever you want and still have your distance tracked is fantastic. This is one of my few 5 star reviews. Go get one, it rocks!


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