Garmin Forerunner 305 Review

Posted by on March 5, 2012

I have been using my Garmin 305 for a few months now so it is about time I give a quick review. Prior to using the 305 I used RunMeter on my iPhone for all bike and run tracking. What sparked me to move up to a dedicated gps watch device was the iPhone battery life and lack of heart rate monitoring option at the time. I like to listen to music most of the time when I run or bike and take a good number of photos. Using one device might seem like an advantage but the battery life is always a problem on the iPhone. I always had to carry extra battery changers with me on long bike rides. The GPS is one of the biggest drain on an iPhone so it was time to get serious and invest in a dedicated tracking option.

After doing a some research I decided on the Garmin 305 mainly on the features it offered and the price. I paid about $170 for it at the time off Amazon new. It was a killer deal at the time. I have seen the 305 drop down into the $150’s as well but they are now over $200 most of the time. Also, the 305 is multi-sport so I can bike, run, and swim with it. Feature for feature I don’t think you can find a better unit. I did also look at the Garmin Forerunner 310x and the Garmin Forerunner 610. In the end the price was just too good on the 305 and it was a proven workhorse for other runners on DailyMile.


Here is a quick description from Garmin:

• Price: $250 – $320
• Dimensions: 2.1″ x 2.7″ x 0.7″ (5.33 x 6.86 x 1.78 cm)
• Display size: 1.3″ x 0.8″ (3.3 x 2.0 cm)
• Weight: 2.72 oz (77 g)
• Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion, 10-hours on a charge
• Waterproof (but not recommended for swimming or water sports)
• Waypoints, 100; routes, 50
• Heart rate monitor included. Bike cadence or foot pod (for treadmill workout) optional.
• Auto-pause, auto-lap, auto-scroll (cycles through data screens during workout)

What’s in the Box
Forerunner 305, Garmin Training Center CD-ROM, heart rate monitor, docking cradle, expander strap, A/C charger, USB cable, owner’s manual, quick start guide.

Getting Started

The Garmin 305 uses a “mode,” “enter,” and “scroll” buttons to control all the feature. I found it very easy to set up right out of the box. The device will ask you three questions the first time  :

1) What is your quest (US or Metric)?
2) Do you have a separate food pod (Y/N)?
3) Do you have a cadence sensor (Y/N)

After that you are ready to start using the 305. It is a good idea to enter some personal data in to the device like height, age and weight which will make the data more accurate.

General Thoughts & Features
One of the features I really like about the Garmin Forerunner 305 is the ability to customize the screens to the data you want to see. You can have up to 4 panels visible at any one time but you can also have several different display to scroll through. I wear contacts and have a hard time reading small screens in the dark. I have my display setup on one screen that has the biggest possible display. This make it easy to read.  The device also has a light that you engage with a single button click like any watch might have. This makes it very easy to see my time or the data I need while I am running at night.

Ease of use is also an important feature. I am pretty techy but those of you that are not will be happy to know that it only takes one button to get things started. The same button starts and stops your timer and a 3 second hold the Lap button clears the display for the next workout. I can’t imagine it being any easier.

I have the USB charging cradle attached to my computer all the time. When I finish my run I put the watch on the cradle and open up the site to upload my data. I also upload the data locally to the Garmin application called Training Center and to DailyMile. Uploading to each place only takes a few minutes and it is something that I do right away after a run.  If you are traveling and don’t get a chance to upload your events right away don’t worry. The Garmin 305 can store 100 or so workouts depending on the length. Once it reaches its limit it will start to delete the oldest ones in place of new ones.

One feature I have not really used yet is the virtual parter. You can upload your routes to the device and race against a virtual parter. You can set up a the desired length of a run/bike/swim with a desired pace and the virtual man will maintain that pace and show how far a head or behind you are. You can also upload workouts and set a desired pace. I’d like to use this for my ultras this summer to help keep me on pace for cut off times.

One added accessory that I did end up buying a few weeks after using the Garmin 305 was the quick release kit. It as a soft band that allows you to take the watch on and off the band. The hard plastic band bugged me for some reason. I think it was the general stiffness of it.  The soft band only costs about $20 and it comes with a bonus bike mount.  Using the soft band really made wearing the 305 on 3-4 hour runs a pleasure.  I high recommend getting the soft band.

Over all I would buy the Garmin Forerunner 305 again without any worries.  The newer Garmin models have a few features like wireless syncing that I might find useful but the price is just too good on the 305 right now.  Also the newer models use the same GPS chip so they are not any more accurate.  If you are looking for a GPS watch for running, biking or swimming I wouldn’t have any reservations on recommending the Garmin Forerunner 305.

If you interested in buying the Garmin Forerunner 305 of the Quick Relese Kit check out the links to Amazon below. They usually have the best price on the web.

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