Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Garmin 305 Review First Couple of Weeks

I've been using this on my Runs for about 2 weeks now and I'm beginning to really love this piece of tech.  For just over £100 at amazon I thought it was a complete bargain. OK it does look like you can use it to land helicopters on it and its not exactly small, but it is cheap and has more functions than you could use. The model I got also came with a heart rate strap so value is on the high side.

Initially I just charged it for about 5 hours after advice on other blogs; it is best to charge this overnight so it gets a full first charge. The battery lasts 10 hours which is far longer than I could every run, but if you are doing a very long bike then this could be limited and  you may want to bring a usb backup charger.  It does take a good 3-4 hours to charge and I tend just to leave it on charge all the time when I'm not using it; which is most of the time.  Remember to switch it off when you either stop running or get home as it will drain the battery and have a flat unit on your next run.

Using Forerunner 305
When you first put it on it looks huge and I mean really huge, but it does not bother you when running and fades into the background after a few minutes and after a few runs it's just eh... normal. The advantage of its size is the big screen and this makes it easier to read while on a run. The screen is excellent and comes with quite a few pre-set screens for you. The GPS is fairly accurate and I've used a few different ones and this is one of the better ones. I live in Scotland so the built in back light is very useful and gives off a cool green glow.

There are a lot and you can spend hours just fiddling with them. Some of the best are:

  • Screen Customisable: Display just one item on the screen or up to four and you can switch between screens each with a different set items.  I tend to run mostly with Distance and Current Pace on a 2 display set-up.
  • Lap / Stop Start buttons: I really like this for doing sessions where I will run a fast mile or run up a hill and take a rest. Simply hit the lap and start/stop buttons pause your session and split it between laps for viewing later on the software. I've also set up auto-lap every mile so I can see my splits.
  • GPS Tracking: It takes about a minute to sync with the satellites which is ok and matches your actual route about 98% with a little drift every now and again.
  • View History: You can view your history and laps on the 305 itself instead of waiting till you get home. You can also view your laps as well while on the go.
  • Back Light: as mentioned above this makes it easy to read at night. Living in Scotland means I have to run all my mid weeks in the dark for winter. 
The software supplied is very good and is one of the few that actually caters for macs (as well as a windows version on the disc). I opted not to install from the disc but downloaded the latest version from the Garmin website. The software is fairly extensive and you can view runs in details and I like the elevation against pace and distance. On my last 10 miler I climbed and dropped a total of 3,000ft all those small hills do make a difference.

If you don't like the software you can always hook your 305 up to trainingpeaks.com which also support device uploads from mac and windows machines. This is very similar to the Garmin software but you can add meals and other info and the maps are a bit better. TrainingPeaks.com can also pop your runs onto Twitter and FaceBook which I find quite useful as there are a few people following my current marathon training.

I am using both currently and to compare my runs on each.

Actual Usefulness
I go too fast  as times and I can't judge my pace well as all. I think I'm going either too slow or too fast and find it hard to judge. I also like to know my splits (actual pace or speed per mile or over a particular section) and this is very good for this. I can glance at my 305 and know my current pace, press a button and get distance, heart rate and other info. This has made my runs faster by allowing me to firmly control my pace.

The 305 Great piece of kit if you and it costs the same as a good pair of shoes and from speaking to other runners seems to be the choice over some of the newer models. Just remember to keep it charged and it will serve you well. The only moan I've really got is that the usb charging cable is a bit short, but this is fairly minor.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but are moderated and may take a wee while before shown.