Polar RS800SD, RS800G3 or Garmin 305

I am seriously considering retiring my Polar 625x. I find the screen a bit difficult to read at times. My footpod is also a bit flaky now - does not always warn of low battery power.

My priorities are accuracy on distance, speed and pace, as well as being able to configure the screen to indicate the info whilst I am running. I have considered the Forerunner 305 but there seems to be a problem with the accuracy of the pace readings - is this still an issue? Any users of the Polar watches care to comment on whether the SD or G3 is the better option. I was under the impression (perhaps wrongly) that the G3 unit was mainly designed for cyclists but I hear that some runners are also using it now - is it comfortable to wear? There is a huge price difference between the Polar and Garmin watches so if I do go for a Polar I feel the need to be reassured that it is really worth the extra.


  • I have both the SD and the G3.

    The SD is great for the treadmill as the calibration on my treadmill is out.  I wear the G3 running outside.  I wear it at the top of my arm and forget that its there when running as it is so comfortable.  Pace on the G3 is not quite as constant as the SD but still good enough for me to use for interval work. 

    If you had to choose one or the other I would go for the SD, as long as you take the time to calibrate it correctly.  The other advantage over the SD is it records cadence which the G3£ cannot.

  • My Garmin 305 pace readout is infinitely superior to my Polar 800 SD readout - although I do have it set to automatic mile laps with average lap pace and max. smoothing. There are a few threads comparing the products. I`m a Garmin man. It`s more accurate (unless running between tall buildings); the screen is easier to read; it`s possible to download lots of info onto the computer (if that`s your thing); plot routes on maps etc.
  • Also looking to get a GPS for next years marathon training.

    Have always loved the ease of the Polar equipment, had a few , currently using a RS200SD, dont use the footpod as its not the most accurate. Noticed some diffent reading son my runs, depending if I go easy, hard, blowing up.

    I like the idea of the Polar GPS, (fitness megastore online, £299), but the Garmin 305(dabs.com £131), is it worth the extra? Anybody with a Polar GPS system? As cant find any reviews.

  • see Becky Boo above - there's a review!
  • I`m sorry but paying 2 1/2 times for the Polar simply does not make sense.
  • becky boo

    Does the G3 have any significant HR features over the SD? a number of reviews on the 400/800 polar range, says the software is the easist to use over all others.

    Beetle, agreed, £300 is a lot of money. Garmin used to be aroundf this price and have dropped 50%

    I already have have the Rs200, so am thinking of going for the Garmin 205, to be more accurate on my long runs, and pacing. But another £35 and you get the Garmin 305. The Polar I know will be good, but 1st generation of everything can be improved.

  • like many i suspect the Garmin units are so called "grey" imports hence being cheaper - i'm worried about warrenties
  • I would have thought that Amazon UK (£130) would ship a UK product rather than a grey import.
  • I have the Polar RS800sd - I have to say the footpod (sd) it spot on for distances with carying pace (5km - to 22mile LSRs) for me.

    The polar is really fully featured and a great bit of kit.

     That being said, I bought a 305 last week for a few reasons.  Namely, I want the mapping ability that GPS provides.  I like that I can fly over my routes when I import them to Google Earth for example.

    The 2nd reason is that I'm a Mac user and there are some good 3rd party softwares out there for the Garmin.  The Polar doesn't offer any mac support and there isn't really much on offer from 3rd parties either.  Polar Pro Trainer is good software and didn't leave me wanting for anyhting but it was just too much of  pain to have to boot into Windows everytime I needed to use it.

     I have currently sprained my ankle so can't really test out the Garmin but once I'm back running I hope to put them side by side against each other for a runs to decided which one is best for me

  • Lemsip, you do know you an calibrate the footpod if it's not acurate out of the box for you?


    At least I think you can - you can on the RS800sd

  • I have the RS800SD too.

    Excellent bit of kit and lacks nothing....the big factor is getting the footpod calibrated correctly. I swap mine between 3 pairs of trainers and need to adjust the calibration for each pair. With all that said it is more than 99% accurate. The footpod dsitance/pace is very accurate to change of pace too...excellent when required to run intervals or fartlak sessions

    The Pro Trainer Software is very good and lacks nothing and the HRM is top notch too with a very comfy strap.

    There was strap troubles with the watches early on,  I would guess that has been resolved.

    I got my RS800SD for £300 in Jan 07, IIRC the Garmin 305 was still around £250 and was having heaps of reliability problems. With the price differnce as it is now the 305 (approx £130) ceratinly represents better value for money (albeit I have never used one).

  • On the RS200 the footpod is an earlier model of the ones on the 400/800, had to change the calibration on all my shoes, which was a pain. As my regular winter runs, get very mucky so I have to change which routes & shoes before I leave the house.

    With the  Polar Pro Trianer, does it help or hinder your training? I quiet enjoy looking at my little diary and comapring my runs, as started to keep a diary only last summer.  

    My heart says Polar GPS but at £170 more, the Gramin rules my head. 

  • Minor point of clarity - RS200 and 400 use the same footpod (called the S1). RS800 uses a newer, smaller one (S3).

    I use the 305 and have a RS400 (without the footpod, although have used one in the past). Both have positives and negatives, but for the money you'd have to be a fan of Polar to pick the RS800 over the 305.

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