Garmin admit that the 305 doesn't work

I've been using Garmin products for 3 years now: the Forerunner 201 and the 305.

Bought the 305 earlier this year after a chat with Garmin sales. £285.

A few weeks ago, not long after posting yet another defence of Garmin, I started thinking about the product, and started being a bit more objective. I faced up t othe truth, that the altitude doesn't work. The calorie readings are useless. The Virtual Partner is implemented less well than on the 201. The GPS functionality and the speed of the satellite detection is not noticably different on the 305 than on previous models, yet this was the big promotional sales message. There are some annoying backward steps in design, like the battery reading no longer being visible when you start the unit, and no longer estimating the amount of battery life yet. (I've twice run out of battery in mid-long run recently. Annoying.) I'm sure there are other annoyances which I've forgotten.

Anyway, I wrote to Garmin to complain. They replied, admitting that the GPS functionality essentially didn't work. They admitted that the calorie measurement didn't work. That the VP functionality needed to be looked at.

In short, they seem to be admitting that they are marketing one thing and selling something else. When I asked permission to quote them they got rather sensitive and said no. So I can't quote them directly here, but only paraphrase them.

I really like GPS technology for running. For me it generally works well. But anyone who would willingly blow £285 (or whatever it costs these days) on an item that the manufacturer admits doesn't actually work properly, must be nuts.

By all means buy a 201 or 301 from eBay. You'll still get most of the benefits but at a fraction of the price. What you won't get is all the defective functionality.

£285? Yer 'avin' a larf Garmin.


  • Important correction:

    "They replied, admitting that the GPS functionality essentially didn't work"

    should be...

    They replied, admitting that the GPS functionality essentially didn't work in relation to altitude. [Said something about it being common to have a margin of error of +/- 400ft!].
  • "When I asked permission to quote them they got rather sensitive and said no. So I can't quote them directly here, but only paraphrase them."

    If they said it, you can quote it. As long as you quote it accurately. A plea against libel is justification, in other words, if it's true it's not libellous.
  • Sounds like we could all have a reasonable case against garmin on the Sale of Goods Act (or whatever the relevant staute is)... they are selling something that doesn't match the sales/advertising description....

    Now I'm not a lawyer..... but common sense would say they have cheated us!

    Any legal beagles out there?
  • Thanks for that.

    I was going to speak to my Garmin rep this morning when I get to work to find out what the current staff deal was as it has been a season since I considered one. I love my Nike+ but I have a few bike / run days planned with friends in preparation for a duathlon and the Nike+ isn't much use on the bike.

    Maybe time to have another look at the Suunto T series with GPS pod.

    You would only have a case against Garmin if the figures they have quited you are outside those quoted previosly.

    Unfortunetly it is a fact that altitude calculated from a GPS signal is inaccurate and becomes more so the greater the slope. Most GPS units for hillwalking / mountaineering still have a barametric pressure altimeter as it is far more accurate once calibrated.
  • Although it is clear that there are some serious flaws with the 305 (deposits on contacts, HR alerts stopping prematurely, measurement stopping after reaching the VP-programmed distance, lack of battery time indicator), it generally performs the fundamentals of measuring distance, time, tracking where you ran, and tracking HR, pretty well. If those are the main thngs that you want from the 305, then I'd disagree with the diagnosis of being nuts. Some of the bells and whistles also work well enough to be pretty useful (advanced workouts, courses).

    Garmin seem to gradually be fixing problems such as wildly inaccurate calorie usage and signal reaquisition; as long as they pull their finger out and continue to fix the remaining issues, then I'd say the 305 is a viable proposition.
  • It is true that some aspects of the latest design (I have the 205) are a step backwards. I wish the virtual trainer would autolap every mile as the 201 did, but in general, it works well.

    Why do you need altitude and calorie measurement?
  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭
    RC, I think you'll find that a letter addressed and sent to you is your property, and that you can do with it what you like, ie. you can quote from it, publish it or otherwise distribute it.

    As they say: never put down in writing anything you would not be happy to have read out in court.
  • I love my 305, but I wish it worked.

    I don't care one jot about the altitude or calorie counting, and I've never used VP or probably any of the other wizzy features, but its currently unable to do "the fundamentals" (as listed by fishyweb). I've had one successful run in the last 9 with all the other loosing the gps signal. The device worked flawlessly in the summer, even in dense woodland, but a few clouds and its chocolate teapot territory.

    I've done one last web-update, which said gps software was being updated, and if it fails again tonight its going back.
  • Currently using a NAVMAN R300 i got from for £69.99 and is perfect for what i need to do, although have had a long look at the suunto t3/gps but will wait till i'm flush before purchasing.
  • I lke my 305. Im on my second device but enjoy the pace data, the bleep every mile and ability to download onto my PC. Its expensive but does what I want/ need it to.
  • I love my 305, it does everything I want/need it to. Am on my second but that was no hassle as Sweatshop exchanged the old one by return of post. I agree though that from the information supplied if you want calorie or altitude data it's not much good - but then I wouldn't have bought it for that.

    Yanner - if I were you I'd send it back for exchange, it shouldn't be refusing to acquire/losing the signal like that.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Anyone want to contribute to my thread
    How many FR 305' had you had??
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