Garmin Forerunner 305.

I have been considering buying one but I have a dilemma.

Looking through the forums the unit appears to have it's problems with freezing, loosing data, battery power, firmware upgrades.

Would you reccommend it or not?

Also the cheapest price I have seen it is just under £200 in the UK (240v model). From the states it could be bought for £150 including shipping.
I don't think there are any differences in the two systems apart from the charging unit and an adapter would solve the problem.

Any thoughts on UK or USA model?

Thanks for your time.



  • I bought one about 3 months ago and it is fantastic. I have had no issues or problems.

    I look at the availablility of firmware and software updates as a positive thing and means Garmin are always developing and improving their products.

    I would buy a UK model myself for the extra £50 but that is just me.
  • I doesn't have much to fault it. Yes, I've had a dodgy unit before, but when assessing the device for what it does, it's a solid purchase.
  • I love mine! Upgraded to UK 305 from US 201 a few months ago.

    If difference is £50 it may be worth getting UK as duty and postage could make prices equivalent if you're not careful although plug is multi (on UK any way) and it can be charged via USB anyway.

  • Dad of 3:
    The 305 is a great training tool. You have obviously looked into it but do you honestly need the GPS bit. I mean, is your thing measuring how fast/far you have run or would you use the map feature or navigation features?
    I personally do use the navigation bits when running through forests on small tracks, but thats me. If not, I personally would look at the new Polar RS800SD as the software is 'in my opinion' a better all round package. Does the speed/pace/distance thing with the footpod and they are getting great reports.(
    I've had some problems over the year+ Ive had the 305, but as others in this Forum have mentioned, Garmin have got their finger out and sorted them with upgrades. Bare in mind, there isn't another running watch with HRM/GPS all in 1 unit.
    By the way, my 305 is now great again. Still on original unit, with all updates/firmware and Training Centre update.

    Hope this helps...
  • Thanks to everyone who has replied.

    Upto now there's 4/4 positive comments and no negatives.

    I would have to say at the moment there has not been anything to put me off a purchase.

    I would be interested in any one who has bought the 305 and feels it was a waste of money.

  • Chipping in...

    Rather than me droning on for hours again, you might like to read some of the other threads (with my opinions posted therein!) here, and here.

    I have used Polars for the last 12 years, so am used to the Polar way of thinking (Edge NV, Coach, S625X and now RS800SD!), so this is possibly bias on my part. Oddly I couldn't get on with a Garmin eTrex handheld GPS unit either.

    I am now very happy with my RS800 - despite some pre-purchase doubts, it really is significantly better and more usable than the S625X. Plus Polar are apparently bringing out the "g3" GPS add on pod that would extend its use to cycling, skiing, etc. Interestingly Garmin have gone the other way and brought out a accelerometer footpod themselves!

    Completely biased, but here is why I think the Polar RS800SD beats the Forerunner 305 (others will doubtless have contrary views!):
    - small and watch like
    - no problems with maintaining a GPS signal
    - all batteries user changeable (including on the watch unit)
    - easy to use but sophisticated software
    - excellent heart monitoring functions

    Biggest drawback I guess is that it is 50% dearer than the Garmin... but there will be a S625X going on ebay in the near future :^)
  • Anyone use their 305 on a bike as well? Does it give speed & distance ok?

  • I had the Polar RS800SD for a few months and, to be quite frank, it's rubbish. If you spend over £100 on a distance watch you expect it to be accurate. I callibrated my Polar on a running track as instructed. I then did a 10K race and it recorded the distance as 8.3 KM - way off. Consequently I sold it and bought a Forerunner 305- the best decision I made. The Garmin if fantastically accuarate and motivating. What I love is downloading my runs on to the computer and seeing them run again using google earth.
    My advice: buy a Garmin Forerunner 305- you won't regret it. By the way the cheapest price is £189 in the UK is from
  • Dave.Dave. ✭✭✭
    i use the 305 on the bike, it is great for multisports in general compared to the polar which is no good for them at all in my opinion.

    I also have the optional cadence sensor, which does cadence off the cranks and also has a sensor for the back spoke to measure speed as a back up or on a turbo trainer.

    as greyhound said they are also bringing out the footpod, but purely for people who use treadmills a lot.

    the way I see it the polar doesn't have the features of the garmin and is dearer so no contest. for me it is the ease of use. I turn in on leave in on the windowsill get ready put itn on and go. no messing with xtra bits and pieces/footpods or switching between shoes etc.

    I used to have the timex (well still do) and the 4 seperate pieces made it awkward to use.
    I think most people with a 305 love them but there are people who don't.

    by the way greyhound it is a bit rich to claim an 'advantage' of the polar is not having to worry about keeping gps signal!!
    you may as well put it as an 'advantage' that it is missing the feature altogether!!
  • I've just looked up for the info greyhound mentioned about Polar bringing out a GPS add on to the RS800. Info can be found at:
    Polar say 'On sale through authorised Polar resellers during the second half of 2007, g3 will be available for purchase as an upgrade for existing RS800 owners, or as a complete set in the RS800g3 Training System'.
    I like my 305 and to be honest to change now for the price Polar are asking is beyond reason.
    But, I would certainly be keeping an eye on the reports when this thing is released. For 'Dad of 3', this brings another perspective for you to look at. Buy now with/without footpod and upgrade with the Polar G3 GPS, or buy an all in one 305- cheaper too!
    As they say, the choice is yours.....

  • Dave...

    Horses for courses - the GPS signal was a significant problem for me but I do run in hilly and densely wooded terrain. I lose the radio signal in my car driving through some of the ravines round here! This is clearly not a problem that everyone will face, and certainly didn't seem to be so much of an issue on the bike (moving faster and so more likely to get a new fix quicker).
  • Dave,
    thanks fot the info - sounds like a great bit of training kit.

  • Seem to keep popping up on the same threads as Greyhound - like him I've used both Polar and Garmin and have gone with Polar. My version of pros/cons of each :

    - Single unit
    - No need to calibrate
    - Downloading maps is a novelty (soon wears off though)
    - Watch interface is well designed
    - HR is basic, nowhere near as good as Polar
    - Software is OK, again not as good as Polar
    - Looks like a prop from an episode of Star Trek in the 70s
    - Pace information is rubbish
    - Not reliable (or at least, alot seem to go wrong)

    - Better designed watch
    - RS400/800 is better/easier to use than 625
    - ProTrainer software is great - far better than Garmin
    - Footpod is comfortable and accurate
    - Batteries last far longer - have to recharge Garmin
    - Very expensive - may come down in price

    In the end I ummed and ahed, and went for the RS400. This is essentially the same as the 800 without the altimeter. I also haven't bothered with the footpod; this for me is the crucial reason I've stuck with Polar. When I bought the Garmin I imagined it would 'liberate my running' - I would go off like Forest Gump and the Garmin would tell me where I'd been and show me on a map. In reality I tend to have a number of runs of varying distance that I do repeatedly and running to heart rate on them is all that matters. Pace/distance is interesting, but for me the best way to train is by heart rate, so in the end I went for a very good heart rate monitor. Garmins for me aren't good enough at this and the rest of it is all a bit of a gimmick.
  • Go for the Polar 200SD, it has all the fetaures that you are realistcially going to need and the prices have come off a lot
  • RR, thats a very good comparison of pro's and cons.

    is the - Looks like a prop from an episode of Star Trek in the 70s

    a pro or a con. I love the retro look, but find that its quite a big bulky unit on your arm. I can feel the weight and have to have the strap very tight so it doesn’t rub.

    Other than that i am very happy with mine, touch wood i haven’t had it fail yet!!

  • ...dare I even suggest not getting one at all (Polar or Garmin!)?

    I just like to run and found for a while that I was becoming so obsessed with gadgets and fiddling with them that my frustration really diminished my enjoyment. For a good few months I simply left them at home and ran with my trusty Timex Ironman (only checking it at the end of a run) and felt liberated from the onslaught of information.

    Currently I'm running with a purpose (training for a marathon) and the Polar has been useful in structuring my training - again mostly around my heart rate. The altimeter function is pretty important for me, which is why I justified its expense over the RS400.

    I never fail to be fascinated by the heated debates the Polar / Garmin issue sparks off!

  • ...and a further thought, sometimes (when frustrated by these devices) I feel a bit of a mug for being sucked in my the advertising that this is something I need: well, I ran for 20 years before getting one perfectly well!

    Then my true geekiness comes through and it all passes... :o)
  • Good point grehound. I have to admit i only use it to record my route and distance so i can review my run after. I never look at the screen whilst running.

    I know what you mean about being sucked in, thats how i ended up married!! erm i mean with a garmin!!
  • Dave.Dave. ✭✭✭
    would agree with greyhound, this gadget lark makes no real diff to my running.

    what I love about the forerunner though is that I don't have to try and write down each run when I get back to have a record of mileage etc. I just slap it on every time and plug it in the PC every couple of weeks and everything is recorded for me. it keeps me honest without any real effort.. (I mostly don't use the hrm)
  • Dad of 3, just reading your thread and wondering what you decided? Did you go for the 305?

    I've also been looking at the 305 and the rs800sd ... still undecided at mo.

    Lot of negative comments on 305 yet everyone seems to have one, so they can't be that bad(?).

  • Ive just ordered one ! 24hr delivery £172 plus £6 delivery ! cant wait to try it (fed up of guessing mileage) :-(
  • Lots of comments about the 305 - I was considering the 205 but now I might think about the 305 reading this thread as it seems most people have this version.
  • I personally find that my 305 tends to push against the bone in your wrist (small finger side if worn left handed) and causes it to become red and a little tender after a while.

    I don't really notice the weight of the thing to be honest. Looks fine to me and easy enough to read when out running.
    Like the USB feature - can't be bother with some of the IR/audio features that Polar tend to have

    Only real problem I have noticed is that it gets confused occasionally when I take a corner. i.e I'm running at say 7min/mile pace, I take a sharp corner that is wide open and my pace drops to 8-9min/mile even though I run faster - same with sprinting across roads - it's like it gets caught out and has to try to reacquire a satellite to find out what you've just done.
    Don't think the few seconds make that much difference overall though.

    Never had any of these charging etc problems that people have mentioned either, but it could be due to only having had it a few months now.
  • A belated contribution:

    I think the 305 is good, but given all the glitches and porly-implemented features, mine was way overpriced at £289.

    If you can get it for sub-£150 I'd say OK. But a lot depends on how you use it. It has features that I just don't need, which is no criticism of the watch. All I really want is something to tell me how far I've gone, and pace. Even the HRM, to be honest, I use but tend not to analyse, so I'm not certain how worthwhile that was for me.

    So my verdict? Hmm. Two cheers for the 305.
  • i love mine, i have had no probs and it has worked without fault. To top that i bought it from another forum member for £100, so i am chuffed to bits
  • after 6 maras
    1ST 5 HRS +

    4 @ SUB 4

    6TH FLM 07 4.14 (HEAT)

    I am at last thinking of a 305

    Can someone explain the heart rate feature

    I understand the logic of
    9mm = sub 4 therefore
    to get 3.45 go for 8.30mm
  • Hi!

    I want to upgrade from a Polar HRM to something that measures pace/distance as well, and I have narrowed my choice down to the Garmin 305 or the RS400SD (or RS200SD). However, more recently I have discovered the Suunto T4 Marathon Pack.

    Can anybody comment on the T4 with footpod?
    I have read a lot about problems with the footpod calibration when changing shoes/pace (also in the case of Polar). How wrong do things get?

    I mainly run in urban areas w/o high buildings (should be ok for GPS), and I want to start training for a half-marathon soon.


  • I have a 305, which I have found to generally very reliable and useful. As with all GPS devices they are only as good as the signal.

    GPS let me down on FLM, due to all the high buildings. It does not like woods either.

    It is good though to see your training and very interesting when you upload to although the basic level is free it is quite good enough.

    Heart monitoring is via a chest strap which works well. Polar belts are not picked up.

    My wife is now converted so I have to fight her for it.
  • One more thing: I have read several postings where people say that the HRM functions of the Garmin are far worse than Polar - what is missing?
  • Sorry to but in on this forum but i currently have the old Garmin 101 and although it did have some great features i found it very inaccurate in both speed and distances covered which defies my reason for buying it in the first place.

    I do most of my runs on trails with alot of tree cover which may explain the incorrect distances and constant loss of signal.

    Could anyone advise if this is just a fault with the Garmin 101 or if the Polar watches are much more accurate.

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