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Thursday, June 1, 2006

Garmin ForeRunner 301 review (301 vs. 305)

Garmin ForeRunner 305With the release of the Garmin ForeRunner 305 GPS Training Assistant, I though it would be a good time to review it’s 301 predecessor and take a good hard look at weather shelling out nearly 150$ for the latest and greatest is such a good idea.
The ForeRunner 301 really changed the way I train. I practice mostly speedskating and running, I also rarely run or skate on regular tracks. The ForeRunner enabled me to run freely off track, and still log the mileage I was aiming for.

While runners can use pedometers, or other cheaper solutions - a GPS receiver is almost the only way to measure speed while skating. Knowing how fast your going is very important, as you can rarely tell the difference between skating 27Kph and 30Kph. Knowing your speed can help you improve you technique.

The ForeRunner was also my first heart rate monitor. If you’re already experienced with such devices, I don’t have to tell you the difference they make. A heart rate monitor can help you get the most out of your workouts - especially in interval training.

So - the ForeRunner 301 gives us speed, distance, heart rate and other valuable training statistics - what more does the ForeRunner 305 have to offer?

Garmin ForeRunner 301The 305’s main improvement upon it’s predecessor is in design. While the 301 is slightly bulky and comparable in size to two wristwatches, the 305 is much smaller and could almost pass for a wristwatch. This has been achieved by repositioning the GPS antenna to the side of the wrist, rather than up the arm. This is also said to improve GPS reception due to the fact that the antenna is facing skywards while in a standard running position.

My 301 seems to get a strong signal even with both my hands behind my back, and under my skating pack - so it doesn’t seem that there was much to improve upon as far as reception.

The second major difference is the new heart-monitor strap and communications system. The strap is said to be more comfortable, and the communication between the strap and unit to be more reliable and secure.

I must admit that the 301 has the occasional heart rate “glitch” - making your recorded HR jump to 220 or drop to 50 for no apparent reason. This is annoying, but doesn’t happen very often.

The finally addition to the 305 are the extended custom data screens. The 301 allows one custom data screen per sport (3 screens total), displaying 3 chosen parameters. The 305 allows 3 custom screens as well, but with up to 12 chosen parameters per screen.

The 305 is an unquestionable improvement of its predecessor - but with the 305 retailing for over 300$ and the 301 retailing for just over 150$ you must ask yourself: Is a sleeker design, a slightly better heart rate monitor and small firmware update really worth twice the price?

Compare and Buy Garmin ForeRunner models on Amazon.com



  1. I think that Garmin ForeRunner 305 is too heavy. I want to buy Suunto t3 with gps pod. on ebay i've found t3+gps for 150$ without shipment. pretty well price for the nice watch. What do u think?

  2. I find the GPS "pods" like the Suunto, or the timeX models very uncomfortable, you have to wear them on your arm if you're not skating/running with a pack, and they are quiet heavy (weigh more than the whole Forerunner 301/305).
    I'd rather have a little extra weight on my wrist, than a lot of weight on my arm.
    The Garmin 301 in now well under 150$ and I find the model more comfortable than the 305.

  3. but u can't walking in the street with Garmin, it's seems ridiculous... the watch was designed and appointed only for sport:(

  4. and i'm always skating with my bag...

  5. I recommend you separate your day-to-day watch from your sports GPS.
    The Garmin also has a 14 hour battery lifetime between charges, so it is by no means a wrist-watch.
    A year ago, I would also have told you that I always skate with a pack, today I try to avoid it as much as possible. Running with a pack is even less comfortable.
    From my experience, when you try to combine to concepts (a wrist watch, and a sports GPS in this case) you more often than not, end up with the worst of both worlds.
    I'm sure that the Suunto doesn't have half of the Garmins functinallity (Training assistant and Map mode, for example).

    If you want a day-to-day watch with GPS functionality, go for one of the alternatives. But if you want a proper sports GPS, get the Garmin

  6. GPS remains for Global Positioning System, which is a navigational framework that uses a worldwide satellite framework to recognize the correct area, course and speed of a GPS recipient.

  7. In the conversation about the trackers, I learned a lot of new not only about fitness trackers such as garmin (which are really heavy for my pretty slim hand) but also about gps tracker application https://uboro.io/tracker-app I've used for tracking my employees.
    Oh my God, if I had found this application before ...
    Why did I only know about fitness trackers before? I considered these apps completely useless and had no idea about their capabilities and functionality.
    Now I make up for lost time))