View Full Version : Running Gadget Review: Garmin Forerunner 205

06-19-2008, 15:57
Garmin Forerunner 205 (305 as well) is the best thing since sliced bread and dry suit...if you are tryint to stay fit this is the best gadget you can get to keep you going

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=348 (https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=348)

Essentially, it is a running stop watch which uses GPS to track where you are running at and provides you all necessary stats in real time. If you are like me, trying to stay fit by jogging ( I am actually training for a marathon) then you are likely running the same routes again in order to know how far you have run. Or each time I’d run a different path, I’d take my car out for a spin to measure the distance. I also tried various internet maps to measure it. All of the above is very hard if you run on unmarked paths and parks. This watch solves that problem.

It has a very nice feature called ‘virtual running partner’ – you set the time /distance/pace and the watch displays how much behind/ahead of your virtual partner which will run exactly that time/distance/pace.

All data is easily synced to your computer and you have very nice way to see history and intensity of your workout. The path you run is very easily mapped to google maps – very cool (sample - http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/kml/episode.kml?episodePkValues=5956826 (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/kml/episode.kml?episodePkValues=5956826))

I got mine as a bday gift. I know it was purchased at Amazon. There are also plenty of reviews there. My experiences with satellite reception are very positive. I’ve run on cloudy days in parks with high trees, and even under some overpases – never lost signal. People who have problems are likely using versions 101, 201 and 301 which are older and bulkier.

The only 2 things that don’t work well are: 1 – elevation tracking – this is off – it shows that I went up and down about 300 feet, when in fact I ran on mostly flat surface, maybe +-50 feet. Also, if you download Google earth as a plug in to the Garmin tracking center it will keep on crashing. I don’t recommend downloading it, I uninstalled it.


06-19-2008, 16:13
Thanks for the review. I had no idea something like this existed. This would be useful to track my distance when I rollerblade around Manhattan.

06-19-2008, 17:33
NP. Some reviewers at Amazon did mention it is hard to get satellite lock near tall buildings. I haven't tested it in such environment, but my gut feeling is that it will work just fine. It needs 3 satelittes to lock on, and I can usually see around 10 when I play with the menu.

06-19-2008, 19:47
I've been using a Nike+, which I think is decent as long as you're not looking for exact precision.

I've also been looking at the forerunner. The only thing holding my back is the worry that it will feel big on my wrist. I like the ipod because I can wear it closer to my body (upper arm) and it doesn't swing all over the place.

Does it feel bulky at all? How does it compare to a normal timing watch (a $30 dollar timex or something).

06-20-2008, 06:17
It's not bulkier at all - in fact, it is smaller and lighter than usual Polar watches (and pedometers) I see people wear in the gym.

If you have extra $$, the new 405 version is even smaller, with a pull out antenna.

In terms of regular watch, its probably twice the size, with another latch on the side for GPS antenna.

06-30-2008, 16:00
I hear the forerunner 205 had satelite issues. I've been using the 305 for the last year or so and haven't had any problems running in the city, or on the trails. I've even used it geo-caching and hiking as a GPS. You can't load maps on it, but you can mark plenty of waypoints.

The virtual partner is by far the best feature for exercise though. You can have a computer simulated partner based on times you want to run over-all, or you can create a virtual partner that mimics your past (or best) runs. This way you know what pace you should keep on parts of the course that may be inclines or declines based on how you performed on those parts before.

I haven't done my research on the 405 as I didn't even know it existed, but I may have to look into it.

06-30-2008, 16:49
I noticed a price drop in the other models when the 405 came out, so I bought a 305 and have been using it for a week now. I like it for running, but I really like it for biking. The motion based website is cool, and I was able to get it working with my mac.

So far, so good. Thanks for pushing me over the edge.

The only thing I like better about the Nike+ is the way it counts down time in your headphones (15 min completed, etc...). For everything else, the Forerunner wins.


07-03-2008, 21:17
The only thing I like better about the Nike+ is the way it counts down time in your headphones (15 min completed, etc...). For everything else, the Forerunner wins.


I guess that's a nice feature. I didnt like the fact the bluetooth module in Nike+ gets wasted after some time.

Motion based site is awesome. Since I installed Google earth my Garmin software is crashing though, so I uninstalled it and I look at my maps on 'simple' web google interface rather than in Google earth.

Good purchase, you won't regret it. I didn't have any reception problems on my 205 yet - and I ran on clowdy days , in semi forested areas.