Garmin’s foray into GPS products is pretty well-known. The company has also made developments in the Health and Fitness department and the Forerunner GPS watch is one such device that’s aimed at this. The Forerunner 305 has come for a review and as we ran it through its paces we see whether it will help you make it to Tour De France.
Design and Build Quality
Initially the GPS watch feels pretty bulky, but the device is quite light and comfortable to wear around your wrist. The base at the bottom of the display is extended and has the GPS module that gathers the navigation data. Garmin has bundled an extra strap for those with thicker arms, which is quite thoughtful.
Bundled with Heart Rate Monitor
There are three buttons on the left side with one of them for powering on the gadget and the other Mode button to select between different options such as the Menu mode or the Timer mode. Towards the front of the gadget there are two buttons for lap which is meant to record the time in which a lap was completed. The other is a Start/Stop button which is used to activate the timer. The right of the watch has two buttons for navigating through the menus and a third button called Enter to select an option. The build quality of the device is pretty sturdy on the whole so it can take a few clumsy falls every now and then. However, we still felt the buttons were stiff to use.
Garmin has also bundled a Heart Rate Monitor strap that has to be tied to your chest and is meant to record heart beats. The strap has small openings to tether a belt to this strap and this belt can be contracted or expanded depending on how broad or narrow your chest is.
The watch has a simple monochrome display with large and easily legible fonts. At first glance the UI (User Interface) might feel a little complex to use but after around 15-20 minutes, the average user can easily get accustomed to it. After switching on the Forerunner 305, the device first gathers GPS data which has to be done in an open environment obviously, away from buildings or trees. Once that’s done you can access three options – Menu, Timer and a navigation Map.
There are three options in the Main Menu – History, Training, Navigation and Settings. The History option lets you see your workout history. There are options where you can sort out the work routine by Days, Weeks or check the total Distance and Time walked as well as see the amount of calories you've lost.
Navigation works well, but feels a little outdated
Select the Training option and you can set alerts for time/distance and pace as well. The other options include the Virtual Partner that lets you set some goals like distance or speed and you'll be compared to this virtual partner who’s doing the same thing in optimum time. While a human tends to lose speed or would wait, the Virtual Partner is meant to act as motivation as you try and keep up with it. Other Training options are Workouts and Courses that you can set through the software that’s bundled with the product.
The navigation option is meant for tracking your starting position and finding routes. You can also go to your starting position and mark different waypoints or routes. For those of you used to advanced navigation systems, you might find this a little outdated.
The timer option is quite easy to start because of the quick Start/Stop button at the front. You can read the rate of your heart beat, time and distance that you’ve worked out (running or jogging) and the number of calories that have been burnt in the process.
Garmin has bundled a software called Training Centre which lets you import all the training data that you’ve collected throughout the week or for a particular day, which can be viewed in a graph format. The software is quite simple and easy to use and you can also create workouts or training sessions that can later be exported to the Forerunner 305 GPS device.
Sufficient data to know how much you've lost
The Forerunner 305 pretty much delivers on all the different activities that it can help users to conduct. It’s quite simple to time your runs and also recording laps is easy because of the Lap button. As mentioned earlier, we had a slight problem reading the map on the device although we must add that the GPS system is pretty accurate. The very fact that you can create workouts and training sessions are a nice feature and it doesn’t take you very long to do so.
Good and useful, but at a price!
The Forerunner 305 is priced at Rs. 19,392 which is definitely high. It makes a lot of sense for those who are very serious about working out and keeping fit. It’s a nice way to keep track of all the work outs that have been done and the calories that are lost but at the same time, beginners are advised to first get the hang of intense physical activity and then jump for this device. However, if you are serious about working out and are looking for a cheaper alternative, you can always download apps for the iPhone, Android or even Symbian handsets which wont cost you a bomb at least.
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