Upgrade garmin 305? (Read 322 times)


AKA bear2009

    I've had my 305 for about 3 years, and really loved it.  I have used many, but not all, of the features.  On a trip recently, I lost my charger.  I'm debating whether it's time to upgrade anyway, but to what???  The more I read about the different models, the more confused I get.  My training partners dislike their 405s, so I'm taking that off the table.


    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    2013 Goals:

    1. Start, stay, and finish the year uninjured!


      I have an aging 305 and a 610.  The 305 is more reliable and has a better cradle design.  I often find my 610 showing low battery warnings after sitting in the charger all night.  Unless the battery in your 305 is starting to fade due to age, my advice would be to buy a new cradle and stick with your existing garmin. 

       201x goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...


      Geezer trying for speed

        runningmum - I love my 305, but it's not without problems and each person's own habits will drive what works for them... so I'll give you my opinion and include the "why" so you can decide what's right for you...


        305 has not been too reliable... I'm on my 4th. We bought 2 and I've replaced both. One quite in the middle of my best Boston (2010) so I only had data up to mile 15 or so. My 3rd one broke so I'm using the 4th now. 


        I use HR extensively so that feature is critical to me. The old straps had a problem that when replacing the battery, it's SUPER EASY  to damage the surface that comes in contact with your chest... it began to rub me raw. Sanding with fine grit didn't help. I finally had to cover the battery area with clear packing tape. Problem solved... but still, not such a great design. I paid for a soft strap and it has never worked well (reads under 100 BPM when it should read 140 or so). NOTE: These may be fine... and I might have a lemon.. I have no way of knowing. But my brand new belt doesn't work and Garmin won't replace it (without charging me... because I didn't tell them soon enough)... so end of story in my opinion... I'm using the old strap.


        The 305 shows 4 pieces of data on the screen... I LOVE THAT.. many only give you 3. The backlight is not very strong, although is not a monster problem. The cradle may be better than the 610, but they are notorious for not connecting well after a few years of use.  I've had to rub the contacts with a pencil eraser and had to try to GENTLY bend the cradle pins so they stick up a bit more. It works reliable again.... hopefully for a long time.


        The 305 (like most GPS watches) is REALLY BAD at elevation data (not really the fault of the 305... it's a weakness of GPS). The Garmin 910XT and the Polar RS800CX both have barometer based elevation data... not perfect, but far better than GPS. Price is the only reason I've not purchased one. I use SportTracks (awesome software) to track my runs and it has a plug-in called Elevation Correction that works well but it can have problems with artificial areas (meaning... bridges... it might read water level... mountain pass cuts... it might read the general surrounding terrain rather than the deep cut) so nothing solves the problem, but a barometer based watch would be best for elevation.


        The 305 claims a 10 hour battery life... and is likely true. That's more than adequate for me. It's not as water resistant as some (again, fine with me). Some love the 310XT because it can be submerged AND has 20 hour battery life. It may be more easily used on a bike, but don't trust me on that one.


        The sound on the 305 often goes out quickly due to junk plugging up the holes on the back. I put a small piece of scotch tape (regular cellophane tape) over the hole. I can still hear it just as well and it seems to protect the hole well. EVERY SINGLE OTHER 305 I've had lost it's sound such that I could not even hear it.


        Overall, the 305 is still a great watch and I'm sticking with it for now. My biggest concern is the lack of reliability and really bad elevation data. I'm VERY GLAD that Garmin has replaced watches for $80, but the frequency of needing that has me still thinking of a replacement.


        I hope others help you because I want to learn more... especially if there are other barometer equipped watches so I can get reasonable elevation data.

        Anyone could see races, etc. on www.markrice.com/running.

        I believe in HR training: www.markrice.com/running/heart_rate_training.html

        Jeff F

        Free Beer

          I have had a 305 for about 3 years and have had no problems until just recently.  The watch shuts off in the middle of runs.  I have upgraded the software, reset the watch and made sure it is fully charged.  On last nights run it shut off again; I may need to call technical support and I hear they are very customer friendly.  I plan on resolving this issue, even if it means replacing it with a refurbished 305 unit.


          Having said that, I talked my wife into a new 610 for Christmas.  It is now wrapped and under the tree, so I can't speak to how well that one will work for me.

          I've got a fever...

            Seems like now that the 305 is discontinued and inventories are shrinking, the price is going up.  The 310XT can usually be found for less $$$ than a 305.  I don't own one yet (but probably will soon -- my 305 is dead, too), but given that it has longer battery life and is actually waterproof (my 305 stopped beeping due to sweat inhalation), I think the 310XT might be the way to go.

            On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

              It's probably well-known by now that I am a HUGE fan of the 205/305 over any of the newer watches (at least when you could get them for much cheaper than the newer ones).  I've had about 4 or 5 205/305 and every one of them was stone-cold reliable.  I live on the West Coast so I don't run in the rain much and that may have been a big factor in my experience with the watches.


              A tip for 205/305 users:  use two very small pieces of scotch tape to block off the two holes in the back of the watch.  One is for the beeper (yes, the beeps won't be as loud now) and I don't know what the second set of holes is for but since your sweaty, grimey wrist is up against those holes sweat & water love to migrate into the watch there.  Water with sodium ions (sweat) is a piece of electronic gear's WORST enemy.  Block those holes off and your beeper will never go away and the watch will last longer. 


              AKA bear2009

                Thanks for your replies!


                My biggest complaint with the 305 is the GPS takes so long to find where I am (even when I am running from the same location day after day).


                I guess from this feedback I should just cave and buy a new charger.....

                2013 Goals:

                1. Start, stay, and finish the year uninjured!