The inevitable happened: my Garmin Forerunner 305 died on me. Not too long ago, I prayed it’d never come to this, but in the end, all things are born to die I guess.
I loved it since the very first day I owned it. Sure it had its flaws, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have that feeling with every piece of gear I’ll ever own. And given the sharp price, the 305 exceeded all and any expectations.
But now it’s time to move on. And after running with a gps watch for well over 3 years, I learned what I liked and didn’t like about the 305 and basically, I know exactly what I want for the next one. Based on the good & bad of the 305
- The route-trace function. A feature I only discovered after I owned the watch for half a year or so. After that, it became the feature I loved the most and I wouldn’t want to miss it for all the money in the world. So this is by far the number 1 requirement
- Buttons. I know touch screens are the new black and all that, but during a run, buttons are actually quite handy.
- It was actually quite cheap. Not really a future, but really nice to have anyway.
- Longer battery life. Even though my 305 positively surprised me during the Ardennes Mega Trail by staying with me for over 14 hours, it’s not going to be enough for CCC and possibly other quests I’ll be doing in the future. So a longer battery life would definitely be nice!
- Maybe a bit more lightweight and less bulky. Even though it never really bothered me during my runs, I guess it’s fair to say that the 305 doesn’t have the most sleek design :-).
- And a faster gps fix would be nice too. Although I’m not too demanding on that part. Nothing that can’t be solved by turning your gps watch on 10 minutes before you head out and leaving it on the windowsill for a while.
heart rate monitor? well, not a necessity as I never wore my chest band anyway. but a nice extra I guess, especially with the less annoying versions these days.
So far, only the Suunto Ambit2 (info) & the Garmin Fenix (info) (no need for the Fenix 2 as the biggest difference there is the multisport functionality which I have no use for), with a slight preference for the Fenix 2. TomTom looks promising and one of their employees promised me the map or “back to start” functionality will be pushed to all devices through a software update, there’s still the issue of the battery life. Most of TomTom’s solutions promise about 10 hours of battery life, which simply isn’t enough. It’s funny/sad to see how little competition there is in the big autonomy category. The focus seems to be on color displays, touch screens and smartwatch functionality. 3 Things which, except if I’d decide to start using it as a fulltime watch, I have no use for.
So help me out here! Suunto Ambit2 R or Garmin Fenix? Or am I missing out on good alternatives?
Either way, I’ll miss you, 305!