Garmin Forerunner 305, never die on me!

About 3 years ago, I thought the amount of running I was putting in on a daily base justified spending some hard cash on gear & gadgets. So I bought the Garmin Forerunner 305, the most basic of all GPS watches, at just 135 Euro (about $186), heart-rate monitor included. This is still cheaper than most HR watches these days, and, while it might be a bit bulky, it offers A LOT of functionality.

I’m not the most demanding person when it comes to sports gear. I’ll wear anything that doesn’t get in the way during my runs. I don’t wear hats or gloves, glasses or any other fancy attributes. I hardly ever wear my heart-rate monitor (I find it much nicer to listen to my body instead of the beeps of my watch when running). And I don’t even look at my watch all that often during a run. If I can upload my run data afterwards and have a look on my computer (and show off to friends), I’m already more than satisfied. But there’s one thing I really, really need. One thing that a lot of manufacturers seem to forget these days: A way to find my way back home.

The Forerunner 305 has this really nice map function. It’s not a full blown gps. There’s no map with streets and directions. It’s just a very basic, blank screen, with a line drawn along the path you’ve been running. And that’s all I need. Quite often, especially when abroad and in unknown territories, I just take off and run in somewhat the same direction for about an hour or so. The, depending on how good I’m feeling, I might just continue running in that direction for another half our. But the great thing is that, when I feel like turning back, I know exactly where I run to, even when I’ve been distracted by the environment for the past hour or so.

With the RC 3, Polar seems to finally understand that runners with watches might not need a fully functional gps device, but might want to get back to where they started:

However, what their “back to start” function doesn’t offer, is a way to avoid running the same route twice, something I can easily avoid using the Forerunner 305 by steering clear of the little black line.

Recently, it’s been acting a bit up though. And the battery life isn’t what it used to be I guess. But still, I hope it never dies on me. But just in case it does, feel free to make suggestions for good alternatives!

7 Comments

  1. nick
    April 18, 2014
    Reply

    Have you looked into the Garmin Fenix? Or the 610? I think both have this screen. You might even be able to buy them without HR monitor to save money, probably works with the one you own already.

    Suunto has some watches with map screen as well, but they’re a bit more expensive I guess. Like the Ambit 2R or something along those lines.

    But maybe the 310XT by Garmin is the closest to your 305. Although none of the mentioned is quite as cheap as the 305 was. Pity they discontinued that one really.

  2. Anonymous
    April 25, 2014
    Reply

    Have you looked into the Garmin Fenix? Or the 610? I think both have this screen. You might even be able to buy them without HR monitor to save money, probably works with the one you own already.

    Suunto has some watches with map screen as well, but they’re a bit more expensive I guess. Like the Ambit 2R or something along those lines.

    But maybe the 310XT by Garmin is the closest to your 305. Although none of the mentioned is quite as cheap as the 305 was. Pity they discontinued that one really.

  3. Marijn Vandevoorde
    April 28, 2014
    Reply

    Jup. The 310XT seemed interesting but it feels like buying a dinosaur. I talked to Tom Tom at an expo and they told me all of their watches are getting a software upgrade "somewhere later this year" that will add the back to start functionality. really cool that they push their software upgrades to all devices. I might actually go for a Tomtom and then wait it out. Maybe one day they'll add map screens too 🙂

  4. Adria
    September 18, 2016
    Reply

    Indeed, this and the “Route” option are great! Not many of the new watches have as much capability as the 305… quite sad!

    A bit late, but you can cheaply change the battery of the 305 if needed. Just search on google.

  5. September 19, 2016
    Reply

    After trying the Garmin Fenix for a while (and finding it quite buggy), I’ve gone with the suunto ambit3 run. Not that expensive and does the trick. And really long battery life, that’s definitely a plus 🙂

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