Garmin Forerunner 205 & 305 GPS

Wednesday, 18 January 2006 17:10 | Written by 
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 Garmin have released a new version of the Forerunner series of wrist mounted GPS units that have become popular with paddlers. Like their predecessors (the 101 and 201) they come in two models: the Forerunner 205 and the Forerunner 305. The 305 combines a heart-rate monitor with the GPS functionality of the 205.

Garmin Forerunner 205 & 305


The 305 includes all the features of the prior models plus:

  • Sleek, stylish, lightweight design that "wraps" the GPS antenna around part of the wrist for a better view of the sky, improving reception during training
  • High-sensitivity GPS receiver provides faster acquisition times and improves tracking under trees and near tall buildings
  • Robust wireless heart rate monitor with softer, more comfortable chest strap eliminates cross-talk with other devices and helps you train in your zone
  • Customizable screens let you view up to 12 data fields on 3 data screens for immediate feedback on the information you need most when training
  • Courses feature lets you download recorded courses and compete against previous workouts
Garmin 305
Garmin Forerunner 305
Of concern to paddlers who have paddled with the 301 is the low degree of waterproofing. Bear in mind these GPS units are designed for running and cycling where at worst they might get a bit sweaty. I don’t think the designers considered they would be attached to surf skis and sent crashing through breaking waves. Garmin states they meet the standards of being submersible in one meter of water for up to 30 mins. Experience has shown that paddling in sea water with the 301 leads to corrosion of the USB port on the unit unless additional waterproofing steps are undertaken (e.g. silicone spray or grease in the USB port combined with tape over the rubber plug).

To Garmin’s credit they have honoured their guarantee by replacing units that have corroded. It remains to be seen if Garmin have improved the waterproofing on the new models.

We will be strapping a loan Forerunner 305 to Rob Mousley this weekend and if he gets dunked half as well as he did when finishing the Cape Point Challenge we'll have a good test of the level of waterproofing.


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