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Garmin Forerunner 205 vs 305

Updated on October 1, 2011

If you are serious about your workouts whether you are a runner, jogger, biker, walker, skier, or swimmer you understand the need for accurate monitoring. Garmin has a great workout companion and even if it looks like a "beam me up Scotty" device it provides important information that keeps a workout on track. How many calories were burned? Did I complete the entire 3 miles? Was that workout really as difficult as it feels? All that and much more important data - all available on a small wrist watch style device.

The Forerunner 205 is a GPS device that straps to your arm just like a wrist watch albeit larger. While strapped to your wrist it provides GPS positioning as well as workout data. Speaking of that, the improved curve design is not only more comfortable than the earlier models like the 301, but the improved design allows for better antenna positioning and viewing angle of the screen. I enjoy running in a light rain so the waterproof feature of the Garmin 205 is great. Waterproof is also great for swimmers. Changing between workouts is possible without resetting the unit.

Garmin Forerunner 205 and 305
Garmin Forerunner 205 and 305

Garmin Forerunner 205 vs 305

Control of the Garmin Forerunner 205 is as simple as pushing a few buttons. The buttons on the right side of the unit are for the menu and enter functions while the left side houses the mode button and the very useful backlight for those of us who exercise by moonlight. Recharging the internal lithium battery and transferring data from the Garmin Forerunner 205 can be accomplished either while sitting in its cradle attached to the AC adapter or it can be connected to your computer via a USB cable. This is a good feature. I remember several gadgets that required 2 cables - one for charging and another for data transfer.

An out and back route is simple but what if you are in an unfamiliar neighborhood where the streets are winding and the houses all look alike? Easy - use the "go to location" feature and you will be routed back to your starting point. Reassurance can be had when you zoom in on the map displayed on your wrist. Your real time direction and your path will be displayed there for you. Another interesting feature called "course" lets you save several locations (waypoints) to form repeatable route. Choose a quick, interval or advanced workout. Compete against your own personal best or against the built in virtual partner.

The Garmin Forerunner 205 or the 305 combined with the Garmin Training Center software helps you plan future workouts using stored data from past workouts. is web-based program used to analyze your workouts. You can even share your favorite routes with other users as well as trying theirs. Then helps you train for specific events.

Workout maniacs have probably noticed that I have not mentioned anything about monitoring your heart rate. That is because the Garmin Forerunner 205 does not offer that option - but do not despair. The Garmin Forerunner 305 does. The 305 connects wirelessly to a heart rate monitor that measures heart rate and speed.

The Garmin Forerunner also connects wirelessly to an optional FootPod. The FootPod attaches to your shoe and will report your distance and pace indoors, anyplace or anytime when GPS reception is not available.


Both the Garmin Forerunner 205 and the 305 records, displays and saves multiple workouts. Both can use software on and offline to analyze and plan future workouts based on past performances. Both give you options of which workout details will be displayed during a workout. Both are very accurate and can receive satellite signals near tall building and dense tree cover. Both offer you a virtual partner to motivate you.

So what are the differences? The Garmin Forerunner 305 adds the heart rate monitor, the FootPod accessory that lets you workout without the GPS.

At first neither could be used with a Mac because the Garmin Training Center Software was only supported by Windows. However, updates should be available as well as the site offers a MAC plugin that will upload data from the Garmin Forerunner.

Overall, I think that the Garmin Forerunner 205 and the 305 would be fantastic for exercise enthusiasts. They are compact, easily operated and they provide valuable and fun information in real time that can be used for future workouts. Competing against yourself is the true way to improve your performance and the interactive features are motivating. Accuracy counts and user forums are full of chatter about what their experiences have been - most sounds positive.

If I could change anything about the design it would be to have a replaceable battery. I feel better as a user when I have more control when solving potential problems

Today we are talking about ultra-portable laptop computers, specifically the ones that measure 11.1" and that weigh barely 2.5 lbs. Two of the most popular laptops of this description are the Sony Vaio TZ series and the Lenovo IdeaPad U Series. Both are tremendously portable, reliable, functional and don't forget - beautiful.

Laptop computers can replace a desktop and are usually called desktop replacements. On the other hand laptop computers are meant to be portable. There again, portable can mean just moving it to the other room or carrying it to school and back. Then are the ones mentioned above that can be comfortably carried anywhere and everywhere you go.

I carry Sony Vaio TX series laptop in my purse. Where I go - it goes. It is not conspicuous and I do not have to carry two separate bags to have it at my fingertips.

Both the Sony Vaio TZ and the Lenovo IdeaPad U are similar. They both come in more than one color, both have 11.1" widescreens, both have security features built in, both have integrated cameras, both weigh under 3.0 lbs., both are stylish and make most of us drool. Both models will have the usual Bluetooth and internet connections. Both have a 1 yr. limited warranty included.

Disclosure: I may earn affiliate income if you purchase an item from this Hub.


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    • profile image

      Garmin Mount Guy 7 years ago

      I have the 205 and was wondering if I need to upgrade, but if I think about it the 205 has everything that I need right now so will hold onto it until it breaks.

    • gidtset profile image

      gidtset 7 years ago

      It is a great motivation factor to have a watch like the Garmin Forerunner 305. I use mine 3-4 times a week.

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      That's really good info, thanks for sharing.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 8 years ago from Holly, MI

      I have the 205 and I love it! It broadened my runs greatly, instead of running the mapped out routes I had, now I could easily do trail runs, etc and know how far I went, prior to that I'd just do trails for the variety but never really had the great reward of knowing the distance. I have thought about upgrading this season but haven't really found any reason to besides for wanting a new toy. lol Great Hub!

    • davbaby profile image

      davbaby 8 years ago from San Antonio

      This is very cool because I have been thinking about starting to hike and I am extremely navigationally challenged. Thank you!

    • Bill Dimmler profile image

      Bill Dimmler 8 years ago

      I've been running with my 305 since April 07. Absolutely love it. It changed the way I run. I never have to measure routes anymore. If I want to run 5, no matter where I am, I just go 2.5 out and turn around.

    • profile image

      garmin305forerunner fanclub 8 years ago

      I was a bit hesitant to order this. after two weeks of use (10 runs of 2 to 2.5 miles each), I have no regrets with the purchase whatsoever.

    • profile image

      ink 10 years ago

      Love the idea, but seems it gets expensive if you want the heart rate monitor.

    • Debbie Cook profile image

      Debbie Cook 10 years ago from USA

      I apologize for the confusion. I removed the offensive lines from my hub. I was trying to state that the 205 and the 305 are not your typical GPS units that would  guide you across town. The Forerunner tracks your progress, and saves your routes but data is not entered up front as with a StreetPilot for instance. 

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      I'm baffled as to why you say the ForeRunner 205 is not a real GPS receiver, but the 305 is. The 205 and 305 are identical in this regard. They are both GPS receivers.

      The only difference between the two is compatibility with accessories, such as the footpod and HRM. But neither of these has anything to do with GPS.

    • personaltrainer profile image

      personaltrainer 10 years ago from Beverly Hills

      The Forerunner units look to be very helpful in a fitness training program.  It is like a heart rate monitor on steroids. Looks like I will have to pop for one.