January 3, 2006

Garmin Forerunner 205 and 305 Announced

Garmin announced the new Forerunner 205 and Forerunner 305 today, confirming the news that we reported here in November. The new Garmin Forerunner 205 and Garmin Forerunner 305 feature a totally new design for the wrist mounted trainers that wraps the device around the wrist more to make sure that the antenna is facing the sky in normal use. Also, with the addition of the SiRF star III chipet, reception should be greatly improved. This was a minor issue when we used our Forerunner 201 during the Fall in heavy tree cover, but not so bad that it became unusable or dropped signals totally.

The versatile Forerunner 205 and 305 let users customize the display, as well as segment their data for their specific activity. The AutoLap feature automatically records lap data at a specified time, distance, or position. AutoPause will pause the lap timer when the user drops below the limits of their configured pace. Individuals who prefer to exercise with a workout partner will appreciate the Virtual Partner, which allows the user to keep pace with a digital person that performs at a programmed pace, duration or distance. The MultiSport feature allows users to transition seamlessly from one sport to the next without having to reset the unit. This works OK on the current software, and helps you categorize the data so that you can only look at your runing history, while not confusing your biking times with your jogging times.

The Forerunner 205 and 305 also integrate a new course feature that allows users to recall a course based upon previously recorded activities, or they may download and share courses with other users through MotionBased.com. Athletes may use this feature to match or exceed previously established times for the course, or race a Virtual Partner that varies its speed while climbing hills and navigating turns.

The Forerunner 305 also comes equipped with a heart rate monitor that delivers real-time heart rate data exclusively to the user’s device. This data is stored for post-workout analysis in chart, table, and map views. The Forerunner 305 uses a softer, more comfortable heart rate monitor strap than previous Forerunner. This HRM is also compatible with the new EDGE bike GPS trainer. I can't wait. There has been a lot of rumbling about how uncomfortable and somewhat unreliable the current HRM strap is on the Forerunner 305, so this should solve the issue.

Garmin also pointed out that the data is all uploadable to their Motionbased.com website that they recently aquired. See our review of Motionbased.com before they bought it (see article).

The Forerunner 205 is expected to be available in February and has an estimated retail price of $249 (street). It includes a USB PC interface cable, AC charger, docking station, Training Center CD, owner's manual and quick-reference guide.

The Forerunner 305 is expected to be available in February and has an estimated retail price of $349 (street). It includes a heart rate monitor, USB PC interface cable, AC charger, docking station, Training Center CD, owner's manual and quick-reference guide.

Other specifications of the Forerunner 205 and 305:

* GPS: High sensitivity SiRFstarIIITM architecture
* Weight: 77 grams (2.72oz)
* Display (WxH): 1.3" x 0.8" (33mm x 20.3mm)
* Physical size (WxHxD): 2.1" x 0.7" x 2.7" (53.3mm x 17.8mm x 68.6mm)
* Lap memory: 1,000 laps
* Battery: Rechargeable internal lithium ion
* Battery Life: 10 hours (typical use)
* Water resistance: IEC 60529 IPX7 (submersible to one meter for up to 30 minutes)

Specifications of the Forerunner heart rate monitor:

* Physical size (WxHxD): 13.7" x 1.4" x 0.5" (348mm x 35.6mm x 12.7mm)
* Transmission range: approximately 3m (9.8ft)
* Battery: 3 years (1 hour per day) / CR2032 (3 volts)
* Weight: 21g (.74oz)

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Posted by Scott Martin at January 3, 2006 9:32 AM

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