March 18, 2006

GPS Review: Garmin Forerunner 205 Arrives for Review at the GPS Lodge

Garmin Forerunner 205

The Garmin Forerunner 205 arrived for review today at the GPS Lodge, time to put the running shoes on. Garmin announced the upgrade to the popular Forerunner 201 and Forerunner 301 in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. The big change is the shape and the inclusion of the SiRF star III chipset, both targeted at the quality of satellite signal. The wrap around shape helps the unit keep the GPS receiver chip facing the sky for better reception, while the highly sensitive SiRF star III chipset helps keep a lock on the satellite signal (for more information on why the SiRF star III chipset is a big deal – see this article). The shape of the unit also makes it more user friendly and more appealing overall as a training device as it looks more like a watch and less like some techno-gadget.

The new Forerunner line comes in two flavors – the Garmin Forerunner 205 is a stand alone unit that you wear while training to record your progress and workout. It connects to your computer via USB so that you can download the information onto it and log that activity. From there, you can easily upload to, or similar training program. The Garmin Forerunner 305 adds a heart rate monitor (HRM) to also capture your heart rate along with all of the other data.

The beauty of the Forerunner series is that you can capture key data about your workout easily and accurately. Generally, the Forerunner 205 captures your speed, location, altitude, distance, as well as a lot of other combinations of this information – like pace, stopped time, running time, calories burned, best pace, etc. The Forerunner 205 and 305 also fold in a nice set of features that allow you to enjoy training a bit more, and keep you on course for better results.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be putting it through its paces and seeing how we like the new model. We have the Forerunner 201, and like the fact that it gives us instantaneous data about the workout. It will be good to see how the improvements in the Forerunner 205 play out.

Garmin Forerunner 205 - What's in the Box

Garmin Froerunner 205 Whats in the Box

The Garmin Forerunner 205 comes with a base for transferring data and charging, a USB cable, a wall charger (both plug into the base), Garmin's Training Center software, an owner’s manual, a Set-up and Go quick start guide, a longer strap, a tool to help change the wrist strap, and two brochures for and for

Specifications- (From the Garmin Website)

Training timer features -
*Training data: Can display training time, pace, distance, lap pace, lap time, lap distance, average and best pace, elevation and calories
*Customizable screens: Choose from up to 37 data types
*Lap History: Automatically records up to 1000 laps by day or week; stores approximately two years of data. *Download histories to your PC using included software

Training assistant-
*Courses: Download recorded courses and compete against previous workouts
*Auto Pause®: Automatically pauses the training timer when you slow down below a specified resting pace; timer resumes when you start running again
*Auto Lap®: Automatically triggers a lap when you reach a specified distance or location. Allows you to run anywhere and still get accurate performance data
*Auto Scroll™: Cycles through data pages during a workout
*Multi-sport: Set up profiles for running, biking and another sport
*Advanced workouts: Set up workouts with specific durations and targets (speed or heart rate)
*Quick workouts: Allows you to input training goals based on time, distance and pace
*Virtual Partner™: Displays a graphic “virtual partner” that will run with the set goal, so you can see at a glance if you are keeping up or falling behind. Works with courses and workout features
*Pace alert: Alarm sounds if you are slower or faster than the pace you've input
*Time/distance alert: Alarm sounds when you reach the specified time or distance
*Interval training : Allows you to set up exercise and rest intervals and number of reps

Navigation features
*Receiver: SiRFstarIII™ high-sensitivity GPS receiver
*Antenna: Built-in patch; points to the sky when wrist’s in motion for optimum performance
*Mark location: Mark and save up to 100 locations
*Find location: Look up and navigate to stored locations
*Map mode: Electronic map shows your location, along with marked locations. Pointer arrow shows direction to travel when navigating to a stored location

*Display: 1.3"W x .8"H, 160 x 100 pixels
*Size: 2.1"W x 2.7"H x .7"D
*Case: Waterproof to IEC 60529 IPX7 standards
*Temperature range: -4° to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C)

Analyze Workouts
*Garmin Training Center™: Included software lets you create and schedule workouts, analyze your data and store it. Windows and Mac compatible
*MotionBased™: Web-based application from Garmin that provides more in-depth analysis of your workouts. provides an online training log, interactive mapping and the TrailNetwork, which allows you to post and share routes with fellow athletes. Windows and Mac compatible

Forerunner series comparison guide. Here's how the units are different:

Forerunner 205:
*Measures time, distance, pace, altitude and calories burned
Forerunner 305:
*Measures heart rate, time, distance, pace, altitude and calories burned
*Compatible with Garmin speed/cadence sensor, GSC 10, to monitor pedaling cadence when cycling

Read More in: GPS Reviews | Garmin GPS Reviews

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Posted by Scott Martin at March 18, 2006 11:32 AM

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