Garmin Forerunner 205 vs 305 – No Wrong Choice

The Garmin Forerunner 305 and the Forerunner 205 go head to head in the match up of the year. Who wins? Both. That’s the great thing about having two fine products.

Sure, it seems like a copout, but no one can say this GPS sports watch versus that one is the best for everybody. Still, it is possible to compare them and let the reader decide. We do that here…

One thing you notice when comparing them side to side is how difficult it is to tell which one you’re looking at. They both have the same stylish, robust case with easy-access buttons and easy-to-read display.

Both offer the same proprietary Hotfix technology that lets the watch lock on to a set of satellites in the shortest time possible. The unit records your last known position so it can more rapidly hook up the next time it’s powered up.

Both offer the same standard set of well-known Garmin GPS sports watch features: Auto Pause, Auto Lap, Virtual Partner, Satellite monitoring, and more.

Both offer the same ease of use, the same huge history storage capacity (1000 laps), the same fine battery life (10 hours), and the same water-resistance level (not waterproof, but IPX7 certified, so use in the rain is fine).

But what about the differences? Are there any, and in particular any that would justify upgrading from one to the other?

As an entry-level model, you would expect the Forerunner 205 to be a little less expensive and to have correspondingly fewer features. Unsurprisingly, that’s true in this case.

The Forerunner 205 retails for about $25-$50 less. To a dedicated athlete looking to fine-tune his or her personal workouts using a GPS-enabled sports watch, that won’t mean much. But to weekend runners, those just getting started, or just anyone who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles, it can tip the scales.

The Forerunner 305 also offers a wireless heart rate monitor that can take your workout to the next level. Garmin’s ANT+ wireless technology works in concert with the comfortable chest strap. Anyone who trains according to Heart Rate Zones will weigh this option heavily. The 205 lacks support for that heart rate monitor.

The 205 also doesn’t work with Garmin’s optional Foot Pod accessory. So, if you like to train indoors on the treadmill, the Forerunner 305 is your preferred option here. And, last, cyclists will likely prefer the 305 since it supports the Bike Speed/Cadence sensor, but the 205 does not. That’s essential to bikers for getting maximum value from their GPS watch.