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Garmin Edge 305 review

I finally bought a new GPS for my bike. For those who know me, you know I love my GPS units. In the car, hiking, biking etc. I have been using a Foretrex for a long time on my mountain bike. Once I got the handle bar mount it was a perfect solution. It allowed me to have a track of where I had been and could use it for navigating around large places. The unit has served me well. It runs off AAA batteries so I was able to carry a spare set for emergencies and always ran it off rechargeables. The unit offloads data through a proprietary serial cable that works but is a bit slow.

Here’s a list of all the GPS units I have owned: http://jgalea.com/gps/

So I started to be curious about heart rate monitors. I see a lot of people with them and wondered … Upon looking into them it seemed silly to have another device on the handle bar etc. So I quickly zeroed in on an all in one device. I love the all in one idea. Garmin are always my preferred GPS company and sure enough I found they had one. This puppy does everything it has a sensor that mounts on the chain stay and picks up the peddle rotation speed (called cadence), wheel speed (both done by one sensor wirelessly) and a heart rate monitor (also done wirelessly). The unit is well designed and can be used (and transitions perfectly) between being used with and without the two wireless sensor. No need to change any settings, it just adapts. Well done! The weak point of the unit is the display which is quite low in resolution and small. But it is adequate. It is backlit for use in the dark.
Edge 305

The heart rate sensor is a strap that goes around your chest. Not the most comfortable thing. I will have to see if I can get use to it. They recommend that you wet the sensor and this seems to make better contact with the skin.

Battery for the unit is by an internal lithium ion rechargeable battery which likely will mean you need to send it back when that gives up the ghost in 2 years or so. The sensors use a coin lithium battery that can be easily changed. The unit charges by mini-USB cable (brilliant!!) and this also is how you offload/upload the data. Data transfer is quick and simple. The unit comes with two mounts so you can mount it either way on your handle bars (or on the neck). The nice thing about that is that you can mount it on two bikes!

The unit has all the same navigation functions as the Foretrex I am use to. All the menus are changed so it has taken me a short bit of time to get use to it. The unit comes with Garmin Training Center but this program is very basic. I already had Mapsource so that I can upload and download waypoints/tracks to and from the unit. All of my old waypoints were easily uploaded to the unit but it could not hold as many. Seems the memory is smaller.

The unit is waterproof so if you get caught in the rain your ok.

The unit is quite small and when mounted on the neck of the handle bars should be quite durable even with falls. This particular GPS does not do maps so if your looking for topographic maps this unit is not for you.

Garmin have started their own portal called http://www.motionbased.com/ that does a nice job via a plug in to interface with the GPS and grab your recent activities. Here is an example of a map from Garmin’s portal:

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/8458635 Not bad at all. Overlays on top of google maps just like RunGPS does. The portal is a little funky in how it works. You upload your data and it processes it offline. Then when done it is available for viewing. A little odd.

The GPS location lock is much faster than the Foretrex and the unit is much more sensitive (it uses the SirF III chipset Vs the Garmin proprietary chipset). Drops out happened occasionally on the foretrex in heavy cloud/leaf/rain cover but this should be better on this unit.

What could they have added:

– Bluetooth GPS support (truly would be a one unit does all!)

– Temperature sensor

So far I am very happy with my new unit! Does everything the old one does and more. A rare move entirely forward! How often does that happen …

I bought my unit on ebay (as always J )

Update:
So after using this device for a while the number one limiting factor on the device is the amount of memory. It can only hold 100 waypoints (wtf). My 6 year old Forerunner can hold 500!

Be sure to checkout my new tekkie blog at https://johngalea.wordpress.com/. For those of you who are also into wine checkout my wine blog at http://www.canadianwineguy.com

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June 23, 2009 - Posted by | Electronic gadget reviews, GPS Stuff

2 Comments »

  1. […] while back I tried an Edge 305 and promptly lost it. I liked the unit but it’s form factor meant it was useful only for […]

    Pingback by Foretrex 401 review « John Galea's Blog | October 6, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] now the rub. As with the Edge 305 I reviewed thsi device can only handle 100 waypoints. I mountain bike. I go to a number of […]

    Pingback by Forerunner 305 review « John Galea's Blog | May 31, 2010 | Reply


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