Archive for November 18th, 2009|Daily archive page

GPS Introduction

The Garmin Forerunner is a Sports Watch range made by Garmin 305. Most models use the GPS, and are targeted at road runners and triathletes. The GPS models are designed as an accurate method of measuring distance, speed, time, altitude, and pace, all of which can be important to athletes in training for races. Either for creating logs, or for navigating new workouts.


In chronological order, the models of the Forerunner are: 101, 201, 301, GPS 205, GPS 305, 50, 405, 60, 405CX, and 310XT. All models except the 101 include a way to upload training data to a PC and software, where a user can view a map of their run, see their progression over the course of the run in pace and altitude, and even apply the map of their run over a satellite image of the area. The 201 weighs 78 grams while the 205 weigh 77 grams. The 201 has a slightly larger screen and has a 15 hour battery life while the 205 has a 10 hour battery. The 301, 305, 50 and 405 models also record heart rate, which can be viewed on the map.

In 2006 Garmin introduced the 205 and 305 models, which are smaller and use a much more sensitive GPS receiver chip. They also provide users with a feature called Virtual Partner, allowing them to train against a digital person on their watch. The 305 model also interfaces with a cycling cadence sensor that can be purchased separately. The 205/305 buttons have tactile response and can be pressed even when the user is sweating or is wearing gloves. However the buttons on the side are hard to operate with winter gloves (on/off,mode,enter,up,down) because padding diffuses the pressure needed to push the small+stiff buttons. Front buttons (Lap+start/stop) work fine with gloves. The 405 has some non-tactile buttons that have limited function when the user is sweating or wearing gloves. The 405’s other tactile buttons will still work when the user is sweating or wearing gloves.

In late 2007 the Forerunner 50 was introduced, which uses a foot pod instead of GPS for sensing movement. It can also be bought with a heart rate monitor, and bike speed/cadence sensor. One unique feature is that it uses a wireless USB connector to upload training details.

In 2008, the Forerunner 405 was introduced. The watch is almost the size of a normal wristwatch, far smaller than all of its predecessors, and features faster satellite pick-up. The watch has a touch sensitive bezel around the screen’s edge with which the user controls its functions. And it uses a wireless USB connector through which training details are uploaded to the computer, as soon as you are in range. The battery lasts approximately eight hours in GPS training mode and up to two weeks in power save mode.

In 2009, three new models were introduced. The Forerunner 60 (an evolution of the Forerunner 50), the Forerunner 405CX (405 chassis) and the Forerunner 310XT (an evolution of the 305 chassis). Some new features include advanced calorie consumption modeling on both watches. The 310XT also contains a 20 hour battery, can hold data for 20 hours @ 4 seconds per stored data point, and is waterproof to 50 meters.