Friday, July 6, 2012

Why I like Garmin 305 better than Garmin 610

When I started running over 6 years ago I purchased the Garmin 305. Over the years I've drooled over the the other Garmin watches as they've come on the market but I've never been willing to part with the money.  Last year for my birthday I asked for the Garmin 610.  The reviews were positive and it didn't have the malfunctioning touch bevel of the Garmin 405.
The Garmin 305
Garmin 610
The Garmin 610 improved the battery life compared to the 305, wasn't a gigantic watch on my petite wrist and looked like a real watch instead of a big box.  A year later there are some things that I really appreciate in the 305 and feel overall it's a better watch.
  1. In order to see run history on the 610 you have to first find satellites. On the 305 a simple press of the button and I'd be able to see all the history of prior runs.  The 610 takes it's time while it finds the satellites and if you're inside it takes even longer for it to realize it's not outside.  Bring back the ability to see history without being "connected".
  2. Once the history finally comes up the lap detail at the bottom are hard to see because of the circle screen.  The history to be viewed optically, should be scrolled up to the middle of the screen to avoid cutting off the corners due to the circle shape. Unfortunately trying to scroll often means going to far or not far enough to land exactly on the spot.
  3. On the 305 once the satellites were found, you were good to go.  The battery saving feature of the 610 means with no activity it will automatically drop the satellites going into power save mode.  If you're waiting for a race to start, you have to turn on the watch a couple minutes before to have the satellites found at the start of the race. When I talked to customer service about changing the time before going into power saving mode, there was no option to change it.  He recommended starting the clock running, then just before officially needing the watch, press stop, reset the data and then start the watch.  I can't tell you how many times I've went to start a run or a race only to find the watch went into power save mode and I didn't know.  You can't start the watch and have it find the satellites quickly either (even though it just had them).
  4. After a year I've had to do a hard reset twice.  The Garmin 610 watch, for whatever reason, takes 10 minutes to turn on and then find the satellites. To turn off it also misbehaves. After doing a hard reset  the watch works again. When I switched from the 305, the battery life wasn't as good and it misbehaved some but it never took 10 minutes to find the satellites and require frequent hard resets.
  5. The final reason is actually a trade off between the 305 and the 610.  The 305 size of the watch was unyielding for my wrist and the 610 although sized better is still unable to fit my small wrist.  A metal piece on my 610 is always showing in order to tighten the watch so it's not loose and spinning on my wrist. On two occassions the pin has come out and I've had to slide the band pin back into it's correct spot.

Update: 6/11/13- almost a year after I first posted and I still miss my 305.  I hardly use the capability the watch has because it's so annoying to get to it.  I almost never check my laps because it has to find the satellites.  And yes, you can stop it from finding satellites but only after it's went through a certain stage.  WIth the 305 I could check history, laps, old runs without waiting the 3 minutes to find the satellites.  It's so annoying. 

The other thing that is annoying is I can't swipe back a screen easily.  It recognizes the swipes forward easily but not backwards.

When the battery is low it restarts. With the 305 it is was a low battery you could still run and get data. With the 610, once the battery is low, when you hit start it resets its self, finds satellites again and then loops.  You try and start, it resets, finds satellites. Rinse and repeat.  

I still have to do hard resets about every 3-4 months which means I have to reset all my screens and preferences.

I wonder if I can buy my 305 back from my friend who bought it from me?  The 305 is better than the 610 so if you're on the fence buy the 305 or wait for newer technology.


Running Through Phoenix said...

I'm a big 305 fan. Never had anything different but the price is right (got mine with HRM from Costco for $99 --I haven't seen that deal repeated in the last three years). The 305 is a beastly wrist-toaster, but it is a workhorse and ultimately reliable.

Anabela (Bela) Neves said...

I love my 305, yes its big, bulky and it really is ugly, orange is my least fave colour but its a great piece of technology.

Christina question, are you running Ragnar NY in September? If your team needs a runner, can you let me know. My email is:


Lars Gregersen said...

You don't have to be "connected" to satellites when using the 610. Just click on the "Connecting to satellites" screen and tell the watch that you wish to continue in in-doors mode and you are ready to browse your history and anything else you like.

You remaining grievances are all relevant and really annoying.

hardrunner said...

For us runners, Garmin has been behaving like most shoe manufactures. They keep changing the thing we've grown to like. I personally think the 305 was pretty close to perfection. Admittedly, my wrist is a bit bigger, so no complaints there. I suppose if they did not continue to "improve" they would go out of business. I just sense a disconnect between what the consumer wants and what the company plans to do. Oh well, great post non the less. Thanks, TheHardRunner

Lesley Looper said...

Like you, I've drooled over descriptions of newer, fancier Garmin models, but I've never gone beyond the 205 (I've had several)! Maybe my next Garmin (if I'm able to hit the roads again) will be a 305! :-)