Friday, July 23, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 205 Wrist Worn GPS Personal Training Device

This is a very powerful piece of kit - I use it for road biking exclusively. The instructions that come with it are reasonably clear and in use it is very effective. However, it takes ages to lock onto satellites, and the Training Centre software that comes with it looks as though it was designed in the 1990s. I have an iPhone and run the Motion GPX app alongside this. Huge advantage of the latter - much better visual feedback, because it includes an onscreen map, and of course you can view it on a holder on the bike in front of you - you don't have to keep looking at your wrist and press buttons on the side of the watch to get additional readings. However, the Garmin has the big advantage of battery life - the iPhone with a juice pack attached lasts four hours at best. Another advantage of the Garmin, of course, is that it is relatively water resistant, so you can wear it in the rain. No way with the iPhone.

The latest version of the Training Centre at least allows you to save your tracks as GPX, so you can view them in a myriad of other mapping programs.

The included heart rate monitor seems to record very high figures - I haven't checked its accuracy, but it did record a maximum heart rate of 191 at one stage! That's unknown territory for me, although I was climbing a one in six hill at the time and, yes, I was breathing very heavily!

Interface is OK - it does seem a bit like an old-fashioned LCD watch in some respects and you have to press the buttons quite firmly. It's also quite bulky, but overall, highly recommended if you're serious-ish about your training. It does the business.

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