I have for the longest time considered GPS running watches as bulky, expensive and completely unnecessary devices. I know what kind of pace I run at, so I can easily calculate how far I run. I don’t need to see on a map where I just ran either, what’s the point of that?
Okay, so before I keep going on what I don’t need, let’s just say I kind of changed my mind. You see, I found a used Garmin Forerunner 205 on Kijiji for $75, and I have to admit I really like it. Everyone and their dog has GPS running watches these days, and since my broken wristband on my Timex Ironman made me cranky, I figured for $75, let’s try it.
I was comparing the different Forerunners, and I know from experience that I really never cared much for using a heart rate monitor. Check. I also didn’t need any fancy features. Check. No wireless transmitting to computer either. Check. With that in mind, I figured the 205 would do me fine. And indeed, it does.
What I particularly like about it, is that it can store a crapload of laps – one thousand, to be exact. Of course, it also tracks how far I ran, which I must admit is very handy. I don’t have to calculate this myself anymore, the watch does it for me. The third thing I like is that is shows me how fast I am currently running. That’s slick! I realize it’s not always 100% accurate, but I have to say, I have tested this and it is pretty darn accurate! It’s particularly useful to keep an eye on this during longer runs, just so that the pace isn’t too fast. I tend to do that far too often – run too fast on longer runs and have trouble recovering as a result.
It also shows on a map where I ran, on that little LCD display, which I find completely useless. What’s the point of that? The map doesn’t look like anything resembling a normal map either, so I never use this feature. I know some versions for the Forerunners can transmit the data so it can be displayed much nicer on a web page, but I am not sure if the 205 can do this or not. In any case, I’m not interested – I already know where I just ran!
The watch calculates how many calories you burned as well. Just tell it how much you weigh and it will spit out the number of calories burned – another feature I don’t need, since I’m not on some Jenny Craig mission here. Others might find this kind of cool though? One thing is for sure – those 35 km long runs sure burn a lot of calories!
So I was a doubter and now I’m a believer? Well, yeah I guess you could say something like that. I don’t need it for everyone run, however. I often do the same loops, and since I’ve checked them with the Garmin Forerunner 205 more than once, I can just use any kind of timing device when I do the loop – I already know exactly how long the loop is.
One thing I don’t like is that the battery life is so short. It is perfectly fine for any kind of long run you do, but if you forget to charge it before your next run, you’re so out of luck. Also, the watch doesn’t distinctly snap into the charging dock, so several times I thought I’ve put it on charge, only to discover later that it wasn’t seated properly in the dock, and it was never charged as a result. Annoying.
I should also mention that I am missing the dual timing feature my Timex has. What I mean is the feature where you can see how much time has passed since your last lap, including the overall time. From what I can tell, the 205 doesn’t do this. It just display the overall time, and when press the lap button, it displays the time for that lap, but not a running lap time. Hope that explanation makes sense. I miss this, because during a 3 km interval, I may want to check what my time is for 1 km and 2 km, but as far as I can tell, this watch is not capable of displaying this.
Oh, and it sometimes takes a little while for the watch to hook up to satellites, but most of the time this happens quickly. No big deal.
Other than that, it’s a great watch. It’s super easy to use, it looks big but it’s actually quite comfortable to wear while running, and it seems to be very accurate in determining pace and distance.
Charge it up, turn it on, put on your wrist, and head out the door. Easy and convenient.
If I’m wrong in some of my conclusions, please let me know. I didn’t get a manual when I bought it, and it’s definitely possible I am not aware of all the functionality this watch offers.
I am giving this watch a 4.5 out of 5.
Buy the Garmin Forerunner 205