Garmin/Forerunner series

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The Garmin Forerunner series is a range of devices designed for running. Specifications vary across the range, some are simple watches, others have more navigation features. None of them support mapping, but many support GPS tracelog exporting via USB mass storage and/or via Garmin Connect.

Note the Forerunner 50, 60 and 70 do not use GPS, they only work with a heart rate monitor, footpod or bike speed/cadence sensor.

Devices with the "mass storage mode" feature can export .fit or .tcx trace logs via usb, unless stated otherwise.

Newer models

The following models are still being sold or manufactured by Garmin. They all use the .fit format.

Garmin Forerunner 25

Garmin Forerunner 25
Description sport logger
GNSS channels
Memory Internal: 7 activities.
Display acrylic
Connectivity usb;bluetooth;Garmin Connect Mobile;Garmin Express
Features
No-Symbol.svg addresses No-Symbol.svg points of interest
Yes check.svg mass storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof
Price 140$

The Forerunner 25 is an upgrade to the older Forerunner 15. It is similar, but it features a higher resolution 128x128 display and Bluetooth, allowing it connect to smartphones via Garmin Connect Mobile.

Garmin Forerunner 35

Garmin Forerunner 35
Description sport logger
GNSS channels
Memory Internal: 7 activities.
Connectivity usb;bluetooth;Garmin Connect Mobile;Garmin Express
Features
No-Symbol.svg addresses No-Symbol.svg points of interest
Emblem-question.svg mass storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof
Price 170$

The Forerunner 35 features Bluetooth, and a wrist-based heart rate monitor. GPS is supported, but not GLONASS.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Forerunner 235
Description sport logger
GNSS channels
Memory Internal: 200 hours.
Connectivity usb;bluetooth;Garmin Connect Mobile;Garmin Express
Features
No-Symbol.svg addresses No-Symbol.svg points of interest
Emblem-question.svg mass storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof
Price 330$

The Forerunner 235 has more advanced features than the 35, features a colored 215 x 180 pixels display, and supports both GPS and GLONASS. The heart rate monitor is identical to the Forerunner 35.

Garmin Forerunner 230

Garmin Forerunner 230
Description sport logger
GNSS channels
Memory Internal: .
Connectivity usb;bluetooth;Garmin Connect Mobile;Garmin Express
Features
No-Symbol.svg addresses No-Symbol.svg points of interest
Emblem-question.svg mass storage mode Yes check.svg Waterproof

The Forerunner 230 is nearly identical to the 235, except that it lacks a wrist heart rate monitor (an external monitor is supported).

Older models

The following models are older, and are no longer being sold or manufactured by Garmin.


Forerunner 201 / 301

Garmin Forerunner 201
Description sport logger
GNSS 12 channels
augmentation: waas;egnos
Memory Internal: no. External: ? no.
Connectivity rs232
Features
Emblem-question.svg addresses Emblem-question.svg points of interest
Emblem-question.svg mass storage mode Emblem-question.svg Waterproof
Cons
  • performance

Older model, poor performance. Probably best avoided for OSM-usage. Compatible with GPSbabel. The 301 model comes with a breast strap for heart rate monitoring, otherwise the units are identical.

Forerunner 305 / 205

Garmin Forerunner 205
Description sport logger
GNSS 12 channels
chipset: SiRFstar III
augmentation: waas;egnos
Memory Internal: no (13000 max logging). External: ? no.
Connectivity usb
Batteries internal Li-Ion (10hrs lifetime)
Features
Emblem-question.svg addresses Emblem-question.svg points of interest
Emblem-question.svg mass storage mode Emblem-question.svg Waterproof
Pros

The Forerunner 205/305 fix many of the bugs and design flaws that plagued the 301. The unit uses the new SiRFstar III chip-set and positions the antenna better. It maintains satellite lock without problems in dense forests and built-up areas. The 305 differs from the 205 in the HR chest strap and support for an optional cadence monitor. The unit comes with a built-in Li-Ion battery that lasts around 10 hours between recharges. It connects via USB and comes with Garmin Training Center (Windows) which allows saving workouts in tcx format. It's also supported by gpsbabel and garmintools allowing readout of tracks in gpx-format. The "lap" button can function as a quick "waypoint" recorder but the device also supports proper waypoints (max. 100) via "mark location" in the navigation menu. The most significant limitation is the internal memory supporting only 13000 trackpoints which corresponds to 3,5 hours of recording in 1/sec mode.

At end of year 2009 it seems Garmin no longer markets Foreunner 205, the new equivalent seems to be Forerunner 405

Comparison to eTrex HCx

In direct comparison to the eTrex Vista HCx I've observed that the Forerunner 305 often performs better, i.e. has a much better accuracy.

See also