How do Garmin Forerunner GPS Watches Differ?

There are currently six GPS-capable Forerunner watch models, this article presents a feature, by feature comparison.

GPS-enabled sports watches can be extremely capable training tools for runners, cyclists, hikers, skiers, windsurfers or even skydivers. An advanced sports GPS watch can accurately measure:

  • Speed and Pace
  • Overal Distance Traveled
  • Elevation above sea-level

Many GPS watches can plot 3D maps over a traveled route which can later be transferred to PC or Mac allowing reviewing and analysis of your workout in detail.

Few would dispute the Garmin Forerunner GPS watches are currently the most sophisticated sports watches in this market today. While offering all the benefits of GPS, the Forerunner watches offer much more.

There are currently six GPS-capable Forerunner watch models, but what can you expect? The table below summarizes the the features found in most of the six Forerunner watch models:

Feature Description
Virtual Partner Lets you train against a digital person
Courses Lets you compete against previous workouts
Routes A route is a straight line path between two or more waypoints
Auto Pause Pauses and resumes timer based on speed
Auto Lap Automatically starts a new lap
Auto Scroll Cycles through data pages during a workout
Sports Profiles Changes sport mode with a press of a button
Simple Workouts Lets you input time, distance and calorie goals
Advanced Workouts Lets you create custom, goal-oriented workouts
Pace Alert Triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace
Time/distance Alert Triggers alarm when you reach goal
Interval training Lets you set up exercise and rest intervals

Forerunner 101, 201, 301 models compared

The older Forerunner models are cheaper, support considerably greater memory storage capacity and support a lot of the features of the latest Forerunner watches, but these watches don’t offer support for a bike cadence, or foot pod devices and have a less receptive GPS antenna than it’s successors.

 
Forerunner 101

Forerunner 201

Forerunner 301
Amazon Price $69.99 $117.15 $79.99
Specifications
Unit dimensions, WxHxD 8.28 x 4.35 x 2.3 cm 8.28 x 4.35 x 1.8 cm 8.28 x 4.35 x 1.8 cm
Weight 74 g 78 g 78 g
PC transfer (serial) (USB)
Battery Type 2 AAAs Rechargeable Rechargeable
Battery Life 15 hours, typical 15 hours, typical 15 hours, typical
Heart Rate Support
Map Navigation
Display Data Fields 3 3 3
Bike speed/cadence support
Foot Pod support
Memory
Lap History 5000 laps 5000 laps 5000 laps
Waypoints 100 100 100
Routes 0 0 10
Software
Garmin Connect
Garmin Training Center
Features
Virtual Partner Feature
Courses
Auto Pause
Auto Lap
Auto Scroll
Sports Profiles
Simple Workouts
Advanced Workouts
Pace Alert
Time/distance Alert
Interval Training
Customizable Screen(s)

Forerunner 205, 305 and 405 models compared

The more modern versions of the Forerunner watches all support the SiRFstar-III giving them better GPS sensitivity and reduced signal-loss.

The Forerunner 405, has a more “standard” watch shape, but lacks navigation features. It has a smaller watch face that only displays three data fields, compared to four in the 205 and 305 Forerunner models.

 
Forerunner 205 Forerunner 305 Forerunner 310XT Forerunner 405 Forerunner 405CX
Amazon Price
Specifications
Unit dimensions, WxHxD 5.33 x 6.86 x 1.78 cm
2.1″ x 2.7″ x 0.7″
5.33 x 6.86 x 1.78 cm
2.1″ x 2.7″ x 0.7″
5.4 x 5.6 x 1.9 cm
2.1″ x 2.2″ x 0.8″
4.8 x 7.1 x 1.6 cm
1.88″ x 2.78″ x 0.646″
4.8 x 7.1 x 1.6 cm
1.88″ x 2.78″ x 0.646″
Weight 77 g 77 g 72 g 60 g 60 g
PC transfer (USB) (USB) (USB/Wireless) (USB/Wireless) (USB/Wireless)
Battery Type Rechargeable Rechargeable Rechargeable Rechargeable Rechargeable
Battery Life 10 hours, typical 10 hours, typical 20 hours, typical 8 hours, typical 8 hours, typical
Heart Rate Support
Map Navigation
Display Data Fields 4 4 4 3 3
Bike speed/cadence support
Foot Pod support
Device to Device Transfer
Touch Sensitive Bevel
Memory
Lap History 1000 laps 1000 laps 1000 laps 1000 laps 1000 laps
Waypoints 100 100 100 100 100
Routes 50 50 0 0 0
Software
Garmin Connect
Garmin Training Center
Mac Support
Features
Virtual Partner Feature
Courses
Auto Pause
Auto Lap
Auto Scroll
Sports Profiles
Simple Workouts
Advanced Workouts
Pace Alert
Time/distance Alert
Interval Training
Customizable Screen(s)
Heart Rate Based Calorie Computation

How do Garmin Forerunner GPS Watches Differ?

There are currently six GPS-capable Forerunner watch models, this article presents a feature, by feature comparison.

GPS-enabled sports watches can be extremely capable training tools for runners, cyclists, hikers, skiers, windsurfers or even skydivers. An advanced sports GPS watch can accurately measure:

  • Speed and Pace
  • Overal Distance Traveled
  • Elevation above sea-level

Many GPS watches can plot 3D maps over a traveled route which can later be transferred to PC or Mac allowing reviewing and analysis of your workout in detail.

Few would dispute the Garmin Forerunner GPS watches are currently the most sophisticated sports watches in this market today. While offering all the benefits of GPS, the Forerunner watches offer much more.

There are currently six GPS-capable Forerunner watch models, but what can you expect? The table below summarizes the the features found in most of the six Forerunner watch models:

Feature Description
Virtual Partner Lets you train against a digital person
Courses Lets you compete against previous workouts
Routes A route is a straight line path between two or more waypoints
Auto Pause Pauses and resumes timer based on speed
Auto Lap Automatically starts a new lap
Auto Scroll Cycles through data pages during a workout
Sports Profiles Changes sport mode with a press of a button
Simple Workouts Lets you input time, distance and calorie goals
Advanced Workouts Lets you create custom, goal-oriented workouts
Pace Alert Triggers alarm if you vary from preset pace
Time/distance Alert Triggers alarm when you reach goal
Interval training Lets you set up exercise and rest intervals

Forerunner 101, 201, 301 models compared

The older Forerunner models are cheaper, support considerably greater memory storage capacity and support a lot of the features of the latest Forerunner watches, but these watches don’t offer support for a bike cadence, or foot pod devices and have a less receptive GPS antenna than it’s successors.

 
Forerunner 101

Forerunner 201

Forerunner 301
Amazon Price $69.99 $117.15 $79.99
Specifications
Unit dimensions, WxHxD 8.28 x 4.35 x 2.3 cm 8.28 x 4.35 x 1.8 cm 8.28 x 4.35 x 1.8 cm
Weight 74 g 78 g 78 g
PC transfer (serial) (USB)
Battery Type 2 AAAs Rechargeable Rechargeable
Battery Life 15 hours, typical 15 hours, typical 15 hours, typical
Heart Rate Support
Map Navigation
Display Data Fields 3 3 3
Bike speed/cadence support
Foot Pod support
Memory
Lap History 5000 laps 5000 laps 5000 laps
Waypoints 100 100 100
Routes 0 0 10
Software
Garmin Connect
Garmin Training Center
Features
Virtual Partner Feature
Courses
Auto Pause
Auto Lap
Auto Scroll
Sports Profiles
Simple Workouts
Advanced Workouts
Pace Alert
Time/distance Alert
Interval Training
Customizable Screen(s)

Forerunner 205, 305 and 405 models compared

The more modern versions of the Forerunner watches all support the SiRFstar-III giving them better GPS sensitivity and reduced signal-loss.

The Forerunner 405, has a more “standard” watch shape, but lacks navigation features. It has a smaller watch face that only displays three data fields, compared to four in the 205 and 305 Forerunner models.

 
Forerunner 205 Forerunner 305 Forerunner 310XT Forerunner 405 Forerunner 405CX
Amazon Price
Specifications
Unit dimensions, WxHxD 5.33 x 6.86 x 1.78 cm
2.1″ x 2.7″ x 0.7″
5.33 x 6.86 x 1.78 cm
2.1″ x 2.7″ x 0.7″
5.4 x 5.6 x 1.9 cm
2.1″ x 2.2″ x 0.8″
4.8 x 7.1 x 1.6 cm
1.88″ x 2.78″ x 0.646″
4.8 x 7.1 x 1.6 cm
1.88″ x 2.78″ x 0.646″
Weight 77 g 77 g 72 g 60 g 60 g
PC transfer (USB) (USB) (USB/Wireless) (USB/Wireless) (USB/Wireless)
Battery Type Rechargeable Rechargeable Rechargeable Rechargeable Rechargeable
Battery Life 10 hours, typical 10 hours, typical 20 hours, typical 8 hours, typical 8 hours, typical
Heart Rate Support
Map Navigation
Display Data Fields 4 4 4 3 3
Bike speed/cadence support
Foot Pod support
Device to Device Transfer
Touch Sensitive Bevel
Memory
Lap History 1000 laps 1000 laps 1000 laps 1000 laps 1000 laps
Waypoints 100 100 100 100 100
Routes 50 50 0 0 0
Software
Garmin Connect
Garmin Training Center
Mac Support
Features
Virtual Partner Feature
Courses
Auto Pause
Auto Lap
Auto Scroll
Sports Profiles
Simple Workouts
Advanced Workouts
Pace Alert
Time/distance Alert
Interval Training
Customizable Screen(s)
Heart Rate Based Calorie Computation