Sunday, December 10, 2006

Garmin GPS Wrist Units

The best wrist unit is the Forerunner 305 and runs about $275. It has much better GPS reception than any previous unit, and that's important if you're going to use it anywhere other than very open terrain (meaning no buildings, no trees, no nothing). This unit also has a heart rate monitor and you can get an optional cadence unit for bikes and a foot pod is soon to be released.

The Forerunner 205 has the same GPS chip as the 305, but doesn't have any support for cadence or heart rate. Cost: $200.

Stay away from any of the 101 units! They have NO capability for connecting to a computer, which means there is no chance of getting the data back off the unit. Also, the GPS chip technology is very old and not as good. In GPS technology, newer IS better.

The Garmin Forerunner 301 is a good little unit. It has much better GPS reception than the 201 but not nearly as good as the newer 205/305 units (Illustration). Cost runs about $150. It has a heart rate monitor that one can use for a person or alter to use for a horse. The trackpoint management on this unit is much better than the 201 (but again, not as good as the 205/305), which is very important if you want to do any sort of post-use analysis. If you just can't afford a 305, then this is a decent compromise.

Here's a site that I use for post-activity data storage and analysis:

Amazon.com or TVNAV.com are both good places to buy these units.

I use Roger Rittenhouse's adapter kit to use the HRM with my horse. This works for any human chest heart rate montior. You can get the basic version for $55 or the deluxe version for $75. This gives me the nice wide flat electrodes to put under the saddle and the girth.

Here is a pictoral explanation of the way I use the heart rate monitor for my horse.

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