It has been months since I bought any gizmos. I just so happened to have an REI dividend burning a hole in my pocket, so after shopping around for a bit, I decided to spend the dividend on a Garmin Forerunner 305, which is a GPS and heart rate monitor. I have a Forerunner 201, but the unit has been acting up lately (it is 3 years old I believe) and perhaps too much time traveling in a bag in a hot trunk has melted something. ;)
The watch is large, but less bulky than the Forerunner 201. The HRM strap is the stiff plastic like the older Polar straps (as opposed to the newer ones which are mostly elastic with a small plastic transmitter). The unit has modes for running, biking, and a general multi-sport mode which is aimed at triathletes but lets you configure other sports as well. I will be trying out the various features in the next few days. However the key here is GPS satellite reception and all the other goodies - how well do those work? I haven't always been happy with the Forerunner 201 reception.
I took the 305 out for a "spin" and was VERY pleased to see it located satellites quickly, in less than 10 seconds. When I got back I uploaded the data and I must say it keeps track of a lot of stuff, enough to keep my inner data cruncher quite pleased. As a step beyond that, I uploaded the data to the Motion Based website - check out the info that is gleaned from what the unit records. My plan is to map out various biking and running routes and upload those as well.
Uploading to Motion Based is fun... as a free account I can only keep 10 workouts there. A paid account lets me keep all there, but I'm not sure it is worth $12 a month (or $96 per year with a discount) to do it. The offline software does nearly the same thing, without the sharing.