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  1. #1
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    Polar CS600 or Garmin Edge 305?

    Hi guys.. I'm trying to decide between those two computers: Polar CS600 or Garmin Edge 305.

    Witch one is the better choice? I currently have a Polar S725X witch are selling to get the new cs600 (more bike functions), but now I read something about that Garmin...

    Positive points to each one I analyzed so far:

    Garmin: GPS feature.
    Polar: Looong battery, speed sensor, not gps to give the real speed.

  2. #2
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    I have had nothing but problems with the CS series polars.

    I have owned 2 cs100's and a cs200, and none of them work worth poo. The speed sensor is way too sensitive and the magnet had to basically touch it in order for it to read. Alot if times I will be riding and look down to see something and the computer is displaying pause as I am going 20 mph.

    For example on sat I did a race. According to the race timers I was out there 2 hour and 51 min. My CS200 recorded recorded 2 hours and 20 some minutes of that.

    After going thru the LBS and moving sensors closer to the handlebar, buying high power wheel magnets, changing batteries, and purchasing a new speed sensor, I sent the unit to Polar and a few weeks later a new one comes in the mail. While it was gone I bought a cs200 and figured now I have 2 computers and 3 mounts/sensors. So I have a mount and sensor on the FS, HT and the road bike, and a back-up computer is case of issues.

    Well I still have the same problem. Neither computer and none of the sensors is able to reliaably record data from the wheel magnet. HRM works great. I always hate it when people have a bad experience with a single product and immediatly write a negitive review everywhere they are allowed about the companys entire line. I have really tried to be patient and get these things to work but have had no luck.

    If I could do it over again I would not have bought the 120 dollar cs100, and then the 200 dollar cs 200 cause now I have 320 dollars in computers, and still want a garmin or to go back to my old specialized computer that worked. Buyer Beware
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  3. #3
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    The 305 is nice, and if you're worried about losing the GPS signal, you can use the optional cadence sensor for speed (I haven't tried it, though, so don't ask me how you set it up that way...)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnlwthrn
    The 305 is nice, and if you're worried about losing the GPS signal, you can use the optional cadence sensor for speed (I haven't tried it, though, so don't ask me how you set it up that way...)
    Yes, I read something about that, but what worries me more is the fact that I would have to charge it every couple of rides... Will have to search more info about it...

    Regarding speed measurement, is the GPS signal accurate? At least like an ordinary computer, specially at low speeds? (<5km/h)

  5. #5
    In my mind, I can do it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Batas
    Yes, I read something about that, but what worries me more is the fact that I would have to charge it every couple of rides... Will have to search more info about it...

    Regarding speed measurement, is the GPS signal accurate? At least like an ordinary computer, specially at low speeds? (<5km/h)
    Charging it is really no big deal. It will charge while connected to your computer and you will be doing that anyway because that's how you download your rides. Just leave it connected each time and it will charge fully.

    The Edge 305 is the way to go. Not only does it track your rides but you can also use those rides or even the rides of others to train with by setting up a virtual partner. It will tell you how far ahead or behind you are from your virtual partner. The 305 also has an altimeter and will track total ascent. I don't know much about the Polar but I can't see how it could even compare to the 305 in any regard.

    There is an optional cadence/speed sensor. It mounts on the non-drive side of your chainstay and has a magnet for the wheel (for speed) and a magnet for your crank arm for cadence. The speed sensor is only used by the 305 when it's not getting a strong gps signal so your speed will be more accurate.
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  6. #6
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    Avoid the CS600

    I love my trusty old Polar S710i, but the new features of the CS600 really looked nice so I was really excited about it and immediately upgraded. Man, am I disappointed! If you like your S725, be ready to be disappointed by the CS600. The upper right button no longer scrolls the top of the display (leaving the bottom at whatever you wanted), now the upper button scrolls the whole display one direction and the other button scrolls the other direction. There is also no way to view all possible functions. Each screen must be manually configured with your computer, so you need to figure out what you REALLY want to see while riding, because you can't change the displays. The default display settings don't even show temperature!

    The upgrade to version 5 of the Polar software was also disappointing. They replaced "speed" with "pace." Instead of average and max speed, you see average and max pace in time.

    The CS600 just plain sucks.

  7. #7
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    Ohoh... Thanks for your input... Thats another thing to consider... I'm just in the middle trying to decide between the polar CS600 and the Garmin Edge 305... Arghhh!!! Tough call... It wouldn't be if they weren't so expensive... The Garmin doesn't have temperature reading at all..

  8. #8
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    One other thing, If I upload a file from another ride, does the Garmin Edge 305 tells where to go on the trail?

  9. #9
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    Both have their place, neither is perfect

    Pick your poison. Both have some great features and both have some significant limitations. I have both the Garmin 305 and the Polar S725. I end up using both, the Polar for HR and tracking exercise and fitness; the Garmin for tracking where I have been or planning on going. The Garmin also does HR but the analysis software is very limited.

    For road riding, the 305 usually matches within 0.1% of my wired bike computer. The S725 is usually off by far more but that is due to a few spikes from RF interference. The new CS600 is supposed to fix that with the new WIND interface. The CS600 did lose a bit of flexibility over the S725 in that you are much more limited on how you can customize the screens underway (you need to customize the displays before starting).

    For trail riding, the 305 isn't even close. It gets a fairly accurate track but if there is any winding in the trail the distance is often off by 5% or more. The speed/cadence sensor doesn't help since it only uses it if you lose complete satellite signal which rarely happens. It actually does a remarkable job of holding the signal; it just messes up with the winding trails. So this distance part of the speed/cadence sensor is pretty much useless.

    The software that comes with Polar is much better for tracking and analyzing exercise than Garmin. The only redeeming factor of the Garmin software is the ability to see on a map where you have been. You can also import into other GPS software if you want.

    If you have a planned route, the Garmin is great as you can enter details of your course. If it isn't one you have ridden, you probably want third party software (or Garmins general purpose GPS software, MapSource) to enter it, combined with a utility like GPX2CRS (Google it) to convert it into a course file that the 305 understands. The Garmin is also great for making it back to where you started if you are on unfamiliar trails since it gives you a bread crumb view of where you have been. Now if they would only add actual mapping (roads, trails, etc).

    The last point is that I use my S725 for both running and cycling. The new generation of Polar (CS600 and RS800) has eliminated this ability as neither will do both.

  10. #10
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    Excelent review, thank you!

  11. #11
    Still learning
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    My understanding is that the S725X (which I currently have) and hte 305 are competing products. I'd love to get my hands on a CS600 - multi-stage interval sets and 1 second recording. Those two alone are what make me really want one. To be honest I don't really find 5s recording to be enough for the way I use it.

    Also, you're going to be able to do power output with the CS600. Is there even support for that on the Garmin?

    I must say though that people have mentioned you can't change displays is a little bothersome. For enduro racing I like/need to know roughly how many calories I've burnt (even though, yeah, I know, it's only a guide), but that isn't something you need constantly. Things I tend to want displayed are elapsed time, cadence, and heart rate.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by akashra
    My understanding is that the S725X (which I currently have) and hte 305 are competing products. I'd love to get my hands on a CS600 - multi-stage interval sets and 1 second recording. Those two alone are what make me really want one. To be honest I don't really find 5s recording to be enough for the way I use it.

    Also, you're going to be able to do power output with the CS600. Is there even support for that on the Garmin?

    I must say though that people have mentioned you can't change displays is a little bothersome. For enduro racing I like/need to know roughly how many calories I've burnt (even though, yeah, I know, it's only a guide), but that isn't something you need constantly. Things I tend to want displayed are elapsed time, cadence, and heart rate.

    You pointed out the exact same things that leans me toward the CS600. You can predefine the display by pc, you can preconfigure the display to show a number of info combinations, what you cannot do is for instace, if you are having Speed, Bpm and Trip Dist, you cannot change one of them on the bike, for the same display, you have to do it by pc software... Hope I'm being understood...

    On the other hand with the Garmin you have that virtual trainner thing and the option to import/export rides... Tough call...

  13. #13
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    I have a little disagreement with what ekutter mentioned about the 305. I have not had any issues with my 305 not tracking me on the trail. It tracks exceptionally well. However, it may be that ekutter hasn't gone into the menu and changed the logging to 1 second intervals instead of the "smart" recording setting. This will greatly help you on more technical trails.

    I don't claim to know anything about the CS600, as I've never even seen one. However, you can do pretty much all that you're talking about with the Garmin (customizing menu displays, 1 second logging intervals, etc.).

    How does the CS600 do power output? Unless it allows you to sync with a power meter, I can't see it being accurate...
    what you cannot do is for instance, if you are having Speed, Bpm and Trip Dist, you cannot change one of them on the bike, for the same display, you have to do it by pc software...
    Batas, are you referring to the CS600 when you say this? I can change the displays on my Garmin at any point in the menu, as well as scrolling between 3 different screens which I configure.

    One other thing I forgot to mention, if you really want to use the speed sensor on the Garmin, you can go in and turn off the GPS.

  14. #14
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    The Polar S725 also did power with the optional $300 power kit. Reviews have given it pretty low marks but it was cheap compared to the alternatives. I have heard that the CS600 power is supposed to be better but haven't found any independant reviews. It still won't be as good as the others (SRM, Ergo, & Powertap).

    You can configure the 305 to record on 1 sec intervals instead of auto but then you limit the data to about 3.5 hours. Those are the only two options.

    The 10 hours battery life of the 305 isn't bad as long as you remember to charge it. I try to just hook it up to my computer after every ride. I have had a couple times where I forgot, and actually left it on, only to have it be dead next time I used it. Way too easy to do. You also can't use it on all day outings. You can turn off the GPS and just rely on the speed sensor. You won't get a track but it will still work like a regular bike computer. This may increase the record time.

    Polar uses heart rate to compute calories which tends to be more accurate than simply going by speed and distance as Garmin does. Calories are just an estimate and differ by too much for each person but I have found the Polar alogrythm to match pretty close to tests I have had done.

    One nagging problem with both that bugs me is neither will tell you both ride time and elapsed time. Both can be set in auto-stop mode, where they stop recording if they dectect you have stopped (like a normal bike computer). They both internally have the information as to how much time has been spent moving and stopped but won't give it to you. Without the auto-stop mode, Polar will give you the average moving speed, while the 305 gives you the average overall speed, including stop time. The 305 has some fields that sound like they would give you stop time but only if you have the auto-stop feature turned on, but then it stops recording while you are stopped.

  15. #15
    Slow climbin' clyde
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    As an owner of both the Polar 720i and the Edge 305 I can't imagine going away from the GPS. The Edge is as close to the perfect cycling computer as I can think of at this point. The power features of a CS600 had better be pretty compelling to overcome the GPS benefit on the Edge.

    My only knock on the Edge (well-documented pretty much everywhere) is that the calorie counter algorithm on the Edge isn't useful at all. For this reason I use a Suunto HRM in lieu of the HR strap on the Edge. That also gives me access to the Suunto EPOC and other fitness measurements, which I think are best in class. The combination of the two is the complete package for me, albeit an expensive package.

  16. #16
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    In reply to dnlwrth, I have played with the recording interval settings and the distance is consistantly off by as much as 10% on windy trails. As I mentioned earlier, the track is fairly accurate, but not the distance. Unless you have a 2nd distance measuring device that is not based on sattelite, you won't be able to measure this. On the road and straighter trails, the Edge 305 matches my wired computer and polar precisely. On windy trails, the edge is always short, by up to 10%. One of these days I'll go to a parking lot and zig-zag for a mile and see what happens when there are no ups and downs and no trees.

    Other than that sounds like we agree, the combination of a good heart rate montior (Polar or Sunnto) and the edge 305 is the way to go if you can afford it.

  17. #17
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    POLAR CS 600 and CS 200 experience

    I started out with the CS200 computer. Not bad but lacking is software and other features. After a few months of use I noticed a rattle as I rode and upon carefull examination I noticed the computer was loose in its mount. The connection of the computer is via three tiny plastic tabs on its back that are intergal to the body of the computer unit. One of those had somehow broken off. About that time the CS600 became available and with its advanced sounding features I gave it a try. My assumption was that the broken tab was just a fluke.

    The CS600 features are fantastic. I have an older Garmin 301 but not the 305. The reviews on software stop me from changing to Garmin. The Wind sensor ( 2.4 GHz link) solved my interference problems I had with other wireless computers including the CS200. I ride a lot at night and use the Light and Motion ArcLion. It emits a lot of RF and with most wireless computers it jams their wireless sensor pretty well. The standard wireless wheel sensors including the CS200 are touchy and must be carefully set, sometimes dropping out. The Wind 2.4 GHz is very robust and must be moved a lot to lose its signal. The software on the CS600 is really great for a data junkie like me and its all organized in a calander. Easy to add an excersize and to plan more. Gives VAM for an interval, grade speed etc. The only real problem with the CS600 is, you guessed it, the tabs broke!

    I am suprised that no other review has run into the tab problem but I would pause before buying one of the CS series computers for this reason alone.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeERides

    The upgrade to version 5 of the Polar software was also disappointing. They replaced "speed" with "pace." Instead of average and max speed, you see average and max pace in time.
    I suspect that your report was after using it with the default settings which are a compromise in my opinion. The software allows you to set up the screens with any combination of data you need. The screens will also keep their settings so the next time you turn it on, it has the same readouts.

    As for the software displaying pace, it's probably because you have Running as your primary sport which means all rides that you download will be categorized as runs. Change this to Biking and all speeds will be in MPH or KPH.

  19. #19
    heiwa
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    As dnlwthrn mentioned, Edge can be set to collect data at 1 second interval. I too believe ekutter’s concern about apprx 10% error on distance would be nil if you use this setting. There are much discussion about accuracy of Edge (mileage, altitude, cal, etc.) on MotionBased forums, where you can obtain great deal of detailed information both practical and technical. I come to love Edge’s functionality, especially its ability to record the course. I am directionally challenged. I would have never considered going into unfamiliar/complex maze of mountain trails alone had I not been utilizing Edge. For example, a friend took me to a fabulous 45 mile loop off of Briceburg, CA, in 12/06. Because of the recorded course I downloaded onto my Edge, I was able to duplicate the ride alone in 10/07. As to the extending the battery life of Edge on the go, there are many inexpensive alternatives. I’m sure Polar CS600 is a great tool. The bottom line is what YOU like. BTW, Edge305 w/ HR + cadence/speed sensor is less than $270. It also looks like there is a $75 rebate if you sign up for the Powerbar Edge Nutrition Newsletter (see geomangear.com). Good luck deciding!

  20. #20
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    Hello- Slightly off subject, but...I don't like the Polar or Garmin devices, so is the Vetta VL110 (series) a suitable substitute? I don't hear much about Vetta.

  21. #21
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    Polar CS600 or Garmin Edge 305?

    Hi Batas,
    Today I have the same dilemma.
    What did you choose?

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