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Garmin Forerunner 935 review: Advanced multi-sport GPS watch built to help you improve Review

The Garmin Forerunner 935 was announced last month and as I proceed actively coaching for my first full marathon in June I’ve spent the previous few weeks testing out the Forerunner 935 and evaluating it to different GPS wearables.

About a yr in the past I examined out a Garmin Fenix 3 HR and located it compelling sufficient to buy one for myself. I have been utilizing my very own since then and thought of it a nearly perfect companion to the Galaxy S7 Edge.

The Garmin Forerunner 935 gives the identical software program expertise, however is a bit smaller and significantly lighter than the Fenix Three HR so it tends to disappear on my wrist and I’ve typically forgotten I even had it strapped on once I ran.


  • Display: 1.2 inch (30.4mm) 240 x 240 pixels decision transflective shade display
  • Storage: 64MB inner for maps, routes, and 100 hours of exercise knowledge
  • Water resistance: 5 ATM
  • Connectivity and sensors: WiFi, Bluetooth LE, ANT+, GPS, GLONASS, optical HR, barometer, compass, thermometer
  • Battery: Rated for 60 hours in UltraTrac mode, 24 hours in GPS coaching mode, and a couple of weeks in smartwatch mode with 24/7 HR monitoring
  • Dimensions: 47 x 47 x 13.9 mm and 49 grams

The Garmin Fenix Three HR weighs in at 86.1 grams, which is 37 grams heavier than the Forerunner 935. The Forerunner 935 can also be 2.1 mm thinner and three.5 mm much less in diameter.


One factor that struck me concerning the Garmin Fenix Three HR was the chrome steel and polymer development. The Fenix Three HR is a stout wearable that can also be fairly giant.

After opening up the field for the Garmin Forerunner 935, I used to be floored by the extraordinarily mild weight of the watch. Considering it packs inside all the things you discover within the Fenix Three HR with longer battery life, that is a powerful feat.

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I by no means bought earlier Forerunner units as a result of they all the time felt a bit low cost to me. They have been truly properly built, however the mild weight and plastic really feel stored me from spending $400 or extra on a Forerunner. The Forerunner 935 is mild weight, however the fiber-reinforced polymer feels strong and the silicone band works properly with the watch.

The Forerunner 935 helps the brand new Garmin QuickFit band choice, however the band included with the gadget isn’t a QuickFit band so you want to purchase one other band and set up package to reap the benefits of this performance.

The show just isn’t a touchscreen so all interactions are carried out by way of using 5 buttons; three on the left and two on the proper. It is not sapphire glass just like the Fenix Three HR and Fenix 5 units. Navigation is identical as on different Garmin units and even newbies will determine it out in a few days. I personally discover utilizing buttons a lot better than a touchscreen that may be tempermental within the rain or when coated with sweat.

The buttons are used for the next, shifting from the highest proper and going clockwise: begin/cease/choose, again/lap, down, up, and lightweight. You can even press and maintain on the sunshine button to entry choices to flip off the watch, entry music controls, discover your telephone, save location, lock system, don’t disturb, and sync. Pressing and holding in on the up button supplies entry to watch face, clock, historical past, and settings.

The silicone band has a variety of openings to absolutely regulate to your wrist measurement. The clasp is substantial whereas the retainer loop has a nub in it to help safe the band unfastened finish so you do not have to fear about it ever falling off in even probably the most intense exercise.

The optical coronary heart fee monitor is centered on the again of the Forerunner 935 and is far more flush to the again than what we see on the Fenix Three HR.

There are additionally 4 charging pins recessed on the aspect of the again. A proprietary USB charging dock is included with the Garmin Forerunner 935. Given the lengthy battery life, I solely chaged up the watch as soon as every week with Three-Four coaching runs and day by day exercise.

Running Dynamics Pod accent: Garmin additionally despatched alongside the brand new Running Dynamics Pod, obtainable for $69.99, that’s used to seize six operating dynamics metrics. I beforehand used the HRM-Run strap that additionally captures these similar metrics, however I am personally not an enormous fan of chest straps that chafe my chest a bit.

The instructions for the Running Dynamics Pod (RDP) are very particular with regard to putting the RDP in your rear waistband on the middle of your physique and within the correct orientation. The RDP connects by way of ANT+ to the Forerunner 935. It may also be used with the Fenix 5 collection, however doesn’t work with the Garmin Fenix Three HR or different older watches.

The RDP has a CF1632 battery that’s rated to final a few yr. It has an IPX7 water-proof score and to inform you the reality I forgot it as soon as on my shorts and it survived one cycle of the wash with out incident. There is a reminder pop-up that seems on the Forerunner 935 after your run to be sure that you take the RDP off of your waistband, however I spent an excessive amount of time goofing round after my run earlier than I threw my shorts within the wash.

The RDP weighs in at simply 12 grams and I by no means observed it was hooked up to my waistband, even whereas operating in a 10-mile race.

The Garmin web site clearly lists the six recorded dynamics and what every means. As you can see, the RDP is a vital piece of drugs for many who need to improve their type and method. The Running Dynamics Pod has an accelerometer within the module that measures torso motion to calculate these 6 operating metrics:

  • Cadence is the variety of steps per minute. It shows the full steps (proper and left mixed).
  • Ground contact time stability shows the left/proper stability of your floor contact time whereas operating. It shows a proportion. For instance, 53.2 with an arrow pointing left or proper.
  • Stride size is the size of your stride from 1 footfall to the subsequent. It is measured in meters.
  • Vertical oscillation is your bounce whereas operating. It shows the vertical movement of your torso, measured in centimeters for every step.
  • Vertical ratio is the ratio of vertical oscillation to stride size. It shows a proportion. A decrease quantity sometimes signifies higher operating type.
  • Ground contact time is the period of time in every step that you spend on the bottom whereas operating. It is measured in milliseconds.

Watch software program

The software program on the watch is principally the identical as what you discover on newer Garmin units, such because the Garmin Fenix Three HR. One of the primary issues I did was leap into the Connect IQ store and set up a few cool watch faces to customise the expertise.

You can use the Garmin Forerunner 935 to monitor operating, biking, climbing, triathlon, rowing, stand-up paddling (SUP), open water or pool swimming, climbing, snow snowboarding, path operating, golfing, and even leaping out of an airplane. In my check interval, I attempted the operating and climbing performance. I did not get an opportunity to attempt biking, however I do have Garmin velocity and cadence sensors to seize that knowledge too.

The Forerunner 935 additionally gives the power to monitor your telephone by sending a sign to it by way of Bluetooth in order that an audible alarm sounds to help you discover your related telephone.

Available widgets, views of your knowledge, embrace steps, altimeter, climate, notifications, coronary heart price, final sport, music controls, compass, barometer, temperature, VIRB digital camera, calendar, and extra can be found to you. The music controls are useful and let me management the music enjoying on my telephone once I run so I haven’t got to pull my telephone out of my arm band. You can choose the default music app by way of the smartphone software.

The Forerunner 935 has an built-in WiFi radio so you can have your exercise knowledge synced to your Garmin Connect account when you return to a WiFi zone beforehand established. It’s nice to enter my home after understanding and have my knowledge synced routinely to my Garmin account.

There are an unimaginable variety of settings and customization choices out there that I can’t start to cowl all of them right here on this evaluation. For instance, within the operating app you can customise up to 10 knowledge screens in a format from one to 4 fields with timer, distance, tempo, velocity, coronary heart price, dynamics, cadence, temperature, elevation, compass, navigation, and different fields. I like to recommend you spend some high quality time customizing every thing precisely how you need it after which be prepared to tweak issues as you carry out your exercise and discover you need to view your knowledge in a different way.

You can setup alerts, practice to a metronome, choose auto laps and auto pause, view 3D velocity or distance, have your knowledge fields auto scroll, and even change up all the colours. It’s truly moderately beautiful how a lot customization is obtainable on the Fenix Three HR, which suggests it can fulfill each consumer’s wants.

Smartphone software program and web site

Collecting the info is essential, however utilizing that knowledge for monitoring tendencies, enhancing efficiency, difficult associates, and figuring out drawback areas can also be essential. Garmin is likely one of the few corporations that gives the Garmin Connect app for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile. The app could be very helpful and offers an awesome quantity of knowledge.

When you first launch the smartphone app you will see the snapshots house display that exhibits your step and sleep progress, lively energy, depth minutes, actions, and flooring climbed. You can even select to present your meals consumption by way of a connection to MyFitnessPal.

You can select to customise the snapshots by choosing actions after which putting them within the order you choose to view them. From the snapshots house display merely swipe left or proper to scroll by way of the varied exercise screens with rather more element.

You can even faucet the higher left menu icon to leap to leaderboard, calendar, information feed, insights, exercise stats, well being stats, exercises, course, segments, gear, connections, teams, LiveTrack, obtain golf programs, Connect IQ retailer, Garmin units, settings, and help. As you can see the smartphone software could be very highly effective and presents all your knowledge in vibrant colours. You can view knowledge over totally different time frames, see your data, view the badges you earned, see totals and averages, and far more.

On an Android smartphone you may also positive tune your smart notifications by choosing the precise apps that can be allowed to ship notifications to your Garmin Forerunner 935. On iOS, you get no matter notifications you have enabled within the iOS settings so I personally want the Android smartphone expertise.

The Garmin Connect web site expertise could be very comparable to what you see within the smartphone software, with much more functionality to generate studies, import or export knowledge, setup connections to different purposes (reminiscent of Strava, RunKeeper, and MyFitnessPal), and extra. Similar to the snapshots interface on the telephone, you have a dashboard on Garmin Connect that you can customise.

I created dashboard tabs for day by day exercise, operating, biking, and mountaineering since these are my main actions. You can then customise the view that seems in your dashboard or select to leap to a full web page view of the chosen knowledge.

Over on the left you will discover the three line button that opens up an enormous record of choices you can navigate to for extra knowledge and knowledge. Another choice lets you handle your profile, settings, and third social gathering connections.

Pricing and competitors

You can buy the bottom mannequin Garmin Forerunner 935 quickly (I consider gross sales begin 18 May) for $499.99. A bundle that features a Forerunner 935 with black watch face and yellow accent band, yellow band, HRM-TRI HR strap, HRM-SWIM HR strap, and fast launch package might be out there for $649.99. I have never seen any bundle with the Running Dynamics Pod, however that might make good sense for the targeted runner.

The greatest competitors for the Garmin Forerunner 935 could also be Garmin’s new Fenix 5 line. These begin at $599.99 and go up from there so you can save $100 by choosing the Forerunner 935.

Daily utilization experiences and conclusion

In the intro I discussed a set of standards that I’ve established for myself when in search of an excellent GPS sport watch and exercise tracker so let me share that standards and the way the Forerunner 935 matched up.

  • Battery life: Every system that lasts only a day often results in my workplace drawer or will get bought. I’ve discovered through the years that I want an exercise tracker that lasts shut to every week, or extra, to be utterly glad. I used to be in a position to get into my second week persistently with the Forerunner 935 and it was truthfully very refreshing to not likely assume a lot about battery life for a wearable.
  • Integrated coronary heart fee monitoring: The Garmin Forerunner supplies an correct view of my coronary heart fee in all of my examined actions. I do not practice with an in depth eye on my coronary heart fee so the wrist-based answer might not work greatest for these people.
  • Readable and customizable exercise show: I like to have three or 4 fields present up on my wrist so I can look down at my standing and regulate to meet my exercise objective. The Forerunner 935 is totally customizable and is the most effective I’ve seen at offering this personalization.
  • Automatic sleep monitoring: I sleep extra once I monitor it, but when I’ve to push a button or allow sleep monitoring I typically overlook to do it. The Forerunner 935 has confirmed to get it proper more often than not and if it misses on both finish I can shortly and simply edit the beginning or finish time to seize my sleep precisely.
  • Half marathon battery life with day by day monitoring: I run a few 2 hour half marathon tempo and whereas this could have the ability to be met by all GPS watches, when you add on day by day monitoring I’ve seen different units die on my coaching runs. There are not any worries in any respect with the Forerunnger 935 when it comes to battery life and that peace of thoughts is effective to me.
  • Basic smartphone notifications: Data has proven that most individuals use their smartwatch for notifications and to view the time. I’ve but to discover any compelling cause to use apps on a smartwatch so if a GPS sport watch can present me with name, textual content, and primary notifications then that is all I want. The Forerunner 935 truly helps an enormous variety of software notifications and greater than meets my primary smartwatch wants.
  • Silent alarm: My spouse would really like to by means of all of my telephones out the door once they blare out at Four:35 am every morning. Thankfully, the Garmin Forerunner 935 could be setup to present a vibration alert when it is time to rise up. I would really like to see it wake me throughout a light-weight time of my sleep like another exercise trackers will, however having the vibration at a set time is best than a telephone alarm.
  • Solid ecosystem and apps to entry knowledge: Capturing the info is effective, however I additionally need a gadget that has an ecosystem for me to view the small print of the info, create reviews, monitor developments, and help me improve my efficiency and well being. Garmin has nice apps for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile, in addition to a really useful site dashboard for viewing and utilizing the collected knowledge.

After sporting the Garmin Forerunner 935 for the previous few weeks, I’ve given critical consideration to promoting my Fenix Three HR so as to decide up the 935. The lighter weight and smaller measurement make this a particularly compelling excessive finish GPS sports activities watch that I feel many will discover compelling. Then once more, the Fenix Three HR is a little more rugged and the dimensions hasn’t bothered me a lot over the previous yr.

While I attempt to cowl my experiences and particulars of wearables right here on ZDNet, nobody beats Mr. Ray Maker when it comes to wearable tech critiques. I extremely advocate you take a look at the DC Rainmaker full review of the Garmin Forerunner 935. He goes into all the intricate particulars of the watch and in addition exams out many modes of coaching.

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