Garmin Forerunner 935 Running Watch Review

It is inevitable not to look for this watch when one finds out about it. So, you are most likely here looking for information about the Garmin 935 Forerunner.

This watch is wonderfully complete for different sports but also for everyday activities. Still, it is expected that you want to know what you are buying and is it worth your hard-earned money.

Based on my test and use of the FR 935, I will present a complete review of the main technical characteristics and differences from other popular heart rate monitors like the Garmin Forerunner 945.

Garmin 935 Forerunner review

The Garmin 935 Forerunner is a multisport GPS watch designed for running and triathlons that rivals the best models in terms of functionality. It is an evolution of the Forerunner 920XT, although Garmin has dropped the letters "XT" from the name of its triathlon watches for this model. One of the reasons for this change is that the FR 935 is also a racing watch.

 

Technical characteristics and description of FR 935

  • Watch case: fiber-reinforced polymer.
  • Strap: silicone Compatible with QuickFit, easily interchangeable silicone, leather, or metal straps.
  • Battery life: Up to 2 weeks in watch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode, up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode (with wrist pulse sensor), or up to 60 hours in UltraTrac mode ( without wrist pulse sensor).
  • Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate sensor. This is one of the main innovations compared to the previous model.
  • In addition to the sensors built into the Garmin Forerunner 935, you get full support for external sensors (each extra sensor gives you a lot more data).
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Cadence sensor
  • The screen is not touch-sensitive, and everything is controlled by five buttons, three on the left (light, up and down) and two on the right (start/stop and return).

The illuminated button provides access to the quick menu, while the other two buttons navigate through activity tracking information and notifications, weather, calendar, etc.

When you press the top button of this fitness tracker, you can access the setup menus to customize the watch, view activity history, records, and totals, add or remove widgets, and more.

To start a training session, press the start/stop button and select the desired activity, with the most recent activity displayed first by default.

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Accurate GPS Running Watch and activity tracker
  • Clear and crisp color display 
  • Easy to use interface
  • Large buttons for efficient navigation 
  • Outstanding software providing a huge amount of data
  • First time users might benefit from a coupon code.

Cons

  • No internal storage for music
  • Input lag on some actions like switching screens, saving workouts, and small menu options.
  • Garmin Pay and offline music support are missing, which the Forerunner 645 Music offers.

Watch functions

Garmin Forerunner 935 watch functions include time and date, GPS time synchronization, automatic daylight saving time, alarm, timer, stopwatch, sunrise/sunset, and Face It app to view the watch. This tool is excellent for placing the most helpful information on the screen for each user.

This GPS Running Watch does not support Garmin Pay and onboard music, but the manufacturer addressed the issue with the Forerunner 645 Music.

Course creation is magnificent (including elevation and the option to add average speed information).

Training characteristics

In terms of training features, this watch has everything you could want, both in terms of functionality and compatibility:

- It has advanced tools for running, multisport and fine navigation thanks to a barometric altimeter and an electronic compass.

- This GPS Running Watch continually evaluates your training program to let you know if you are putting in enough effort, and other features allow you to monitor your performance. The new Training Effect widget shows how your training affects your ability to reach your maximum fitness level.

- Wrist heart rate sensor tracks activity 24 hours a day. But if you use an HR belt or a compatible Running Dynamics Pod, you get advanced dynamic data for running, cycling, and swimming, such as ground contact time, stride length, vertical ratio, etc. In addition, the chest strap has advanced features such as lactate threshold and HRV (heart rate variability) stress test.

- It includes activity profiles for indoor and outdoor running and cycling, pool and open water swimming, triathlon, snow sports, rock climbing, rowing, weight training, racket sports, trail running, hiking, etc. For triathlon and duathlon, you can change sports with a button.

-  It is a convenient watch for cyclists because it is compatible with Varia signaling devices (Beatradar, Smartlight, and Varia Vision) and the Vector 2 power sensor, which displays power, cadence, and the balance of left / right leg, and cycling dynamics.

- An excellent training-related app is TrainingPeaks from Garmin Connect; you can start your scheduled activity directly from this app on your watch, and it will guide you through it. Also compatible with Strava and Strava Live Segments. Strava Premium members can sync running and cycling segments to get real-time information while doing their activities.

Features of the smartwatch

Smartwatch features include smart notifications and music tracking. Furthermore, its LiveTrack and GroupTrack help you track your runs and those of your running partners. In addition, it offers support for a wide range of apps that enhance the functionality of the Forerunner 935, such as Uber, Accuweather, watch personalization faces, and data display personalization. 

Training Status now compensates for heat (which wasn't the case before). For those who are not familiar with Training status, Training status is a new performance monitoring tool that automatically evaluates your recent exercise history and performance indicators to let you know if you're training productively, peaking, or overreaching.

As for running dynamics, you'll get the basic heart rate data – but you don't get any running dynamics data if you use a strap other than Garmin. So to get the best of it, a Garmin HRM-TRI/HRM-RUN/RD Pod is necessary.

Now we could, as a community of runners and cyclists, convince Garmin to consider Running Dynamics to be an ANT+ standard. I know I did. Let's hope for the best.

Test of the Garmin Forerunner 935 multisport watch

Goodbye to the Forerunner 920XT and its square shape, hello to the Forerunner 935 and its round shape. Here I see that Garmin has disbanded its triathlon-only series in one fell swoop to create a more versatile watch that has all the specs and functions of the top-of-the-line Fenix 5.

Garmin 010-01746-00 Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)

So, what's the difference between the two? Apart from the fact that the Fenix 5 is waterproof up to 100m (FR 935 to 50m) and a few other details, the main difference is in the materials. The Forerunner 935 GPS Running Watch is a pure sports watch made from a light fiber-reinforced polymer (49 g), which favors functionality over aesthetics. On the other hand, the Fenix 5 has a sapphire crystal and a steel frame, making it a more aesthetic watch for daily wear but significantly increasing its weight (between 67 and 98 g depending on the version).

The weight of the FR 935 is a significant advantage over other brands and models, as it ensures not only comfort but it also makes the optical sensor more reliable since it moves less on your wrist.

This was expected; the GPS performance was excellent. Its measurements were almost exactly the same as the Suunto Spartan Sport HR Baro, a reliable watch whose measurements I checked for a few months. The wrist's optical heart rate monitor/sensor (the same as on the Fenix 5) is reliable and performs very well compared to a chest strap. It should be noted that it automatically detected the Suunto sensor, which shows the versatility of the watch.

Conclusion

At first glance, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is the quintessential sports watch, offering all the extra functions that more expensive watches have, except that it is devoid of high-quality materials. Two other advantages are the built-in Wi-Fi antenna and the battery life, which offers one of the best ranges for its lightweight.

This GPS Running Watch is limited when it comes to Phone Notifications or interactions with the phone; It is clearly designed and optimized for purely athletic needs.

The watch is relatively small, comfortable, surprisingly light, and packed with many features. Garmin went the extra mile to develop this 100% sporty and efficient model and got a competitive price in the sub-premium range. Highly recommended.


Garmin Forerunner 945 vs. Forerunner 935 ... what's the difference?

The Forerunner 945 is the model that came after the Forerunner 935. The 945 is at the top of the Garmin Forerunner range and is packed with fitness and wellness features. In this comparison between Garmin Forerunner 945 and Forerunner 935, we present the list of new features to you to decide if the most advanced model is worth buying.

What's new

Garmin has included as many new features as possible in the Forerunner 945. If you don't like using your phone during a long workout, you'll appreciate the music storage ability of the watch. The watch stores up to 1000 songs and lets you sync playlists from Spotify or Deezer. Another cool feature of the Forerunner 945 is color maps. Just use the navigation feature to navigate a preloaded route, get to the start of a course, and more. This feature is essential for runners who do long runs over unfamiliar terrain.

Garmin knows the Forerunner 945 is designed for demanding athletes and has added useful training features to help you with your workout sessions. Those who train for triathlons or other multisport activities will appreciate the new Training Load Approach feature, which breaks down your training history into categories instead of grouping them. The VO2max calculator (the maximum oxygen consumption measured during exercise) has also been improved; it is now adapted to heat and altitude. Runners who run uphill or run for miles in warm weather will appreciate this feature.

Garmin released its first Pulse Ox last year, and this sensor has now been used in other devices, including the Forerunner 945. The Pulse Ox sensor detects oxygen consumption during sleep, thus detecting sleep disorders such as apnea. It can also check your acclimatization to high altitudes while hiking or climbing a mountain.

And that's not all. Other new features include:

  • Garmin Pay
  • Stress level
  • Body battery (energy reserve)
  • Training effect marker
  • COPD (excessive consumption of oxygen after exercise)
  • Acclimatization to heat and altitude
  • Best Race Predictor.
  • Event recording
  • Support for races
  • New profiles for skiing, hiking, golf, etc.

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