Hello! How’s your week going? Before a million days go by and I forget to actually talk about my new GPS running watch and whether I actually like it or not, I’m coming at you today with a review of my Garmin Forerunner 935. I bought this watch about a month ago and while I certainly haven’t tested all of it’s features, I have done a number of runs with it and been wearing it, sometimes day and night, for that time and wanted to share my thoughts!
Spoiler alert: there aren’t really any negatives… so expect a lot of positive adjectives and overuse of the word “amazing” in this review.
Prior to investing in the Garmin Forerunner 935, I used the Garmin Forerunner 220 for a few years and then over the last year I was using the Fitbit Surge. The Garmin 220 was great as a running watch and as I had been simply using MapMyRuns on my phone before, it was a drastic improvement. I fell into the “I want to count my steps” trend last year and started using the Fitbit Surge so that I had both GPS for running and a step counter to track my steps. It was great, though not attractive or stylish, but did the job I needed it to, except for missing functions for cycling and swimming.
So, why the Garmin Forerunner 935? Admittedly, when I read DC Rainmaker’s review of the Garmin Forerunner 935 (he is my go-to for all running technology reviews) I thought it was too much for me. I’m not an Ironman competitor, I’m not an elite athlete, and I don’t really need that much strapped to my wrist. However, any other model was always missing something. I was on the Garmin train again due to its compatibility with Strava and TrainingPeaks and how it was a better fit for a ‘runner.’ I was very close to buying the Garmin 735XT because it had all of the functions of the Garmin 935 with a slightly less expensive price tag but it was missing MoveIQ and the battery life of the 935 – an automatic tracking of workouts like walking that you don’t ‘set’ up to be a workout that I had come to love in my Fitbit Surge. I was too used to a wrist HR sensor and couldn’t go back to a chest strap, I needed the cycling functions of triathlon watches, and preferred it be water proof so that I didn’t have to stress all summer about kayaking and getting it wet. There we have it, a big dip into my wallet, and I purchased the Garmin 935.
Aside from the price tag, one other downside to this watch is the lack of accessories available in Canada. I couldn’t find a single retailer in Canada that sold the easy clip watch straps so that I could switch out the black straps that the watch comes with. I ended up going on Amazon and finding the light blue straps shown in the photo and while the were shipped from a sketchy manufacturer in China for $20, I love the colour a lot more with this strap and am glad I bought it. Another downside is the cycling functions, indoor and out, are limited without buying the super expensive pedal accessories to track cadence, rpm, and other metrics. It’s not a huge deal as I have never “trained” for cycling, but it’s disappointing to spend a lot of money on the watch only to realize that you need to spend about three times that to actually have the cycling features as effective as described.
The good news is there are so many more positive aspects about this watch compared to the negatives I mentioned above. I absolutely love it. I have fallen back into the familiar use of a Garmin device and while I enjoyed my time with my Fitbit, I can’t say I’ll ever go back unless Fitbit really steps up their running game. It takes a super short amount of time to find the GPS, has all the running metrics you could possibly imagine, and has so far been super fun to use. I’ve used it on interval nights at Run Collective, on long runs, and on casual rips around town, and it’s been great for all types. The displayed pace sometimes takes a while to catch up to how fast I’m running if I slow down or speed up, but a normal amount for a GPS watch.
I’ve taught spin and tracked it with the watch, strength trained, I’ve hiked with the watch, and all activities are super easy to track. You can set each activity to have a unique display so that you can see what you want to see when you’re doing that activity. For example, when I’m hiking I like to see distance, elevation gain, and time on the first screen while when I’m strength training I like to see time, heart rate, and calories burned on the first screen. The customizability is awesome.
The battery life has been one of my favourite aspects of the watch. My Fitbit, after it’s year plus of use was slowly getting shorter and shorter in battery length which meant charging it every second day instead of every week. The Garmin 935 lasts SO LONG and I’ve been on week long vacations this summer without having to even think about charging it. When it’s in GPS, it has 24 hours of life, and up to two weeks of normal non-GPS use. I’ve averaged about 7-10 days of battery life running about 4-5 days a week.
Finally, it’s stylish. I’ve received more compliments from non-runners than runners on my watch because it’s not as awful looking as a typical huge triathlon watch or my previous Fitbit Surge. First, the colour of my replacement strap is super fun, and then the watch itself is kind of cute and relatively less fitness looking that most of Garmin’s watches. I love it.
There you have it. A winner of a watch! Despite the initial shock of the price tag (ringing in at $679.99 plus tax) it is a great watch for both runners and triathletes alike. I am back on the Garmin train and enjoy having the features I liked in my Fitbit (step tracker, wrist HR, and Move IQ) in my current Garmin watch.
What fitness tracker are you currently using?
What apps do you use to track your activities and goals?