For professional athletes and everyday runners, this Garmin Forerunner 235 review will help you experience one thing. And that is – constant performance improvement.
That is if you make the commitment to buy and put it to actual use.
But how can this be experienced you may ask? Well, the core capabilities that make it possible are in this Garmin Forerunner 235 features. Reading through to the end will make you find out all the best use cases that perfectly matches your current interests.
In simple terms it will increase the ability to accomplish personal fitness or professional training goals. At that point, you’ll understand why the price is never equal to the gains.
If you are looking for a running watch that does more than distance and step tacking, this is it.
Running Out of Your OK Plateau
In his book, MoonWalking With Einstein, author Joshua For defined OK plateau as the automatic and memory dependent stage of human performance in which we reach and feel ‘Okay’. And then it feels like a real plateau beyond which we cannot improve or perform; in this case run.
However, the secret of high performers in almost every field, sports is to repetitively stretch ourselves beyond that unconscious and effortless performance zone, even if we are failing.
This is what it means to run out of your OK plateau.
Interestingly, this particular watch under review provides useful data and insight to help go beyond that flow zone. In Joshua’s words, high performing world class experts often watch themselves failing, while everyone else rationalizes their avoidance of failure.
Probably, this is exactly what sets them apart from everyone else. Especially for pro athletes, here is a simple gadget that will enable you to experience that constant improvement while taking the leap to stand out in your game.
- Garmin Forerunner 235 Review | The Watch & Features
- Here’s a video review of Forerunner 235:
Garmin Forerunner 235 Review | The Watch & Features
On my very first impression, this one looks pretty much like every other Garmin running watch you can find in the marketplace today. Simply round face design.
But then, it still has some attractive distinctions.
Like Garmin’s newer Fenix 5S and 5X, Forerunner 235 comes with very light silicone strap material. Coupled with its 42g weight, this puts it among the most comfortable sports watches. Sure you won’t like heavily clunky gadget on your wrist while running. Maybe your interest is in the outdoors or you have multiple sporting interests, best for you is to check one of the best multisport GPS watches that can serve you in different contexts.
The physical size of this watch is about 45 X 45.
With colorful display screen at 215 X 180 pixel resolution, you are sure of getting sufficient data clarity while on the run or during other activities. And it is perfectly sun light visible too.
When you are in full gear metrics like running distance, pace time and heart rate zones will be displayed visibly on the screen depending on your settings.
In addition to the ones mentioned above, you’ll also get insights from tracking data like calories, cadence and VO2 max.
And the interesting thing is, you can customize Garmin forerunner 235 as much as you like. For example, you can set it to tracking indoor or outdoor running, walking or biking. However, for swimming use case it can only track time even though it is said to be 164 feet water resistant.
Unlike the TomTom Spark, you can’t add your own music to this watch which would have made it possible to leave your smartphone at home while running. Hence, there is built in memory.
As at the time of this writing, you can find it on Amazon in black and frost blue colors.
The Running Data
Most of these metrics can be accessed mid-run and you can tap the up or down button to control the metrics shown on screen.
Cycle right through and you’ll get a big heart rate screen, with an arrow that displays your current zone. This is a fantastic addition, but we’ll come onto its usefulness in the next section.
Another feature worth highlighting is the Forerunner 235’s ability to load workouts synced from the Garmin Connect web app.
In the tool you can build workouts, setting your desired warm up time, workout time, distance or intensity, and warm down period, and have it sent to the watch. To load a session head to the main menu and on the watch and choose Workouts to load your training plan. The watch will guide you through, ensuring you warm up properly and stick to your goals.
You can store up to 200 hours of activity on the watch itself giving you plenty of scope should you wish to dig for insights from your past runs from the wrist, though with instant updates via your smartphone’s Bluetooth to Garmin Connect you might not need that.
Here’s a video review of Forerunner 235:
Garmin Forerunner 235 Heart Rate Monitoring
Here is one of the best Garmin sports watches that tracks heart rate zones from the write. However, based on the experience of past users I have interacted with, the accuracy leave more to be desired. So you may consider getting a chest strap when you are ready to buy Forerunner 235.
With this 24/7 heart rate tracking, you’ll become able to increase your awareness of potential over-training or incoming cold.
With the touch of a button you get a read out of your current heart rate, highs and lows, your average RHR and a visual showing the last 4 hours. You can then tap for a chart of your RHR over the last 7 days.
Resting heart rate high that morning? That’s a sign you might want to skip a training session or ease off the intensity, and the Forerunner 235 makes that a much easier decision.
Interestingly, if you have used Forerunner 225 which uses Mio’s technology, you’ll be able to make comparison with what provided via Garmin’s Elevate HR technology.
The Forerunner 235’s optical heart rate sensor also powers a VO2 Max reading, or the maximum volume of oxygen you can use, measured in milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min).
It’s another great indicator of your current fitness levels and progress. Usually done in a lab test, watches, such as the Forerunner 235, increasingly boast estimated VO2 Max scores.
But without stepping into a lab it’s hard to assess the accuracy.
For some reasons, if you can do without the chest strap and don’t care about HR data accuracy, the heart rate monitoring feature provided on the wrist could be satisfactorily enough for you. And then, you could save money what would have been spent on the chest strap.
Garmin Forerunner 235 | Activity Tracking
Besides everyday running, this sports watch also provides daily fitness activity tracking. So in this Garmin Forerunner 235 review, we look into that as well.
Specifically, it helps to measure how active you have been or haven’t been over specified period of time.
How can this help me if I buy it you may ask?
Well, you already know that being active is far better than being squeezed into monotony. Moreover, there are numerous other physical and mental benefits of staying fit and active. So when life gets busier than normal, the data provided from this watch empowers you to adjust properly.
In my opinion, the Forerunner 235 really raises the bar, for a number of reasons. Let’s look at just few of them in the following paragraphs.
Firstly, the design helps. By actually looking decent and not horrifically bulky, you might actually be tempted to wear the Forerunner 235 all-day, every day. Wearing it to bed may be a step too far, but it’s possible. You could never say that about the TomTom Spark.
The next reason for its fitness tracking success is technological. Unlike the Spark or any of the other Forerunners, the 235 makes use of the optical HR sensor 24/7, and will keep a record of your heart rate throughout the day.
Tap the down button and you’ll be treated to a read out of your heart rate over the last 4 hours, with current and resting heart rate called out.
It’s easy to keep an eye on your stats – but our only complaint is that resting heart rate isn’t called out within the app, and it can’t be tracked over time.
Tap down again, and you’ll get a breakdown of your steps, progress against the step goal, distance travelled in your day and calories burned. That’s not the summation of the activity tracking, and you’ll see extra metrics in the Garmin Connect app. From there, head to the Snapshots screen and swipe through to view active calories, sleep (and a summary of the last seven days), activities and weekly intensity minutes.
The main screen features an inactivity bar that creeps around the watch face when you’re on your backside, plus the accelerometer will keep tabs on your overall step count and distance covered during the day.
All of which you can access with two taps of the left-hand arrow button to take you to a display. If you’re into that sort of thing, it’s a great extra feature to have, and you can even join leaderboards of other Garmin users to try and out-step them in a single day.
Warning: this can become addictive.
All-in-all the activity tracking is highly impressive and certainly one of the best we’ve seen from a dedicated running watch. The leader in this respect is the Fitbit Surge, which has the benefit of the company’s expertise in activity tracking, but can’t hold a candle to the Forerunner when it comes to real training.
Besides the main activities mentioned above, this watch comes with pre-loaded profiles for cycling. So if you are actively engaging in this type of outdoor sport, the watch will come handy for you.
Forerunner 235 Review | Connectivity
If you are to do Garmin running watch comparison with Polar Flow in terms of app connectivity, you’ll surely get divided opinions. But that is what happens naturally in every market with products from different brands. The running watch market is no different at all.
That aside, there are still some interesting attractions for Garmin Forerunner 235. If you are a current or past user of Garmin’s product, buying and setting up this one will auto-update your personal information via the Connect app.
With this, you don’t have to re-input everything from scratch again.
As you may already expect, this app is compatible for both Android and IOS devices. Install the Express software and you can as well use it on desktop PC or Mac.
The web tool is fantastic and filled with incredibly detailed tools for building workouts, setting routes and getting the most out of your data. The mobile app, on the other hand, is a slightly different beast. Designed for digesting post-workout and daily activity data, it’s not the best designed experience, and it can be a downright confusing at times.
But you can’t say it’s not in-depth.
In Snapshots you can swipe through seven pages of activity data, and you can review pages of data on runs and cycles and look at graphs on aspects of your performance, too.
It’s messy, it’s overwhelming, but it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the nitty-gritty.
The Forerunner 235 is also capable of displaying notifications and calendar updates from a connected smartphone, meaning you can see calls, texts and other messages straight from the wrist. While it doesn’t offer any of the finesse or customization options of a proper smartwatch, it’s a simple yet effective system that ensures you’re less likely to miss calls and saves you time reaching for your smartphone needlessly.
You only get the first line of a message or text, so it’s hardly a proper smartwatch competitor, but works well enough. If you press the down button and cycle past the fitness tracking screens you’ll see a breakdown of your day’s calendar appointments and get a weather forecast, too.
Keep cycling through and you’ll see a list of notifications, and pressing the run button means you can recall them straight from the watch so you can see what you missed.
Garmin Forerunner 235 Battery Life
One thing to note here is that the battery life on this running watch varies depending on whether in you are in smartwatch mode or GPS. In watch mode, you can get up to 9 days and then in GPS mode, you get 11 hours. That means on a single charge, you can get up one week’s battery life.
And this will be more than enough to serve for the week’s running and tracking activities. For indoor run, the batter lasts even longer.
When you buy Forerunner 235, you’ll also get a charging cable that comes with it.
The Watch Accessories
In normal Garmin tradition, there are some accessories that have been tested to be compatible with this particular model of running watch. You may decide to buy this right at the point of ordering from Amazon or wait until a pressing need presents itself.
Below here are some of those accessories.
For those doing indoor run, the need for foot speed and indoor distance information may arise from time to time. Besides, GPS doesn’t indoors in most case. So a foot pod proves really useful in those settings. Except this particular watch, you can as well use the pod together with other Garmin running watches like the Fenix series.
Attach your compatible device to your bike to collect workout data while cycling. Great for multisport workouts, your device quickly attaches to the mount for a clean transition from running to biking.
If heart rate data accuracy is paramount in your training sessions for some reasons, it is better to go for heart rate monitoring chest strap. Garmin HRM Tri is just one of them. With indoor fitness activities, this will be practically use for you and your team, if you operate in a group.
Without this accessory you can always enjoy your ride wearing Forerunner 235 alone. However, the data you get from it will help you to prepare, visualize and improve your performance. Use this long enough, and you’ll begin to notice real improvement in your cycling adventures. Assuming you are the competitive type, it puts at an advantage over people that don’t use it at all.
Those who care so much about color and aesthetics will find Garmin’s colorful bands attractive. Available options here include red, black, blue, yellow and gray. And there are also some straps meant specifically for heart rate monitor.
For those who are passionately outdoor bound, you are likely to find compatible device useful too. If you have not owned one before, buying this together with Forerunner 235 give you extra data capturing during your outdoor activities. Like the watch itself, it has Wifi smartphone control and Bluetooth connection capabilities. And it is waterproof as well.
Conclusion about Garmin Forerunner 235 Watch Review
Whether this is your first time buying a running watch or not, this Garmin Forerunner 235 review will certainly help you make the best choice. With all the features reviewed above, you are definitely going to discover what matches your current or future interests.
What others are reading:
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- Garmin Forerunner 920xt Review: Best multi-sport watch for 2018
And in case you need extra data layers and capabilities, consider the accessories listed above. Even though it seems to be an older model, it is enough to get you started.
Did I mention that is one of the best affordable running watches in comparison to Garmin Fenix series, Apple or Polar competitors that sell above $600.
If you should buy from Amazon, you can have it shipped to you within 48 hours or same day for prime members.
So there no need to wait any longer. Probably, the budget you have for a running watch right now can sufficiently match the price it is being sold for at Amazon or other retailer of your choice.
Now, assuming you really want to run out of your OK plateau, you’ve got a companion to help in that regard. As noted earlier, you can engage in your activities perfectly without this watch or any other device. That means, running blindly when you feel like it.
However, the feedback data you get from it makes a lot of difference. For example, you’ll always be promptly alerted when the tendency for over training rise without your notice.
In addition to this, it becomes practically easier to set works and adjust your tempo when you begin to backslide.
Go give it a shot today. And be sure to test after purchase, so that if there is need to return you do it early enough within the allowed return period.