When it comes to Garmin smartwatches, if you see the XT model, you’ll certainly confirm that this device is meant for serious training – it’s one of various multi-sport specific devices out there, but with a difference. In this Garmin Forerunner 735xt review, we’ll tell you all you need to know about this device.
But why the Forerunner 735xt?
Well, the Forerunner 735xt is built with those multisport athletes in mind as I stated above – this timepiece represents a solid choice in the line-up of sports watches, especially if you can’t afford the considerable asking price of the latest Forerunner 935, which is, undeniably, the better overall device if you have the money.
However, since the launch of the large Garmin Forerunner 920xt, the company has had its engineering experts working tirelessly to contrast the wrist-dweller to what’s in the Forerunner 735XT.
Essentially, the Garmin Forerunner family has always been a strong favorite of sports lovers. It’s a hardcore fitness tracker designed specifically for triathletes and those who get thrilled by the prospect of a Tough Mudder challenge.
The Tri Bundle made the Forerunner one of the strongest and most comprehensive fitness-tracking packages in the market, but even on its own, the wristwatch is powerful enough to offer tremendous performance coaching and monitoring.
However, its high price together with the complexities of its advanced functions make it overkill for many people but the most hardcore of fitness extremists.
Regardless of the fact that it’s small enough to wear day-to-day, the Forerunner 735xt crams in a strong battery, smartphone notifications, all-day activity tracking, optical heart-rate monitoring, and lots of other training metrics. But does it stand up to the competition from TomTom, Suunto, Polar?
The price tag places this watch above some high-end sports watches but below some of the more comprehensive multi-sport timepieces. But has Garmin discovered the sweet spot that makes this a perfect choice for everyone? We got sweaty to figure this out. Find out more below.
- Garmin Forerunner 735xt Review | The Watch & Design
- Garmin Forerunner 735xt Heart Rate Monitor Watch | Performance & Features
- Garmin Forerunner 735xt Multisport Watch | Sports Tracking
- Garmin Forerunner 735xt Sale | Garmin Connect app
- Garmin Forerunner 735XT | Smartwatch Notifications
- Garmin Forerunner 735xt | Battery life
- Conclusion about Garmin Forerunner 735XT
Garmin Forerunner 735xt Review | The Watch & Design
The Forerunner 735xt comes in as a modern sports watch, occupying a position above the 600 series devices. It might interest you to know that the 735xt was the first Forerunner model to feature Garmin’s Elevate wrist-based heart rate monitoring – and saw a key change from the initial chest-based heart-rate monitoring, which had dominated the previous devices of Garmin. This was a major shift in direction for Garmin brand, transitioning to compete with developing rivals on a practical level.
Solid and reasonably thin, the 735xt features a nice sporty appearance with a degree of conformism. Select the black model and it’s rather tactful, but for someone that wants a bit more pomp to his sporty watch, there is also a blue version with a turquoise color band.
Additionally, the 735XT isn’t too heavy as it measures 44.5mm in diameter, although it might be a little on the large size for those with smaller wrists – it’s not really chunky for the sake of being chunky. You’ll likely want that display space – at just below 12mm, it’s not overly thick.
There are equally some buttons around the Forerunner 735xt’s circumference and we noticed that we’ve accidentally triggered the start button a few times – it’s just very easy to depress. Or else, the buttons provide easy navigation via the user-interface, the hierarchy of the pages isn’t often the most logical though.
For instance, you have to first enter the activity area and scroll down in order to access the menu; but there’s also a separate “options” menu area that can be accessed by long pressing on the up-arrow for clock and music control options. This is one area that completely differs from the Forerunner 935 – which offers a better logical navigation to the interface.
Furthermore, the 735xt also features waterproofing, with 5ATM protection which means that you can wear the watch even when swimming. Although you’ll need the HRM-Tri or HRM-Swim accessory bands if you want accurate heart-rate readings while swimming.
Finally, the 735xt available watch strap is very comfortable, super easy to adjust to the right tightness and, making this Forerunner a fantastic watch to wear both for sporting and for all-day tracking of your overall activity.
Garmin Forerunner 735xt Heart Rate Monitor Watch | Performance & Features
Garmin Forerunner 735xt’s hardware offers you a complete range of activity support. From the basic all-day activity tracking functions such as resting heart-rate reading and step tracking, it’s indeed the sports feature for which you should be getting this wristwatch.
With profiles for a whole variety of sports such as cycling, swimming, running, and others, the “XT” attached to the 735’s name is a good reminder that this is a device specifically built for multi-sport athletes, with support for duathlon, triathlon, and also brick support, to make your training and racing easily trackable.
While in use, pressing the back button during a multi-sport activity will instantly mark that stage as complete, thereby breaking into pieces swim-transition, bike-transition, and run while the timer keeps running. However, the most difficult challenge is probably to always remember to hit the button on T1 when you have lots of other stuff to think about.
In regards to hardware, the inclusion of the compass sets the 735xt apart from the Forerunner 235 model. This includes the ability to have a more accurate navigation, offering you point-to-point and real-time breadcrumb route, together with the ability to navigate back to the beginning of your track.
Essentially, there is no barometer, gyroscope, or thermometer in the Forerunner 735xt, which is what sets this timepiece below the flagship Garmin Forerunner 935. Moreover, there are also some other features that are lacking such as accumulated training load. You also have a recommendation for recovery time on the Forerunner 735xt, but it’s not as considered as the 935 equally has this feature.
But the absence of barometer for accurate elevation changes is the highest downside for this device – and what cyclists will miss because you’ll be dependent on GPS elevation change measurements.
Furthermore, the Forerunner 735xt can draw out an enormous amount of data and present it in a significant way, the most vital being the display while on the sport. With no supported touch, your only option is to make use of the up and down buttons on the left side of the watch to scroll through the screens, with all the essential information easily accessible such as time, HR zone, speed, pace, heart rate, and distance – and automatically laps registered, or manually marked and completely customizable.
Any doubts regarding the Elevate wrist-based heart-rate trackers performance can be dismissed, as this is a continuous and dependable wrist-based device, with the BPM averages falling towards the expected lines and readings our manual heart rate’s measurement.
As we stated earlier, the watch equally supports Garmin’s heart-rate chest straps. The soft strap was used from our old Forerunner 610 and its performance was smooth. Aside from that, it equally supports ANT+, so it can be paired with a wide variety of accessories for your cycle or swim, for instance, so you could include a cadence sensor as well.
Moving on, the Garmin Forerunner 735xt equally avoids some of the weaknesses we’ve noticed on other wrist-based HR watch models: For example, it quickly reacts to a change in pace and does not seem to suffer from spikes which produce unconnected results that we’ve noticed from some.
Aside from that, GPS route tracking is also correct, with the recorded distances falling very close to the foreseeable or map-measured readings. GPS acquisition is also super-fast, even on a cold start. However, GPS reception might be lost sometimes under thick cover, but that’s very common to most similar devices.
Interestingly, what we love the most about this timepiece is that you can clearly see the information you want while on the run, and it has a very customizable screen. There’s support for a variety of training options, with the wristwatch providing editable intervals and targets (pace, distance, speed, or combinations – like distance and time), this simply means that you can actually test yourself at predicted running pace, or hit your training targets.
That’s not all, workouts can equally be created on the Garmin Connect app and send these to the smartwatch, with a more simpler control offered through the display of the app. If there’s a particular type of interval that you desire for, but it’s going to be simpler to create that in the app than through the wristwatch.
Additionally, you also have the performance condition feature that helps to measure your performance towards the beginning of your sporting activity against your baseline averages and notifies you of how you feel.
We admire this feature because it lets you know that you’re essentially not feeling on top form and that this run is really going to hurt. Crucially (especially for those multisport athletes who often love to over-train), it’s a perfect indicator that the intensity of your training might need to be adjusted. Of cause, you can certainly run through it, but do not forget that resting is a vital part of any training exercise.
When it comes to battery life (more on this later), the Forerunner 735XT will kick most other smartwatches to the grime. The watch will function as a general activity tracker in everyday use for about more than a week, while it will offer you 14-hours tracking with GPS and heart rate. Now, that’s more than enough to see you via an Ironman (frankly, we’re yet to try this).
Garmin Forerunner 735xt Multisport Watch | Sports Tracking
When it comes to the core events of swimming, cycling, and running, the Forerunner 735XT has everything adequately covered. With the motion sensors, you can track indoor training or head outside and make use of the GPS – a perfect option when it comes to open water and pool swimming. But what really made this so special is the deep data metrics.
You can also use the inbuilt heart rate monitor for at-a-glance feedback or for training in zones, but a chest band still offers more metrics and even more accuracy. When activity trackers began to use optical heart rate, the more serious GPS companies such as Polar and Garmin held off, claiming that chest straps were more superior. Then later, a certain fruit called gadget manufacturer added optical heart rate on its first wearable and this made Garmin succumb to the will of the people.
Therefore, while the optical heart-rate monitor is meant to please everyone, Garmin still provides chest straps for the more committed athletes who want absolute accuracy and the resultant data.
Furthermore, with the chest strap in place you can take advantage of the running dynamics which measures:
- Deep breath
- Stride length
- Vertical oscillation
- Vertical ratio
- Ground contact time
- Ground contact time balance
- Estimated lactate threshold figure
- VO2 max
- Recovery time
And if all that lot is not clear enough for the less hardcore, you can equally switch on virtual partner and simply set that to your desired pace – this is perfect for specific race finish goals.
Aside from that, according to the guys at Wearable:
Moreover, tracking of swimming is very much spot on for length count all thanks to the auto-stroke detection system. We discovered that its one length out in a 50m pool on a 1,000m swim – although that might have been our annoying brains miscalculating when tired.
But if you’re actually thinking of stopping and starting, you’ll have to press pause because this does not automatically do it like the way Suunto Ambit3 Vertical does it, for instance. But despite the inbuilt heart rate monitor, you’ll still need the tri-chest strap to track heart rate due to the fact that all that water sloshing deactivates the wrist HR tracking.
Finally, the data is accurate when cycling, all thanks to Garmin GPS smarts – but the optical heart-rate monitor can really get anomaly here. For example, we found that the drop-handlebars can stretch your wrist muscles in a manner that works the smartwatch off your wrist and down to your hand if you’re riding a racer.
Garmin Forerunner 735xt Sale | Garmin Connect app
Admittedly, the Garmin Connect app is the heartbeat of the sports tracker world. Believe it or not. There are lots of options to gather data but you get a very clear at-a-glance top-level view which equally works for newbies.
However, we encountered some problems with the Bluetooth on both the Connect app and other Garmin watch models with an Android device. Basically, we couldn’t find any button to sync the watch and smartphone as it automatically works.
While the primary aim of this is to make it effortless, when problems come up, you’re left with less control to get them fixed. That’s not all, we also lost an ample of runs as we had to always reset the wristwatch so it could connect with the app as if we’re doing it for the first time again.
But apart from the connectivity issues, the app does clearly display paths with maps and routes plotted out. And while data is obviously laid out in graphs, there isn’t a big deal to use that data for – it’s actually left for you to make up your mind on what it all means.
Additionally, with activity tracker manufacturers such as Jawbone investing massively in apps which translate data into actions, the Garmin brand could do with developing the app here. Of cause, it does feature a section called “Insights,” but this is mainly limited to step focused tips such as “walk faster”.
All thanks to Garmin’s GPS adventure and heritage gadgets, there are a few cool options for routing. You have the ability to save a course to repeat later in the future or simply create paths with waypoints that you can follow as you run. Typically, this is excellent if there’s a particular distance or path with the right hill climbs that you wish to continuously train on in order to more clearly track progress.
Again, there are the Connect IQ apps which sit on the app platform of Garmin. These range from find-my-car and gym timer apps to cool watch faces and Strava live cycling – there are enormous to choose from. However, while the platform is limited, it helps to improve the watch’s value and equally makes the time range between buying and getting bored much longer. Indeed, this should essentially keep you making use of the watch, which is often going to be an ideal thing for training.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT | Smartwatch Notifications
One of the things that Garmin has got right is their smart notifications. It works perfectly well. Of cause, you cannot respond but that’s exactly not the point. This is mainly a watch for stern training where you pay less attention to most notifications – and only using them to simply notify you of anything serious enough to disturb your attempts at a new personal best.
Furthermore, the smartwatch has the ability to deliver text messages, call alerts, with caller ID, emails, and WhatsApp notifications. Most of this things can easily be read right on the watch, apart from emails. Calendar notifications can equally be helpful when out and about.
Moreover, since the watch equally acts as a daily activity tracking device, movement alerts can be made to vibrate to stop you from staying too stagnant. This comes together with Garmin’s red Move bar which grows if you remain still for far too long.
Garmin Forerunner 735xt | Battery life
I can’t think of any better word to qualify the battery life of the Forerunner 735xt, it is simply awesome. Most time, we get 5-days’ use out of it, even while we run on a daily basis and having it function as a fitness tracker as well – this means you will build up some great sleep tracking information.
Additionally, even with it connected to a phone, the battery life stays on insanely well – this stuff could easily do an ultra-marathon.
We actually tested that over 31.1 miles, from a complete charge, and the Forerunner 735xt managed to lose only about 30 percent battery, which is pretty unbelievable. While we might be worried about doing 100-miles on one charge, you can simply activate the Ultra-trac mode and effortlessly make it through.
Although, it might not be as accurate, the fact remains that you can easily go through the working week on one charge with the Forerunner 735XT and not have to border at all.
Here’s a short video review of Forerunner 735xt:
Conclusion about Garmin Forerunner 735XT
Finally, the Forerunner 735xt has been on the market for awhile now and the benefit of that is that you can now buy one for a slightly lower cost, making it an alluring proposition. Undeniably, there is an ample of choice in the sports watch industry, but if you’re more interested in functionality and performance, then this Garmin model is really difficult to beat.
This brings us to this Garmin Forerunner 735xt review, and we believe by now, you already have all the information you need to decide whether you need this watch or not. But honestly, we’ll advise you to check it out as we’re sure you’re never going to regret the investment.
However, if you have any question regarding the Forerunner 735xt, don’t hesitate to ask us via the comment section. And remember to also share the post with your friends.