The Garmin Forerunner 935 is a GPS sports watch that’s built for serious-minded athletes. Here, we’re talking about triathletes and ultra-marathon runners – not the 20-minutes on the treadmill kind of people. In this Garmin Forerunner 935 review, we’ll unearth to you everything you need to know about this revolutionary smartwatch.
Basically, the Forerunner 935 is a smartwatch that brings the luminous running power of the Forerunner range and adds in the competency of the Garmin’s Fenix line. Interestingly, it’s the first wristwatch to marry both worlds.
The 935 is a natural successor to the Garmin Forerunner 735XT and a potential smartwatch upgrade for Garmin Forerunner 920xt owners. Essentially, this timepiece crams a lot of the features that come with the Fenix 5 into a slimmer design.
It has the same built-in heart rate monitor, same sports tracking modes, and a portfolio of metrics whose purpose is to aid recovery and optimize training. It equally has Garmin Connect IQ support and smartwatch features such as notification support and is fortified with lots of battery life so it travels the distance when you need to travel the distance.
However, the Forerunner 935 does not come cheap and is priced almost the same as the Garmin Fenix 5. It’s equally costlier than the Polar V800 and the Suunto Spartan Sports Wrist HR.
In the world of triathlon, the Forerunner 735XT is famous among most of the more serious athletes. It’s very accurate, powerful, and boasts of just about every necessary feature for measuring your output to enhance performance. We’re huge fans of this watch, so when Garmin introduced a new premium multisport watch (the Forerunner 935) with a huge emphasis on running, we couldn’t wait a minute to have a feel of it.
Clearly, Garmin is moving further down this line, with subsequent smartwatches going the same kind of route – but the Forerunner 935 is still the one that excites us the most. Yes, it’s insanely expensive, but the monstrous battery life and variety of activities make it difficult to resist.
Fortunately, we put the Garmin Forerunner 935 to the test across a range of workouts, and the result is what we’ll be discussing with you on this post, this will enable you to make an informed decision whether this multisport smartwatch is right for you or not.
Garmin Forerunner 935 Review | The Watch & Design
Whilst the Forerunner 935 might share a bunch of features with the Fenix 5, it absolutely does not look anything like the grandfather of the Garmin sports watch family. Admittedly, that might upset fans of the Fenix 5’s rugged good looks – but it certainly makes up for in other areas what it lacks in style.
The 935 has the same looks and stature of every Forerunner watch model with its plastic body and substitutable band combo. Of cause, it’s undoubtedly sporty, but it’s far from a bulky frame is what makes it really attractive. This is especially if you’re the type that doesn’t like training with hulking, big watches.
Measuring just 13.9m thick and weighing in at just 49g, it’s only a bit lumpier than the Garmin Forerunner 235, which makes it more remarkable that Garmin has managed to load a bunch of technology into a tiny body.
The biggest accolade I can give to the Forerunner 935 is that I just didn’t felt like taking it off. It’s incredibly comfortable to put on as a normal wristwatch and it’s also not a nuisance to wear to bed when you want to monitor your sleep. And as is normal with Garmin’s smartwatches, the 935 is safe to swim with, allowing you to take a dip at a depth of up to 50-metres.
However, it doesn’t have a touchscreen, you’re, therefore, required to rely on 5 physical buttons located around the face of the watch with their functions all marked out clearly on the slim bezel. Additionally, it has a 1.2-inch transflective display with the exact same 240 x 240 resolution that can be found on Garmin Fenix 5, as well as a backlight to assist your night-time training.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is a strong performer and a decent size to review data as far as sports watch displays is concerned.
Around the back of the wristwatch, you’ll find the pins for the branded charging cable to plug into as well as the optical heart rate sensor. What can be instantly noticed is that the sensor bump is not as protruding as on other Garmin watch models with inbuilt HR support.
Forerunner 935 Review | HR accuracy
Garmin Forerunner 935 | Sports Tracking
As I stated earlier, a bunch of the features from Garmin Fenix 5 was also transferred onto the Forerunner 935. In respect to sensors, there’s GLONASS and GPS, thermometer, a compass, accelerometer, and a gyroscope. There’s equally a barometric altimeter for tracking elevation guide, which is not on the Forerunner 735xt.
Aside from that, GPS performance is as also as expected from a Garmin smartwatch. It can take seconds to grab a signal or a maximum of one minute. We compared the Forerunner 935 against TomTom Spark 3, which is equally quick in picking up a signal, and the 935 was speedier than the two on several occasions. And when it comes to the data, attributes like elevation and pace were almost identical too.
Furthermore, it has dedicated sports tracking modes such as cycling indoors and outdoors, running, indoor track running, treadmill running, open water and pool swimming plus a triathlon mode which can equally track transitions. But that’s not all. You can also record skiing, hikes, paddle sports, trail runs, and golf.
For running, you’ll get all the normal metrics such as speed, pace, elevation, and cadence. You can also unlock more running dynamics but that will require you to invest in Garmin’s Running Dynamics Pod. This wearable clips can be put onto the waistband of your running gear, and it measures torso movement to distribute data on stride length, ground contact time, lactate threshold, and vertical oscillation. Essentially, this replaces the additional data delivered through the Garmin chest strap when the heart rate thing is done from the wrist.
The wonderful thing for Garmin here is using the sensor to track data that will be fed into new training specific features, training status elements in fitness levels, and logged sessions to ensure that you don’t overtrain. So for example, it’ll tell you if your fitness is improving, maintained or is peaking. This feature is pretty cool.
Furthermore, “training effect” scores your session as to whether or not it was productive or highly demanding using heart rate variability. That feeds into the “Training Load” that needs a week’s worth of data to denote whether you have the strength of your training program right.
Additionally, there’s VO2 Max support, with the data equally used together with training session data for predicting of finishing times for 5K, 10k, full marathon, and half marathon races. VO2 Max has been tested across a bunch of wearable devices, and we discovered that the estimations of Garmin are the best.
It essentially takes a little session for those predictions to actually be on the money and if you’re embarking on long distance races, you will certainly need that long run training data for the predictor feature to really be beneficial.
Finally, all these features could indeed be devastating even for athletes that love data, but importantly, Garmin presents all of it in such a way that makes it simple to take in the information and really understand what might be disturbing positive or negative performances. These are the kind of insights runners will want, or perhaps never knew they wanted, that can really help to better optimize your training schedule.
Garmin Forerunner 935 | Notifications
Garmin has been applauded in the past for its method of introducing smartwatch features into sports watches, and that feature didn’t change with the 935 model. You can typically control the flow of notifications via the Garmin Connect app and immediately you’re through with that, things function smoothly.
Furthermore, native and 3rd party notifications display as fast as they do on your smartphone and they’re pretty easy to consume and clear. There’s equally a dedicated display on the wristwatch which acts like a notification tray once you’ve missed something. Some notifications can be cleared but there are few that are more actionable, such as dialling a number via a missed call. But it’s still one of our favourite examples of exactly how to do notification support.
Aside from notifications, there are also other smartwatch functions here to separate you from your smartphone. For instance, pressing down the top left button on the wristwatch lunches music controls, it also has a find my phone feature and the capability of saving location. There’s equally a nice calendar screen if you want to peep at your day’s appointments. Overall, if you compare the features of Garmin smartwatch to the likes of Suunto, Polar, and its non-existence on TomTom’s smartwatches, I’ll only pick one winner at the moment.
If you’ve recently had a feel of Garmin fitness tracker or sports watch then you’ll find these app surroundings very familiar. Garmin Connect still comes in the form of web app or smartphone and apart from a great user-friendly setup process, the experience is pretty much the same as before.
For people that are new to the system, it still feels a little overwhelming. There are numerous data screens plus a bunch of extra settings and modes to fiddle with. Activity tracking is basically limited to one screen, breaking down sleep and step time. Interestingly, the MyFitnessPal support indicates that food tracking can also integrate here.
You’ll also see screens dedicated to cycling, run, swim tracking, and a lot more as you keep swiping. It’s when you need to penetrate down into these workout sessions where Garmin Connect really shines, offering more data than most people will know what to do with.
Just like Suunto and Polar, it feels as though Garmin still suffers from being stuck in the world of a web app. Because of this, the Connect companion smartphone app still needs some improvement on how it leads people via the screens. For example, a simple search bar function would make it easier to stride via the settings, many of which will forever remain hidden.
In summary, due to the fact that Garmin Forerunner 935 is one of the few high-end sports watches of Garmin, it does equally support the company’s app store (Connect IQ), which is not really an app storefront like the Apple App Store or Google Play. Although, it is still improving gradually but surely, with better Connect IQ apps being launched and Garmin slowly getting more involved by adding features such as smart home support.
The Battery Life of Forerunner 935
The Forerunner 935 comes with a really powerful battery life. It should operate 24-hours in GPS mode or 60-hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode, according to Garmin. But it can go up to 2 weeks without charging if you’re simply using it as a wristwatch.
Furthermore, even while notifications support is turned on, together with regular running sessions and daily activity tracking, it still managed to pass through 10-days. It takes a few hours to power up when the battery is flat, so it’s not really the quickest in charging, but that’s precisely the standard charging time for Garmin smartwatches.
Chech out this short video review of the Forerunner 935:
Conclusion about Garmin Forerunner 935 Review
The Garmin Forerunner 935 is basically a serious sports watch and its price tag is to match. If you are an athlete that likes to analyze numbers, this may pretty much be the right watch for you. In other words, if you’re looking for a watch that offers simple tracking with standard metrics, this can absolutely do that but it is overkill for those with lean pocket.
This is ideally not a smartwatch as it offers sports tracking with only notifications from smartphones and a daily activity tracking tool, but some people feel that it certainly has computing power with 64mb capacity while equally being an enjoyable everyday wristwatch that meets their needs.
Finally, the Garmin Forerunner 935 is another monster of a multisport GPS watch. It’s simply a tracking dynamo and the latest metrics that are based around optimizing your training and recovery are indeed excellent additions. Also, optical HR performance, while it’s better, is still a bit vague in some instances so I won’t advise you to ditch that chest strap yet. However, if you desire to have all the best qualities of the Garmin Fenix 5 inside a smaller and thinner body then this is the watch for you.
That comes to the end of this Garmin Forerunner 935 review. Do let us know via the comment section if you have any question(s) about this watch.