Best Garmin Smartwatches in 2020

1

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Tune in to your body, and tone up with the 45 mm Vivoactive 4 GPS smartwatch. It has the broadest available range of all-day health monitoring features, music storage and on screen, Animated workouts To help you reach your goals. Boost every activity by downloading your favorite Spotify or Deezer playlists (may require a premium subscription with a third party music provider) straight to your watch.

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Garmin Vivoactive 4, GPS Smartwatch, Features Music, Body Energy Monitoring, Animated Workouts,...

Tune in to your body, and tone up with the 45 mm Vivoactive 4 GPS smartwatch. It has the broadest available range of all-day health monitoring features, music storage and on screen, Animated workouts ...
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< $290.00 349.99
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I'm a watch dinosaur - I like automatic movements and the occasional quartz watch. Have avoided the "Smart Watch" fad up til now. But I've been wearing a Garmin VivoSmart fitness band with a regular watch and was looking for something that could carry off both purposes at the same time . . . without looking like I'm wearing a smartphone on my wrist. I'm also an Android phone guy so . . . adios Apple watch. But that's OK.Look, if you're looking for a device like this you have a choice: you can buy a true "smartwatch" with a bright and shiny display, the ability to track your steps (Apple/Samsung), read your emails . . and a crummy battery life. Or you can buy a fitness devise with Smartwatch features . . . like a Garmin.I choose Garmin. I bought the 40mm size because it looks like a regular watch and doesn't look goofy with dressier styles. No, it doesn't have the bright AMOLED display like the Apples and Samsungs, but it does have the "always on" display which is easy to read in any light. In dark areas, you can program it to brighten with a wrist snap or a tap. Again, it's like a regular watch in that way - which for me is a must. And yes, you can customize the face or download others with the Garmin IQ app. Works fine for me.It's the fitness innards where Garmin really shines, and it tracks damn near every bodily function you have. Steps is just the beginning. Lots of pre-programmed workouts along with heart rate and Pulse Ox monitoring. Garmin just buries the competition in the fitness arena, if that's important to you.Yes, you can read texts etc but . . . well, I have a phone for that. No, I don't want to read emails on my watch. The Garmin VA2 looks and acts like a real watch. It's just smarter and the fitness stuff cannot be beat. And the battery life buries the Apples and the Samsungs. I get 2-3 days with just the basics on.If you don't care much about the fitness criteria and want a wrist display to parrot your phone . . . get thee to the Apple store. Just make sure you bring your charger everywhere. If you want a solid smart-ish watch that looks classy and is packed with health and fitness utilities . . . get the Garmin.No regrets here.
I was looking for a smartwatch that could download spotify playlists, connect to bluetooth headphones, GPS tracking during runs / hikes, long battery life, and a fast non-laggy touch screen interface. Been wearing the watch for about a week now, here are my impressions thus far:-Connecting the watch to my phone and wifi to download my spotify playlists was fairly easy and didn't take much time.-I use a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds for headphones. Pairing them with the watch was extremely easy.-When playing music from the watch, there are almost no issues with connectivity. Over the course of 1.5hrs, I'll maybe have a few milliseconds where the music is choppy. Almost not worth mentioning but wanted to in case others are having issues.-GPS tracking so far seems to be great, no issues here.-Battery life when not listening to music is great. Often only uses up 5-8% over a 10-12 hour period.-Battery life when listening to music and connected to bluetooth headphones could be better. Over a 2 hour period of listening to music I saw the battery drain ~30%. Good enough for me, but could be better and is the reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars.-Touch screen is very responsive and I have not had any issues with lag at all.-The watch has a ton of features and a lot of applications / widgets. It can be a little overwhelming at first trying to navigate but within an hour of first wearing the watch, I felt comfortable with where everything was.
I had 2 different versions of the Samsung smart/activity watches, the Samsung activity metrics were always wrong. So I got this Garmin watch, it was cheaper and the focus was more activity tracking over smart features. The Garmin Watch started out great and the health app was better than Samsung's. The smart features were also surprisingly good(displaying email, text and calls from my phone). The safety features are great allowing my husband to easily track my whereabouts in real time when I am out walking, hiking, or biking. But within weeks the watch started acting up. I went for a published 7 mile hike and my watch showed only 5 miles. I climbed 2 floors but the watch showed 10 floors. I climbed 20 floors and the watch showed 0 floors and needed to be reset and then restarted.... the watch congratulated me on achieving my water goal for the day when I had not logged any water yet for the day. I really love this watch and the app when it works but I am always having to reset the watch to factory defaults or uninstall and reinstall the app. Also the GPS seems weak, the signal takes a long time to connect and disconnects easily in wooded areas. At this point I have had the watch only about 1 month. The watch face scratched on day 1 which never happened in over 1 year on the Samsung watch. I still prefer this Garmin over the Samsung.

Features

  • Keeps track of your energy levels, Pulse Ox (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition), respiration, menstrual cycle, stress, sleep, estimated heart, hydration and more
  • Easily download songs to your watch, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon music or Deezer (may require a premium subscription with a third party music provider), and connect with headphones (sold separately) for phone free listening
  • Record all the ways to move with more than 20 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more

2

Garmin Fenix 6

The Fenix® 6 multisport GPS watch brings cutting-edge design and performance to your fast-paced lifestyle. It’s contoured for a trimmer, more comfortable fit on your wrist, with easy-to-access features that include enhanced wrist heart rate (The data and information provided by this device is intended to be a close estimation of your activity and metrics tracked, but may not be precisely accurate), built-in activity profiles, Vo2 Max estimates and more.

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Garmin Fenix 6, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Heat and Altitude Adjusted V02...

The Fenix® 6 multisport GPS watch brings cutting-edge design and performance to your fast-paced lifestyle. It’s contoured for a trimmer, more comfortable fit on your wrist, with easy-to-access ...
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< $599.99
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I mainly use this device for golf and treadmill work. It's good but I can't believe that Garmin fails to provide clear easy to understand instructions for a device like this that cost so much $$$. You have to find You Tube videos on the internet!
Just got this today. I'll update the review after a week or so when i've had a chance to play with it.I was looking for an attractive, tough, light weight, long battery life smartwatch that i can use to track sleep and activity. I probably could have gone with a cheaper watch but i like the size of the 6 on my wrist.I downloaded a few watch faces. Super easy to do. Just follow the instructions on your connect app.Like all garmin devices, notifications are mirrored from your phone so modify those if you think you're getting too many.The black silicone band is very comfortable and keeps the watch in the same place on my wrist.Set up Garmin Express on your laptop with the cord plugged in. You can download apps and watch faces like the Christmas one shown in the photo.Pros:All day pulse ox measurement is awesome. It pretty much does a measurement once per hour or so.Steps are spot on accurate. I had a Vivosmart that I used first and calibrated steps with. I think the profile information on the vivosmart transferred to my Fenix 6.Set up to the Garmin Express app on my laptop was flawless. My watch needed a firmware update which it did once I plugged the watch into the USB and connected to my MacBook.Garmin Connect is fast when it syncs.Cons:It didn't connect to my iPhone XR right away. It had some problems. After I rebooted the watch, the Garmin Connect app found it and synced.Expensive, but it's the best multisport watch money can buy.** Another update ** Battery life is outstanding (~6 days estimated) even with pulse ox on all the time and measuring during sleep. The watch is very comfortable to sleep in. It doesn't feel heavy at all. I wear it all day. Changed bands to a garmin leather one and it's smaller than the stock black silicone band but still comfortable.
Extremely disappointing how GPS is working. Sometimes I wait over 15 minutes to get the signal (and don't get it). 90% of the hikes I cannot get the GPS signal so no trail on the map can be recorded. Contacted support but they were not helpful and later didn't even reply. Fenix 3, which I own operated better. It also has clear symbol showing in red or green if GPS signal was acquired. Fenix 6 is disappointment. I do not recommend this watch.

Features

  • Rugged, sophisticated design features an always-on 1.3” (18% larger than previous fēnix models) sunlight-readable display with stainless steel bezel and buttons
  • Enhanced estimated wrist heart rate and Pulse Ox to support advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation at high elevations (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition)
  • Performance data at your fingertips includes training load balance, training status, and running and cycling dynamics

3

Garmin Forerunner 235

Stay on pace for your next personal record with Forerunner 235, the wrist based heart rate GPS and Glonass running watch with smart features1. It’s built in activity tracker2 keeps recording steps, even when you’re not running.

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Garmin Forerunner 235, GPS Running Watch, Black/Gray

Stay on pace for your next personal record with Forerunner 235, the wrist based heart rate GPS and Glonass running watch with smart features1. It’s built in activity tracker2 keepsrecording steps, ...
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< $149.99 329.99
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It's fascinating that a lot of the reviews for the 235 here are from folks who wanted a "fitness tracker". I always thought of the Forerunner as a tool for runners, so it's just odd to me that so many people want one of these as an everyday wristwatch. There's nothing wrong with that, except that their reviews are kind of meaningless for the serious runner. So to set the context, here's a review from the perspective of someone who runs a lot and is fairly competitive at the age group level.I've been using Garmin Forerunners for 6-7 years, working my way from the 205 to the 305 to the 310XT. I was excited to get the 235, not so much for the no-chest-strap HRM, but simply for the form factor. I was giddy to contemplate finally having a Forerunner that didn't feel like a brick on my wrist. Was also excited at the prospect of having a device that didn't take as long as a minute and a half to pick up satellites at the start of a run.I'm certainly pleased with the form factor--- compared with my 310XT, the 235 is wonderfully light and unobtrusive. And it does indeed pick up satellites very quickly. Beyond that.... I am not pleased. My biggest gripe (about which I'm surprised to have seen so little complaining in various online forums) is the "current pace" function. It's positively godawful in the 235--- appallingly inaccurate and slow to adjust! I had no reason to expect it would be this bad, based on my experience with earlier Forerunners, all of which seemed to have this function down cold.Why has Garmin gone BACKWARD in this capability?As a dedicated runner who runs a lot of half-marathons with the occasional full marathon tossed in now and again, I require a pretty basic set of functions from my running GPS: Time, distance, current pace, average pace, and lap capabilities. That's all I ask--- but these functions need to work perfectly. To me, it feels as though Garmin has compromised the most critical functions of the Forerunner for the sake of cramming all kinds of ridiculous useless bells and whistles into the 235 (and other high-end models). They need to go back to basics and come up with a model targeting serious runners. Screw the bluetooth pairing, the step-counting, the calories-burned, the "your phone is ringing!" notifications, etc. etc. I need a running tool, not a PDA!Current pace is absolutely critical for any serious runner attempting to hit a particular time goal in a race. You need to be able to set and hold a fairly steady pace in order to nail your desired finish time, and adjust that pace as circumstances dictate. I'm finding the 235 unreliable for this purpose. It displays a pace that I know to be inaccurate, and takes far too long to adjust. It's also pre-programmed only to display pace in 5-second increments, and seems to insist upon "hitting" each and every one of those increments in the course of adjusting the displayed pace. For instance, if I suddenly increase my pace from, say, 8:30 per mile to 8:00 per mile, it won't adjust the pace display directly from "8:30" to "8:00"... it will stodgily work its way from 8:30 to 8:25 to 8:20 to 8:15 to 8:10 to 8:05 before FINALLY, after 25 seconds of running, hitting 8:00. USELESS!Aside from this, while mildly entertaining, the wrist-based HRM is also unreliable. I didn't have false expectations about the accuracy of this relatively new technology, and figured that really didn't matter, as long as it was ballpark-accurate. However, when the HRM just decides to stop working at all, as it did for a run this past weekend, how useful is that? It seemed completely arbitrary when the HRM subsequently decided to work again for the very next run. But if you cannot count on the thing, what's the point?Another annoyance: It's apparently not possible to have a view of current data when pausing an activity; you're stuck with a display that asks if you want to "Resume" or "Save" the activity. If I'm stuck at a traffic light during a run, I'd like to be able to pause the device and then study the current data. Not an option here. Irritating!Overall, the 235 has just made me grumpy. I am now seriously considering replacing it with a new-old stock 910XT, now that those have gotten cheaper. Sure, I'll be going backward in the clunkiness department, and I'll also completely lose the convenience of the wrist-based HRM, but neither of those things matters to me half as much as an accurate current pace feature.Garmin, please come up with a model that dispenses with the silly tech-head bells and whistles and focuses on doing the basics perfectly for runners.
At first I loved this watch! One year later and I'm disappointed.This watch gives you so much data and you can do so much with it. If you are an avide runner this watch would be great for you (continue reading my review to see both sides of the watch). All the apps and watch faces you can download really help to make it your own. When I bought the forerunner the Apple Watch was new and not really up to what I wanted it to be. The looks of this watch is not bad , but not suited for all occasions. So I decided to go ahead and get the forerunner.For the price the watch, I do not like the materials it is made of, all plastic. When I first got it I was willing to look past it, but now I see it was just the honeymoon phase. After a year of daily wearing I've got crunch marks from hitting the sides. I have had small glitches throughout my use but all were something a could live with or restart it to fix. First thing that went out was the find my phone feature. Not a big deal and I could easily live without. Then I could no longer use the run profile to track runs. When I would have the run activity selected and go to start a run the watch would freeze. The only way to recover the watch was to force shut down. I contacted Garmin and they had me remove all watch faces, data fields, and apps. As well as all activities logged. After doing all that it still had the problem. They said I would have to exchange it or get it repaired. I am two months out of my warranty so it would cost $110 to get it fixed. This is very frustrating for such an expensive watch.Overall, if you are just using it for a running watch pull the trigger and get it. If you are wanting this to be your daily watch, really understand what you are wanting out of it. I thought I would tell my story for to help see the long term use and its effects. Hope I help someone with their choice and that maybe mine experience is isolated.
I bought both the Forerunner 235 and the Vivoactive 3 Music. I ended up returning the Forerunner 235, though I think both watches have their merits. As background, I'm a distance runner (half marathon to 50k) but have also dabbled in triathlons and actually cross-train most of the week.Why to Pick the Forerunner 235:- The Forerunner 235 latches onto GPS signal immediately, while I've had to wait several minutes with the Vivoactive 3, especially if I've changed geographical location (like one country/state to another). After that initial GPS signal search, the Vivoactive 3 still takes 30ish seconds to find signal.Why to Pick the Vivoactive 3:- Watch feels more "modern," probably due to the touchscreen and sleeker design (Forerunner 235 feels very plastic-y and bulky). The Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music was released in 2018, while the Forerunner 235 is from 2015, so the Vivoactive 3 is newer technology for about the same price.- The heart rate monitor of the Forerunner 235 actually juts out a little, and it sticks into your wrist, which is uncomfortable if you're wearing the watch for an extended period of time. The Vivoactive 3 HR sensor doesn't jut out, so it's much easier to wear.- The Vivoactive 3 can track more activities; I was particularly interested in the swimming stats (pace per 100m, average number of strokes, etc). Note that in swimming mode, HR is disabled. Also, the swimming function is currently pretty inaccurate. Despite changing pool distance settings, I've gotten total distance numbers more than twice as long as I've actually swum! In a 25m pool, numbers were spot on, however. Hopefully this function improves with updates though.The Bottom Line:If you're a hardcore runner who wants fast GPS signal and doesn't care to wear the watch for extended periods of time as a fitness tracker, I recommend the Forerunner 235. If you do other sports too and want a comfortable watch to wear all day, go with the Vivoactive 3.

Features

  • GPS running watch with wrist based heart rate and display type is sunlight visible, transflective memory in pixel (MIP)
  • Customize your watch and your training, larger screen a 44 percentage larger screen than the 225 but the same physical size
  • Audio Prompts: Receive Audio Prompts from Your Connected Smartphone That Include Laps and Lap Times. Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days. GPS mode: Up to 11 hours

4

Garmin Vivoactive 3

 From playing to paying, vivoactive 3 is the smartwatch for your active life. Make less payments with ease, right from your Watch, and with more than 15 preloaded sports apps -you can choose how you like to get fit. Built-in GPS lets you record the distance, pace, location and more for your outdoor activities.

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Garmin 010-01769-01 Vivoactive 3, GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments and Built-In Sports...

Note - To extend the life of the battery: Reduce the backlight timeout, reduce the backlight brightness, turn off Bluetooth wireless technology when you are not using connected features, turn off ...
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< $129.83
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[UPDATE after over owning for over a year and Garmin has made sw updates and the newer Vivoactive 4 and Apple Watch 5 were just released]Comfort: very comfortable (not too big like some other gps sports watches) and definitely can wear 24/7. It looks nice enough to wear to work/going out (especially if you replace watchband with metal quick release one). It does not scream sports watch.Battery: very good battery life (but short of what was advertised. Garmin says you get 13 hours of use in gps mode. You don't, it's about 10-11. Still, it's MUCH better than Apple Watch!Sports tracking: I swim/bike/ride regularly plus play team soccer (not a good idea but i leave the watch on to track how much i run). The watch records and provides most important metrics (pace/distance/hr/altitude/etc) for all of the sports it says it does (and there are alot). Garmin website is quite good.Swim: only pool swims, but records laps without issue and you can see avg pace for 200 m/yds after. gives Swolf score too and some other metrics. No problem for me here.Cycling: You can use the watch to record the ride and it does a great job. It's just difficult to glance at watch while riding. I use mine to broadcast the optical HR to my bike computer and this works great.GPS accuracy: not perfect, but definitely on par with (if not better than) other gps/ohr watches.Music: Not really all that important to me but nice to know I can leave phone at home and listen to music on a run with BT headphones. Nice bonus is Garmin has added Amazon music so I can download music (if Prime member).Altitude: the watch has a barometric altimeter that does a decent job. NOTE the non music Vivoactive 3 has issues with altitude because it is different design, so get this one (VA3 music) if that's important to you.Visibility: I have "more experienced" eyes and have trouble seeing in dimmer light, but you can adjust backlight brightness to compensate. just be careful as very bright will decrease battery life. All in all, it's good and no real problems seeing what I need to see when running/ swimming.Daily activity (steps, stairs) and Sleep: works great, appears to be accurate and good to know, but I'm that big into it.Phone notification alerts: For me, it's just right. I can see who's texting/calling and decide to "pickup" the phone from the watch. I don't need to talk or respond with a watch.Garmin pay: not all credit cards can be linked, but if you are lucky to have a card that does, the option works well. I was able to get my Wells Fargo ATM card to link. Not my first choice for paying, but I guess ok if I need to in a pinch. [update: they added some more cards and I was able to add another visa card]Optical Heart Rate (OHR): seems to work fine most of the time, but does have "dropouts". Also, I think it's a bummer user does not have option to turn on/off optical heart rate (OHR) during pool swims (this is a very picky "con")Bottom Line: I think this is an excellent watch for the occasional to semi-serious athlete who wants to get most or all of the important metrics from various sports and activities. Can be used to train for (but NOT record) a triathlon or just occasional 1-2 workouts per week. The newer VA4 has added features but not worth the extra $ IMHO. I also prefer this watch over Apple Watch 3 (which is now same price as this one) simply because of battery life.
Update: I’ve had this now for over a year and I still absolutely love it. The bands have held up, the watch face protectors I got sincerely save my watch and I’ve only replaced it once!Update: 8 month check in! I still love it! It tracks gym work outs, road workouts, yoga and more. I can track my sleep and heart rate when I’m stressed and so much more. Still love it!Original review: I have had this watch for 6 months and I wear it daily. I absolutely LOVE this watch. I researched for months before purchasing one and I’m so glad I got this one. I previously had a Garmin Forerunner and while it did the job I didn’t love it. Before that I went through FitBit watches left and right. They definitely are not built to last. My only regret with the VivoActive is that I didn’t buy a watch base in white, I purchased black.The battery life isn’t awesome. Mine lasts a full 4 days, maybe 5 if I don’t workout as much. But since I work from home that’s no big deal. I do have to take the cord with me when I travel. PSA: take off your watch before you go thru security at the airport. It gives me trouble every single time. Phone notifications seem to drain the battery. I wish I could tell the watch “only give me call, text and amazon delivery notifications.” But your watch options are to receive all notifications that come to your phone or no notifications.This thing is durable and I purchased different bands that I love. These bands tuck into themselves so there’s no bulk on my wrist. I also purchased a protective film for the glass, but I ordered that one “door frame” too late and got a nick in the glass of my Garmin. The film cover is great and I forget it’s even there. The touchscreen still works just fine with the cover on it.I keep the charging cord in my car. I recharge my watch while driving. It charges pretty quickly.The green heart rate lights can be a little annoying at night. I’m sure there’s a way to turn them off but I haven’t figured it out yet.I also downloaded a different watch face. I like that I can see everything in one place: Time, date, HR, steps, battery life, and it even shows that I have 1 alarm set.I like the app where I can see what all I’ve done on the calendar view. If you don’t synch a few times a week the sync process can a bit. Maybe 5 min at the most for several week’s worth of data.I’m still very pleased with this Garmin. I wear it every single day!
I've had this for 6 months now and really wanted to like it. I use it for biking, running, swimming, walking, strength training and everyday tracking. My first vivoActive was a great watch. This one has issues. The biggest one is that the HR monitor doesn't work well during ANY type of activity. I've tried it in all positions on my forearm, inside and outside the wrist, left and right arm, and at all tightnesses. It just rarely gives a stable and accurate heart rate. The watch continually drops the connection with my bike cadence sensor. The band is textured but it has already worn smooth in places. It occasionally irritates my skin. The button is showing signs of wearing out, not always working on the first press. The touchscreen isn't particularly accurate so I often end up choosing something I didn't intend to press, and the "strength training" workout requires a double-tap of the screen that almost never works. This is all too bad because it's not a bad looking watch and seems durable. It just doesn't function as advertised. Although I've been a loyal Garmin user, my next watch may be a fitbit.

Features

  • Garmin Pay contactless payment solution lets you pay for purchases with your watch (available for supported cards from participating banks)
  • Personalize your watch with thousands of free watch faces, apps and widgets from our Connect IQ store
  • More than 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming and more

5

Garmin Forerunner 35

Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch, Black. Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod). Android Requirements 4.4 OS or later, Bluetooth 4.0 or later. Apple iOS Requirements iOS 10.0 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch. Battery: Rechargeable lithium ion.

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Garmin Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch, Black

Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch, Black. Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod). Android Requirements 4.4 OS or later, Bluetooth 4.0 or later. Apple iOS ...
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< $96.86 169.99
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Are you a runner looking to take training to the next level, but can't afford a really pricey device? Wondering why in the world you'd even need one? I was in your shoes! As an activity tracker, the Forerunner 35 is very nice. I give it 3 stars because many of the features that a runner would use don't work, and I feel it's deceptive to sell a device with these features when they're not really usable for training. Essentially, this is a good activity tracker posing (ineffectively) as a training tool.Many reviewers mention that the Forerunner 35 isn't for "serious runners", and I took that to mean that they believe "serious runners" need all the complexity of a very expensive watch. I need to know pacing, HR, distance, time. Fancy analytics, realistically, aren't going to do a lot for my running. So really, this watch has everything a serious runner needs. The reason I believe reviewers say the device isn't for serious runners is that none of those features actually works in a way that is useful to someone trying to train seriously. The watch has pacing, heart rate and distance information, interval programming, virtual pacing (it notifies you when you deviate from a set pace), etc. However, in reality, most of these features don't work well enough to matter during a training session. You can get a nice ballpark pace during your slow runs, but it's pretty useless for speed work and can become really frustrating. Here's the rundown:Pros:HR monitor works very wellFor general pacing info on easy runs, the price is good and the device is adequateAfter initially updating with the GarminExpress app, satellite acquisition is quickCons (for runners):1. Pacing - this is the feature that really drives me nuts. It can take up to 3 minutes to catch up to your pacing change - for example, during interval work it takes a long time for the device to figure out how fast you're going after a "down" piece, resulting in huge spikes in pacing as you overcompensate because the device hasn't caught up to you and you think you're running too slow. I've raced with it, and as long as I didn't make any really drastic pace changes it was ok. But it's pretty useless for interval work.2. Virtual Pacer doesn't work - you have to be way, way off pace for a long, long time before it notifies you that your pacing is off, which is useless for intervals/tempo work. They seem to have given it almost a full minute/mile buffer on pace notifications. Also, you can't change the desired pace during a run, so your warm-up and cool-down and any intentional pace changes will set off constant notifications3. AutoPause doesn't work - you'll need to pause manually. It takes 3-4 seconds for the watch to start and stop, meaning you have large spikes in your data4. Intervals - you can only set one interval time and then run it over and over, which runners don't really do. So no ladders, cut-downs, etc. I still have to carry my phone on interval/speed work days so I have a useful interval timer. On the upside, you can program it to leave you alone during warm up and cool down, and start the intervals at any point during your runAll-in-all, although it's very useful to have a pacing device for my runs, I greatly regret not spending a little more to get a better device for training, but I already blew my budget, so after a little live-and-learn and some REALLY frustrating training sessions, I decided to write this review. No, I still don't believe you need fancy analytics from a really expensive watch to be a better runner. But I strongly recommend you find out just how well a device's features actually work before buying.
Before I bought this watch, I researched for months many different running watches before I made my decision. I kept coming back to this watch, but was delaying due to the negative reviews. Let me tell you who this watch is/isn't for. Sidenote I've had an Apple Watch before and I absolutely hated it. People think when they get the watch they will use it to call/text but come on, the screen is so small anyways, I'd get irritated and never use it for those features. The one feature I did like, the sleep tracker, I never used because the watch would die like every day and I'd have to charge it at night in order to use it the next day! Super irritating. Also, mileage was ALWAYS off when running. Like, off by a lot and I could probably have fixed this, but was too lazy to and felt like that shouldn't happen with an Apple Watch.The Garmin watch is meant for a runner. If you aren't such a serious runner maybe running 1-2 miles then I'm sure you can get away with something else but the main reason I needed a watch was to track my mileage and timing ONLY during my daily runs and races. I average around 30 miles per week and so holding my phone while running just wasn't cutting it. I am a millennial and like my technology but I didn't need a damn watch to do all these special features that I had at my disposal before but never used. This was one of the negative comments I kept seeing- how this watch was simple. Well, I just need it to tell me my distance accurately so that's what it's for. Bonus points that it also gives HR continuously and tracks your sleep so to me it's amazing. Also without a touchscreen I don't have to worry about accidentally hitting a button. It's easy and that's all I need. ALSO I only have to charge it like weekly not even that if I actually waited for it to die which I never do. That is huge for me especially after having the Apple Watch. It is GPS acquired and I've run with it on a track and multiple races so I know it's definitely accurate. Had this watch since January and have had no issues. Love when you're done running you can sync the phone easily to come up in the app so you can see everything even in more details. One thing I will address is the pacing. People say the average pace pr mile is slow and takes a while to catch up. While this may be the case, this does not bother me one bit because i've been running for so long I have my pacing down. I'm looking at the time like oh, at 2:00 minutes I am hitting .2, at 3 I should be at .3, for example. I always know what my mile time is going to be around and it's always at that time so this doesn't bother me at all. In summary, while the watch screen may not be like super fancy looking, I've been over the Apple Watch since I got it and this watch literally does what it's supposed to- accurately give you your running distance and time.
If you're a casual runner considering this watch just buy it.Sure it's got a Soviet era technology vibe to it and it's no-frills but do you really need more?PROS-Always on screen. Sure it's not color but no wrist acrobatics are required to turn on the screen. Clear contrast and large numbers make viewing a pleasure when running.- Buttons. Ain't nobody got time for a touchscreen during a run. Do yourself a favor here and get something with physical buttons.- Long battery life. Monochrome screen = Good battery life.- Price. Garmin is expensive and a lot of times overpriced. This is one of the cheapest ways to get into the Garmin ecosystem.- Ability to pair with external sensors. A lot of the competition won't allow for pairing with external sensors. A chest strap and foot pod compliment this nicely.CONS-Features. The feature list is a little weak (no GLONASS etc.) but as an entry level device that's to be expected.- GPS. Not the fastest when getting a lock but you can spend that time humming Eye of the Tiger.- Music controls. Yes it has them but it's basic.To summarize: This is a great entry-level device that ticks all the boxes if you're a casual runner looking to get into a Garmin device.

Features

  • Easy-to use GPS running watch tracks how far, how fast and where you run
  • Estimates heart rate at the wrist, all day and night, using Garmin elevate wrist heart rate technology
  • Connected features: Smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking and music controls (when paired with a compatible smartphone)

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