Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review – Running and Triathlon Watch

garmin forerunner 735xt review

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review

Popular among runners and triathletes alike, Garmin has returned with another powerful multisport watch. The Forerunner 735XT replaces the square looking 920XT and packs in a host of features. It has built-in activity profiles for running, cycling, indoor and outdoor swimming and much more.

Who should buy the Forerunner 735XT?

The Forerunner 735XT is aimed at dedicated athletes who need a lightweight, accurate and advanced training aid. It’s perfect for running, triathlon training, pool and even open water swimming when paired with an HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri.


  • Advanced multisport features
  • Advanced swimming metrics
  • Lightweight, small form factor
  • Superb battery life
  • Compatible with HRM-Tr / Swim and Run chest straps


  • No built-in Wi-Fi for updates (Bluetooth only)
  • No barometric altiemeter
  • Expensive

Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Multisport & Triathlon Training Features

Whether going out for a training run or stepping up to the starting line, runners can easily track metrics that matter on the Forerunner 735XT. With Elevate wrist heart rate technology, the Forerunner 735XT offers users 24/7 heart rate monitoring without the need for an additional strap. For advanced running dynamics and other detailed measurements, users can add a chest strap during training and receive data including stride length, ground contact time balance, vertical ratio and more.

Additional built-in activities include cycling, swimming, multisport, hiking, XC skiing, strength training, paddle sports, and cardio. The Forerunner 735XT is also compatible with the Vector pedal-based power meter system (Amazon) and the full line of Varia cycling awareness accessories for more cycling capabilities.

Water rated 5 ATM (50 meters), Forerunner 735XT swim features will push users to crank up their training in the pool as the Forerunner 735XT will guide users through their swim workout. Users can also easily transition sports with the press of a button utilizing the auto or manual multisport feature.

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Key Features

  • GPS multisport watch with build in activities for running, cycling, indoor and outdoor swimming and more.
  • New profiles include cross country skiing, hiking, strength, cardio, paddle board, rowing
  • Measures heart rate at the wrist so you feel free as you train and compete
  • Provides advanced running dynamics to record ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical oscillation & ratio and more
  • Offers VO2 max estimate, lactate threshold, race predictor and recovery advisor
  • Measures heart rate in the water
  • Connected features: smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect app, live tracking
  • Customize with free watch faces, apps and more from Connect IQ
  • Get street cred for your sweat through Strava Suffer Score rating
  • Compatible with Varia cycling awareness devices, including rear-view radar, smart lights and Varia Vision in-sight display

garmin forerunner 735xt

24/7 Heart Rate Monitoring

Forerunner 735XT uses Garmin Elevate wrist heart technology which provides heart rate day and night – no additional strap is required. For advanced running dynamics and other detailed measurements, a chest strap can be used. Compatible chest straps include HRM-Run, HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim.

Watch Design

The Forerunner 735XT is the most lightweight multisport-capable watch ever from Garmin. It moves away from the traditional square design of the XT range and has an attractive, traditional watch shape design. The watch bands are made from soft, comfortable silicone with plenty of holes, making it perfect for men and women alike. These bands can be easily replaced in a range of bright colors. The display from the Forerunner 630 is used in a more compact design.

Battery Life

The Forerunner 735XT has a battery life of up to 14 hours in training mode and 11 days in watch mode. Forerunner 735XT actually has slightly less battery life than the older 920XT, this could be due to the wrist heart rate using more power. Still, it’s ample for an ultra marathon. See the comparison chart below for more detail on battery life and key features:

Users can download additional apps, as well as widgets, watch faces and data fields for free in the Connect IQ store to customize their watch to fit their style and fitness preferences.

Garmin Connect

Throughout the day the Forerunner 735XT automatically syncs with Garmin Connect, a free online fitness app where users can track workouts, sleep patterns and trends, join online challenges to compete against friends and earn virtual badges. They can also view Garmin Connect Insights, smart wellness insights personalized to each user that provide cues to help them reach goals, shout-outs when milestones have been met and relevant healthy tips from experts. Insights also show users how they are doing in comparison to people like them for extra motivation.

Smartwatch Features

The Forerunner 735XT also keeps users fully connected with live tracking, audio prompts, music control and social media sharing. Additionally, users can receive any notification from their compatible smartphone on their Forerunner 735XT including incoming calls, texts, emails, app, calendar and social media alerts, and more.

Price & Availability

Forerunner 735XT is available in black and gray or midnight blue and frost blue. It’s also available in a running, triathlon and swimming bundle which contains the appropriate chest straps for each activity.

Bottom Line

Dedicated athletes will love the simplicity of this watch. It doesn’t look like much but under the hood offers powerful multisport features that will help improve your running and provide the advanced metrics you need from your training. Being lightweight and with a smaller form factor in comparison to the 920XT this watch will appeal to both men and women.

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