garmin forerunner 935 review

Garmin Forerunner 935 Review – Lightweight Multisport Watch

Watch Review: Forerunner 935

Editors Rating:

Multisport Features

Watch Design

Ease of Use



  • Slim and lightweight design
  • Advanced training features
  • Built-in tracking for running, swimming, hiking, golf, paddle boarding and more
  • Superb battery life (24 hrs UltraTrac mode)
  • Free software updates using Garmin Express
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for syncing/uploading


  • Wrist heart rate won't work under water (HRM-Tri or Swim required)
  • Can't play music directly from the watch (but can control it)
  • Only one size (unlike Fenix 5) so for smaller wrist will be on the large size
  • Not as stylish as Fenix 5
  • Expensive

Garmin Forerunner 935 Review

The Forerunner 935 (Amazon) includes all of the Fenix 5 features but into a slimmer and lightweight design. It has a slightly larger display, which is useful for cycling, and the optical heart rate sensor at the rear of the watch is now smooth. This makes it much more appealing for 24/7 activity tracking.

Who should buy the Forerunner 935?

This watch is primarily aimed at dedicated athletes, those that are training for their next ironman and anyone with money to spend. If you're looking to upgrade from the earlier 920XT then be prepared to part with some serious cash.

Garmin Forerunner 935 tech specs:

  • Physical size: 47 x 47 x 13.9 mm
  • Weight: 49g
  • Display resolution: 240 pixels
  • Display size: 30.5mm
  • Water rating: 5ATM
  • QuickFit bands: 22mm
  • Wi-Fi, ANT+, USB & BLE connectivity
  • Connect IQ app compatibility
  • Wrist-based heart rate
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Activity tracking
  • Auto/manual multisport
  • Compatible with Shimano Di2, Running Dynamics Pod, Varia Vision in-sight display, Varia smart bike lights, Varia rearview radar, HRM-Tri, HRM-Run, HRM-Swim
  • Battery life: 24 hrs (GPS mode)

garmin forerunner 935 review

Lightweight sportswatch design

The recent Fenix 5 range (Amazon) has seen Garmin move towards a more premium look, however dedicated runners still appreciate the sports watch style. The Forerunner 935 doesn't break away from the existing series and is still made from the familiar plastic and silicone that we've become used to.

Forerunner 935 certainly doesn't feel like an expensive watch and that's mainly because the features are hidden below the hood. It's slim form factor and lightweight design make it an ideal training partner, you won't be dragging your arm under its weight (unlike the Fenix 5). This makes it comfortable to wear for long periods, in the pool, in the shower and at night. In fact, you won't want to take it off. Forerunner 930 is water resistant to 5ATM (50 meters).

The display is uncluttered with 5 physical buttons to control the interface. It doesn't have a touchscreen which many athletes will be glad about, making it easier to control with sweaty fingers.

The rear of the watch has a small pin connection for the USB charging clip (also compatible with the Fenix 5). The heart rate sensor has been improved and is now flush with the back of the watch, making it more comfortable to wear for long period. Previous wrist heart rate watches left an indentation in the wrist.

The Forerunner 935 (Amazon) display has also been noticeably improved with more pixels over the 735XT (64 colors). The screen is crystal clear and easy to read even in bright sunlight due to not being back-lit. However, the back light can be turned on for night time activity and also has a handy 'wrist turn' option.

The display is made from chemically strengthened glass with a fiber-reinforced polymer bezel surrounding it. This should make the 935 fairly durable and hard wearing. No sapphire mineral glass here though. The strap is made from silicone material and has enough holes to fit smaller wrists. Unfortunately, it only comes in one size, unlike the Fenix 5S.

The Tri-bundle (Amazon) option comes with a Force Yellow band and additional black band in the box.

Changing the straps is now a doddle thanks to Garmin's new QuickFit bands - no tools are required.

forerunner 935 quick fit bands

Getting a satellite fix should take less than in a minute unless you're in a very built up area. However, 935 uses the Russian satellite system (GLONASS) for added accuracy.

Ultra long battery life

For the ultra marathoners battery life is paramount and again Garmin has not failed to deliver. Forerunner 935 (Amazon) will give up to 2 weeks in standard watch mode, 24 hours in GPS tracking mode and 50 hours in UltraTrac mode even while using wrist heart rate. UltraTrac is less accurate than standard GPS mode but will still track essential data such as speed, distance, and pace. Turning off wrist heart rate will give you 60 hours in UltraTrac mode. Charging during an activity will still be problematic due to the clip being in the rear of the watch unless you find a way fix to backpack strap.

garmin forerunner 935

Editors rating:

garmin fenix 5 sapphire

Editors rating:

garmin forerunner 735xt

Editors rating:


Fenix 5



Wi-Fi connectivity

(Sapphire Versions)

Smartphone notifications

Connect IQ app

Wrist heart rate

Aerobic training effect

Anaerobic training effect

Training status

Training load





Running and multisport features

The Forerunner 935 (Amazon) has hardware to match the Fenix 5 and also includes some new features that you didn't even know you wanted or needed. Training Status will keep you informed on whether you are improving, maintaining, peaking or even over training. Particularly useful during marathon training. If you're feeling slightly bamboozled by Garmin's latest advanced running features check out their handy guide for some good bedtime reading.

This watch also includes a barometric altimeter to track elevation (not on 735XT) which could be useful for trail runners. Also included are all the standard running watch features that you would expect to find, pace, distance, calories and much more.

When paired with the new running dynamics pod (see on Amazon) or the HRM-run (see on Amazon) you will receive detailed feedback on running form. 6 metrics are calculated, including cadence, ground contact time, stride length, vertical oscillation, vertical ratio and ground contact time.

You can easily change sports during an activity thanks to the built-in profiles available. These include running, cycling, swimming, paddle sports, trail running, hiking, strength training and much more. During an activity such as a triathlon the auto multisport button lets you change sports at a touch of a button.

Wrist-based heart rate

Forerunner 935 has version 2.o of the Garmin Elevate wrist based heart rate technology. The hardware is essentially the same but software has been improved for better accuracy. It's more reliable but if you need the best accuracy available it's still advisable to use a chest strap such as the HRM-run. At least the heart rate is now flush with the back of the watch so you won't be left with the annoying indentation in your wrist from older models. Frustratingly the wrist heart rate still doesn't work under water, so you'll need to purchase the HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri from Amazon for this.

Activity tracking

Garmin includes 24/7 activity tracking on all wearables now, handy for extra motivation during the day, not that you'll need it with this watch on your wrist. Step counter, move bar, goals, calories burned, floors climbed and much more. Forerunner 935 can also be used in conjunction with MyFitness Pal for food and calorie tracking.

Smartwatch features

It's important to remember the Forerunner 935 is a sports watch first with smartwatch features, this isn't an Apple Watch pretender. When paired with your smartphone you'll receive notifications including calls, social media and more. This feature is useful during an activity if you run with your phone for music. Notifications can also be turned off if you prefer to get in the zone or find them distracting. Unfortunately, music can't be stored on the watch itself but it can be controlled from the display, although this will take you away from the main activity data.

Garmin Connect

The fitness app which accompanies all Garmin sport and fitness devices is slowly improving but does take some time to find your way around, especially if you're new to the platform. The app is available on web and smartphone and has so many features it can take some time to discover them all. Syncing the 935 with the app is a breeze over Wi-Fi. The activity feed displays everything you need to know about your workout, including distance, pace, time, performance condition, running dynamics and more.

Connect IQ

The app store for more advanced watches in the Forerunner range is also developing very well. Third party developers are creating apps which let you customize the watch display and data fields. Stand out apps includes Strava Live Suffer Score which analyzes how much time you spend in different heart rate zones and measures total activity effort.

Compatible accessories

A range of compatible accessories are available for the Forerunner 935, these include:

garmin running dynamics pod

Running Dyamics Pod

Garmin Forerunner 935 quick release kit

Quick Release Bike Kit

garmin forerunner 35

HRM-Run / HRM-Tri / HRM-Swim

yellow quick fit bands

Color QuickFit Bands (22mm)


The Forerunner 935 isn't cheap but you get what you pay for in a top end training device. If you're considering an upgrade from an older model such as the 920XT it's well worth it and you should get at least 3 years use out of it before another upgrade is due.

garmin forerunner 935 tri bundle

Considering purchasing an additional HRM-Run for advanced running dynamics?

Check out the Forerunner 935 Tri-bundle available at Amazon.

Bottom line

Garmin continues to impress with the expansive Forerunner range of watches. The Forerunner 935 is the sports watch that does it all and includes features you didn't even know you needed. Athletes that were concerned about the weight of the Fenix 5 now have the option to have all the best features but in a lightweight design.

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