Garmin Forerunner 230 & 235
Running Watch Features9/10
Sport Watch Design9/10
App & Customization9/10
- Audio Prompts
- 44% Larger Screen than 225
- Garmin Elevate Heart Rate Technology
- Smart Notifications
- VO2 Max Estimates
- No multisport mode (see Forerunner 920XT)
- Battery life not as good compared with other models (16 hrs)
Welcome to an independent review of the new mid-range Garmin Forerunner 230 and 235 GPS running watchesGarmin Forerunner 230 and 235 were announced at the same time as the Forerunner 630 and will be popular among runners of all levels and ability. At first glance 230 and 235 would appear to be the same, however, the Forerunner 235 offers wrist-based heart rate using Garmin Elevate heart rate technology. This is moving away from using the MIO wrist heart rate used in the Forerunner 225 released a few months earlier.
These watches provide a new form factor and training toolset, plus the convenient wrist-based heart rate in the 235 is one more way Garmin is helping runners meet their training goals, whether it be running a 5K or a marathon.
Garmin Forerunner 230 and 235 Review Key Features:
- Tracks heart rate, VO2 Max estimate and recovery advisor through Elevate Wrist Heart Rate technology (Forerunner 235 only)
- Connected features: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, audio prompts, smart notifications, social media sharing and music control
- Customised training plans from Garmin Connect on your watch for real-time coaching
- Tracks heart rate at the wrist day or night, to provide more accurate calories burned information
- Activity tracking: steps, distance, pace, cadence and calories burned
- Download data fields, watch faces, widgets and applications from Connect IQ
Garmin Forerunner 230 and 235 Review – Watch Design
Both watches come in a variety of colors and offer a huge 31mm display (44% larger compared with the Forerunner 225). The increase in display size is perfect for reading digits and data at a glance. Both watches are significantly better looking than earlier sports watches launched by Garmin (see Forerunner 15) and can easily be worn on a daily basis. Fenix 3 is still one of the best looking Garmin watches in our opinion but won’t appeal to all due to the size, weight, and masculine design. Both Forerunner 230 and 235 are lightweight (only 41.3g) and have comfortable straps with lots of holes, so you’ll hardly notice you are wearing it.
Capture Essential Running Data with Garmin Forerunner 230 and 235
The color Forerunner display clearly shows the data you need and a built-in accelerometer captures distance and pace data when you’re running. You can also use both watches indoors on a treadmill. The main key difference is the wrist-based heart rate in the Forerunner 235. Forerunner 235 also gives you VO2 Max Estimates, Recovery Advisor and Race Predictor without the use of a chest strap heart rate monitor. However, when paired with a compatible chest strap the 230 also gives you the same data. Using a chest strap may also be more accurate as some runners have discovered.
These watches also double as activity trackers, counting your steps and calories throughout the day. Daily activity tracking features include all-day heart rate tracking with the Garmin Forerunner 235.
NEW Garmin Elevate Heart Rate Technology
Garmin Forerunner 230 and 235 measure more than distance by tracking other essential data such as heart rate, heart rate zones and VO2 max. The Forerunner 235 with new Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate technology, features a built-in optical sensor to measure heart rate at the wrist, giving runners the option to run without a strap, while the 230 is compatible with the standard ANT+ heart rate straps.
Smart Features and Connectivity
Through a compatible smartphone, Forerunner 230 and 235 users can stay connected and motivated during and in-between workouts with smart notifications for calls, text, and emails. Audio alerts are also included for lap times while listening to music during a run. Users can even control music directly from the Forerunner 230 and 235, leaving their smartphones in their pockets. The 230 and 235 are also compatible with the Connect IQ smartwatch platform. With Connect IQ, users are able to customize their watch with additional apps, widgets, watch faces and data fields.
Redesigned Garmin Connect Mobile App
The Forerunner 230 and 235 automatically sync with the recently updated Garmin Connect Mobile app when in range, so users can check in throughout the day to view reports on activity progress, track their sleep hours, join step challenges and more. Garmin Connect Mobile’s easy-to-use interface provides daily information and trends over time and can be linked to a MyFitnessPal account to automatically sync calorie and nutritional information, allowing users to view active and consumed calories, and remaining calories (based on goals set in MyFitnessPal).
Garmin Forerunner 230 & 235 Review Summary
Both the Forerunner 230 and 235 are significant upgrades compared to the earlier 225, with a 44% bigger screen and improved battery life. If you’re bothered about wrist-based heart rate and would like a mid-range GPS running watch then the 230 is the best watch to buy. If you’re a marathon or ultra runner we would recommend the Forerunner 630 over the 235 as the best watch for advanced and detailed training.
You may be interested in: Garmin Forerunner 225 GPS running watch review.
Best Garmin Forerunner Prices
The Forerunner 230 is available for a price of $249.99 in black/white, purple strike/white and force yellow/black colors. Forerunner 230 is also available as a Bundle with Premium Heart Rate Monitor for a price of $299.99. Forerunner 235 is available in black/gray, black/marsala and frost blue/black for the price of $329.99.
Read Amazon customer reviews for the Garmin Forerunner 235: