Garmin Forerunner 35
Running Watch Features8/10
Sport Watch Design8/10
App & Customization7/10
- Sleek, wrist-hugging design
- Wrist heart rate monitor eliminates need for separate chest strap
- A variety of sports/activity options
- Less expensive than some other similar sports watches
- Virtual pacer and interval trainer make your workouts more effective
- No altimeter
- Indoor running accelerometer not as accurate as using GPS
- No touch screen
Garmin Forerunner 35 Review
Do you really need a GPS watch if you’re a runner? Can’t you just hit the streets and go until you can’t go anymore? Technically, all you really need are some good running shoes and some motivation. However, a GPS watch can help you work on your pace, track your heart rate and monitor the distance that you’ve run.
With a GPS watch, you can hone your training in a variety of ways. The Garmin Forerunner 35 offers straightforward technology at a relatively affordable price to assist novice and experienced runners with their training. It also helps non-runners track their heart rate and activity level throughout the day.
How Does The Garmin Forerunner 35 Design Stack Up?
Let’s start with looks. Whether you’re at the gym or outdoors, whatever you put on your wrist should be relatively sleek, light and attractive. Some GPS running watches look no different than a traditional watch that simply tells time.The Garmin Forerunner 35is fairly simple and unobtrusive. The slim, rectangular face sits flush with your wrist and isn’t bulky.
Even the wristband is streamlined and free of extraneous design features. The wristband is available in a variety of colors to match your personal style or your workout clothes.
Some people may consider the design low-tech. Others may simply view it as minimalist.
When the screen is lit, it’s obvious that it’s a GPS watch. However, the large display is easy to read while you’re moving. It’s designed to be viewed just as easily outdoors in the bright sunlight as indoors under fluorescent lighting.
How Easy Is the Garmin Forerunner 35 To Operate?
If you’re dead set on a touchscreen, look elsewhere. Four buttons on the outside of the Garmin Forerunner 35 watch face control its functions. They’re fairly straightforward, and tiny icons on the watch face remind you what each button is for. One button customizes the light so that it shines automatically for specific modes. You can also turn it off to conserve the battery.
The back button leads out of menus to a general screen that shows your history and achievements. You can also change your settings and set alerts from here.
Another button operates the different modes. The watch contains specific modes for running outdoors, running on a treadmill, cycling, walking and generic cardio.
The last button lets you scroll through screens to view your heart rate, step totals, calorie expenditure, minutes spent exercising and weather. You can also control your music selection with this button.
The Best Features Of The Garmin Forerunner 35
Although this watch isn’t one of the priciest, it still contains useful features:
- Activity Tracking: Steps / Distance / Calories burned / Sleep
- Training Features
- Alerts: time / distance / heart rate
- Auto Pause / Auto Lap>
- Run / Walk feature
- Customizable screens
- Personal records
- Connected Features
- Smart notifications
- Heart Rate Analysis
- Shows HR Zones
- Elevate wrist-based heart rate for 24/7 monitoring
- Sensor Compatibility (ANT+)
- Heart rate monitor
- Foot pod
- Wireless sync with Garmin Connect Mobile
- Accelerometer for indoor running
- Waterproof: 5ATM
- High resolution sunlight readable display
- Easy to use / small and lightweight
- Virtual Pacer / Intervals
- Preloaded sports profiles for indoor/outdoor running, cycling and cardio
- Controls music and displays weather
- Battery: 9 days watch mode / 13 hours GPS
Heart Rate Monitor
Some fitness watches simply read your heart rate from a separate monitor that you wear around your chest. The Garmin Forerunner 35’s heart rate monitor is incorporated. That means that you only need to think about one piece of equipment whether you’re going to the gym or getting ready for work. The watch records your heart rate throughout the day. This gives you the opportunity to check in on your health and fitness level even while you’re sleeping.
Although this watch isn’t specifically designed for swimmers, it has a 5ATM certified waterproof rating. You can’t use it to track swimming, but it won’t break if you wear it in the pool up to 50 meters.
Garmin Move IQ
You don’t have to switch activity modes when you’re slowing down from running to walking. Move IQ captures your activity and automatically syncs it with Garmin Connect. You can access Garmin Connect later from a desktop or smartphone to view details or connect with other users.
How To Use The Garmin Forerunner 35 For Running
When training with this fitness watch, runners can check their distance, pace and time on one screen. Switching to another screen lets them access metabolic information such as heart rate and calories burned. The watch doesn’t just tell you what you’ve already done, however. You can set it up to help you develop your training plan for each run.
Program the virtual pacer to help you run at a steady pace. Once you’ve set it, virtual pacer will turn on every time you head out for a run unless you disable it. You can also set intervals. You can program run/walk intervals as well as other intervals based on time or distance. A warm up or cool down period can be added to the interval workout. If you have allowed audible tones, the device will vibrate or beep when the interval changes.
When you’re running inside, you can disable the GPS. This will allow the watch to calculate speed and distance using an accelerometer. The accelerometer calibrates automatically. It becomes more accurate after you’ve calibrated it by running outdoors a few times. Still, the accelerometer is not as accurate as the GPS.
How Does The Garmin Forerunner 35 Compare With The Garmin Vivosmart HR+?
The Garmin Forerunner 35 costs less than the Vivosmart HR+, but it has similar functionality and better battery life. While the GPS is on, the Forerunner 35 runs for 13 hours before needing a charge. The Vivosmart HR+ only gives you 8 hours of workout time with heart rate. All of the other functions are largely the same.The Vivosmart adds an altimeter to its features. If you’re a trail runner and altitude is part of your training, you might need this feature. Otherwise, you’ll get the same functionality out of this watch as you would from the Forerunner 35. The Vivosmart also has a touch screen and the slimmer design that you see in the FitBit. However, the sleeker screen provides less visibility. The high-contrast screen and backlight on the Forerunner 35 let you see the display easily even if you have sunglasses on.
Garmin Forerunner 35 Review – Bottom Line
If you’re familiar with Garmin’s line of budget running watches, you might hesitate to pick this one up. However, the Forerunner 35 is a definite upgrade over the previous model, the Forerunner 25.The Garmin Forerunner 25 does not have on-wrist pulse tracking. You have to wear a chest strap to monitor your heart rate. That’s not always comfortable while working out. It’s definitely not convenient to wear for keeping an eye on your heart rate throughout the day.
Because it automatically picks up your heart rate, the Forerunner 35 will automatically track your workouts if your heart rate is elevated consistently for 10 minutes. The previous model doesn’t have this functionality.
A fresher design, some more sophisticated sports profiles and the 24/7 heart rate monitoring make the Forerunner 35 a more technologically advanced option. If you just want a running watch, you might be able to get away with the Forerunner 25. However, for a daily activity tracker that you can also use for workouts, the Forerunner 35 is the clear winner.