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Garmin Forerunner 235 Review

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is an excellent running watch for running enthusiasts. It has all the features that a serious runner could ask for. It, of course, has GPS tracking to measure your distance and pace while you are on a run. A great feature is the optical heart rate monitor included in the watch. The watch can also track your activity like steps and calories burned. Read on for the Garmin Forerunner 235 review.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Review

Overview
The Garmin Forerunner 235 will display notifications from your Android or iPhone device through Connect IQ, part of Garmin’s Connect app store. It’s one of the sleeker models available, which means it’s more comfortable to wear. It’s also water-resistant so you can wear it while swimming or while you’re in the shower.

The price of the Forerunner 235 is one of the best things about it. With a RRP of $329.99 at the time of writing, the Garmin FR 235 offers you mountains of features that most equivalent watches can’t compete with.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Review

Garmin Forerunner 235

The Garmin Forerunner 235 has a lot more features than its predecessor. It is lighter and has a higher resolution, which makes it a much better watch. It has an all-day heart rate tracker as well as access to Garmin’s Connect IQ app store, smartphone notifications, and music controls.

If you are looking for fitness features, then you came to the right place. The GPS signal is superior to most watches, and it can even connect in areas where GPS may be limited. One great feature that you are sure to love is the ability to predict your race times and check your recovery progress. The watch will let you know when you are ready for another tough workout.

Running with this watch is actually really fun. It’s comfortable to wear, and you can get a GPS signal almost immediately. Although the watch is designed for runners, the cyclists out there can pair cadence sensors with the ANT + speed.

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Garmin Forerunner 235 Activity Tracker

The Forerunner uses in-house technology for their heart rate sensor, and its works simply. In order to measure how fast your blood flows past there will be three green LED lights that are used to light up the capillaries during this process. The heart rate is always accurate though sometimes there was a few seconds delay to get the numbers.

When it comes to interval training, however, you may find some inaccuracies. During the workout, we found our first interval to be accurate but then when we did the second interval, we found that the FR 235 struggled to keep up with the chest strap. It continued during rest periods and further intervals. It finally caught up during my cool down, which wasn’t advantageous.

It’s possible that these issues could be fixed in future updates. If you need immediate heart rate data, you can always pair an ANT + chest strap to the Forerunner. Also, it should be noted that the heart rate is more accurate the further it is from the wrist bone.

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Garmin FR 235 running stats

Garmin Connect has always had its issues; it happens with all their watches. The good news, however, is that they seem to be constantly improving these problems. So it could just be a matter of time before these issues are no longer a problem at all. The good thing about the app is that it will give you feedback and personalized insights on your daily activities. It’s a much better app than it used to be but it’s still behind the Fitbit.

The device can collect a lot of data, but the problem with the app is that there are so many menus that you have to browse through to find what you want. If you are unfamiliar with Garmin products, it can take you awhile to get comfortable with changing certain features or disabling a feature.

There have also been some issues with getting the app and the watch to connect. Syncing at times can be an issue as the workouts sometimes won’t sync until the app is open, which can be frustrating. Other times the app will disconnect for a few minutes before reconnecting again. It’s just one of those issues that Garmin has to continue working on because it’s been a constant problem.

The good news, however, is that the Forerunner will support third-party apps, widgets and watch faces. You can get these all through the Connect IQ store that Garmin Connect offers. It’s been around for over a year now, but it doesn’t have too many useful widgets or apps. There is a lot of potential to the store, but it’s just not in the same league as some of the other running watches. It’s a work in progress, and hopefully, Garmin will work on it a little more so that it’s more useful to everyone.

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The battery life for the Garmin Forerunner 235 is a bonus to be sure. If you are using it with the GPS, then you can expect about 11 hours of battery life before charging is necessary. If you are using GLONASS and the GPS together expect to only have about nine hours. If you are only using notifications and the watch mode, you could get up to nine days with the watch. Many people usually charge it once a week depending on the amount of time they are running.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Positives

  • Wrist based heart rate monitor allowing you to monitor your heart rate without a strap
  • Tracks distance, pace, time and heart rate allowing you to monitor and track your running progress
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Built-in accelerometer capturing distance, pace and activity tracking
  • Track your daily activity such as steps, distance, calories and sleep
  • Battery life of up to 11 hours (training mode) or up to 9 days in watch mode
  • Useful audio prompts from your smartphone such as hearing your lap times
  • Big buttons make it easy to navigate the menu system rather than a using a touch screen

Garmin Forerunner 235 Negatives

  • Optical heart rate monitor can be a bit quirky at times but works best for long periods of running
  • No wireless connectivity to upload data

Specifications

Physical dimensions 1.77″ x 1.77″ x 0.46″ (45.0 x 45.0 x 11.7 mm)
Display size, WxH 1.2” (30.4 mm)
Display resolution, WxH 215 x 180 pixels
Color Display Yes
Weight 1.5 oz (42 g)
Battery Rechargeable lithium-ion
Battery life 11 hours training, 9 days watch + activity tracking + notifications + heart rate
Water rating 5 ATM
GPS-enabled Yes
GLONASS Yes
High-sensitivity receiver Yes
Smart notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone) Yes
Vibration alert Yes
Music control Yes
Watch functions Includes date and alarm
Running Features V02 max estimate, Recovery advisor, Race predictor, Accelerometer (calculates distance for indoor workouts, without need for a foot pod), Personal records
Cycling Features Bike speed/cadence sensor: Yes(optional)
Activity Tracking Features Step counter, Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal), Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it), Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)

What’s in the Box

  • Garmin Forerunner 235 watch
  • Charging/data cable
  • User manual

What Other People Say About the Garmin Forerunner 235
Best heart rate GPS fitness watch on the market now – “The FR235 is extremely lightweight. You’d find it hard to believe that the guys at Garmin managed to squeeze in vibration motor, accelerometer, GPS + GLONASS, audio and a decent rechargeable battery, all sealed to 5ATM water resistance.” By Mike

Love this Garmin! – “Very accurate in all aspects and very user friendly too.” By Jose De Leija 

It was worth buying it. Gps is locked directly – “It was worth buying it. Gps is locked directly; the heart rate monitor also and the sync with the phone is fast. If you are looking for running watch this item is what you are looking for.” By Client D

Video on Garmin Forerunner 235

Conclusion
The Garmin Forerunner 235 is one of the best GPS running watches available on the market today. If you’re looking for a watch that has GPS and the ability to track heart rate, then this watch is well worth the expense.

The heart rate isn’t perfect, but there are so many benefits to the watch that the small issues are outweighed. The watch is great at measuring distance and pace and provides many smart watch notifications that are easy to read. There are also a lot of running features that are usually only available on more advanced devices. It’s great value for all that you’re getting.

Where to Buy the Garmin Forerunner 235
At the time of writing, you can pick up the Garmin Forerunner 235 from $328.99 directly from Amazon, which includes free shipping. Alternatively, you can buy directly from Garmin.

Do you own the Garmin Forerunner 235? Share your comments or question with us below.