Garmin Forerunner 35 Review
This fitness watch isn’t very innovative but still provides a solid performance.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Good connectivity
- Decent battery life
- Anti-laziness feature
- Controls aren’t very slick
- Heart monitor isn’t accurate
Fitness watches can be excellent assets for your exercise routine. They can track your activity, help you set and meet exercise metrics for your fitness growth, and let you control your other mobile devices without filling your hands with a phone.
In our Garmin Forerunner 35 review, we’ll take a look at what makes this watch tick and see if it’s suitable for beginner and expert fitness enthusiasts alike.
As opposed to the standard circular watch design you’ll find from most other manufacturers, this watch has a squarer shape that is reminiscent of Apple products. It features a flexible band that you can get in black, lime green, light blue, or white colors.
The bands seem a little cheap and easy to break. You can replace broken bands and fit new ones on yourself, but we’d like to see something more durable than have to perform repairs in the first place.
However, the bands are pretty comfortable and aren’t liable to slip or slide even as your wrist becomes sweaty from your workout. The Forerunner 35 as a whole also isn’t very heavy or cumbersome. It won’t feel bulky on your wrist and throw off your balance during a run.
It features two buttons on the right-hand side of the display and a single button on the left. The right buttons control the menu and workout routines while the left turns on the watch backlight and functions as the “back” command.
This menu navigation scheme is a little frustrating since you can only go down before cycling back to the top of any given menu.
The Forerunner 35 display is about 0.93 inches large, with a 128 x 128-pixel display. This is enough room for reading key information at a glance, but its main value comes with how bright it is. The color and light levels are good enough for easy reading even in bright daylight.
The watch is water-resistant to about 130 feet, like the competing TomTom Spark 3. This makes it a great watch to wear even if you spend time around the pool or go to a water park, but we wouldn’t recommend it for ocean diving.
The watch can track several activities: biking, running both indoors and outdoors, and walking. This limited list of trackable activities limits this watch to certain exercise enthusiasts, and it’s unfortunate that it doesn’t track your swimming stats, especially since it’s water-resistant.
However, within these activities, the Forerunner 35 can keep an eye on your calories burned, active time, and how many steps you want. This deep dive into your fitness routines can be great if you don’t do anything other than the above exercises. You can also set your own training metrics to motivate you during your workouts.
The Forerunner 35 comes preloaded with various sports profiles if you’d rather not design your own workout metrics. These are selected via the main menu but aren’t very in-depth. Still, it’s a good feature for beginners.
It tracks your movements with GPS integrated tech. It takes a few minutes for the GPS functionality to begin, however. Keep this in mind and don’t try to start the tracking function right before you walk out the door. Once activated, the GPS functionality is accurate and snappy.
The watch can also track your heart rate without the use of a chest strap. However, it’s not particularly steady and it might jump between high or low values as it detects them. All in all, we’ve seen better heart rate monitors from other fitness watches.
The Forerunner 35 can also receive notifications from your smartphone. This includes the ability to reject phone calls with a single button push. This is accomplished through the included Bluetooth connectivity that mixes well with the Garmin Connect app.
Connectivity with the watch is usually quite snappy and stable. We didn’t find any big dead zones or periods of connectivity issues when we gave the watch a spin.
For the lazier among us, the Forerunner 35 will buzz at your wrist if it detects that you’ve been sitting for too long. This “Move” alert shows up as a bar at the bottom of the display that continues to grow until you get some exercise in. It’s a subtle but effective way of reminding us to stay away from sedentary lifestyles.
The Forerunner 35 lasts up to nine days with a full battery provided that you don’t initialize the GPS functionality. Once you begin using the included workout programs and routines, the battery provides enough juice to last for about 13 hours.
The GPS uses even more battery life, and more quickly. You’ll likely run through the entire battery after just five or six hours with GPS tracking enabled. This isn’t too bad provided that you remember to charge the watch after each GPS use.
Charging is accomplished with a clip-on USB cable. This is easy to carry on the go so we’d recommend taking it with you on your longer runs so you can charge up at a café or rest stop.
Overall, we’d rank the Forerunner 35 as acceptable but not phenomenal. It does what it’s designed to do for an affordable asking price and delivers a standard performance for its various features with the exception of the heartbeat monitor. Its GPS connectivity is decent, and its display is suitably vibrant and easy to read. We’d easily recommend this watch for those looking for a fitness watch without wanting to break the bank.
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