Garmin has come out with a handful of premium GPS running watches for us athletes out there. It can be tough to narrow down which one is the best for you and your activities! Here is the breakdown of three competitive watches within the Garmin family.
GARMIN FORERUNNER 235
The Forerunner 235 is a gold standard GPS running watch. While running, it will track your distance, time, pace, and heart rate. It will also be your every-day activity tracker, tracking your heart rate 24/7 through its wrist based sensor, so no need for a chest strap. It will show you your steps while giving you an auto step goal, monitor your sleep, show calories burned for the day and distance traveled.
With a full color screen, and customizable watch faces, the Forerunner 235 will allow you to download workouts and training plans from the Garmin connect app. Through Bluetooth, it will automatically connect to your phone and sync your workouts. Activity settings give you the option to track a run, bike, or indoor bike/run workout with it’s built in accelerometer. Battery life ranges from 9 days in smartwatch mode and up to 11 hours in GPS mode. Training features include a Vo2 max estimate and recovery advisor.
Aesthetically, the screen is chemically strengthened glass, and weighs in a 42g with a 31.1mm diameter. You can interchange the bands as well (not quick fit), and choose from a black, turquoise, or black/red initial design.
GARMIN FORERUNNER 645 MUSIC GPS RUNNING WATCHES
This is Garmin’s most recent GPS running watch innovation, being the first of its kind to have on-board music storage that you can listen to with wireless Bluetooth headphones. You can store up to 500 songs or stream from Spotify, iHeart radio and Apple music. Garmin Pay has been introduced as well, so if you want to get coffee or an energy gel during or after your run you are able to do so with contactless payments.
This will do everything that the 235 does including being every your day activity tracker, counting steps, monitor sleep, distance traveled, calories burned, all with 24/7 wrist based heart rate. But this one adds stress tracking, floors climbed, and a “breathe option.”
It takes training features a bit further as well. When you use a running dynamics pod, you are able to see your ground contact time, stride length, and vertical ratio. After a run, the 645 (and also 235) will tell you your Vo2 max, race prediction times, and give a recovery advisor time.
Training status is where the 645 is advantageous. Training status will let you know what your fitness level is, whether you are detraining, overtraining, peaking, or maintaining. Along with your status, you can also see if your training load, measuring your exercise volume from the last 7 days. You will have the option to not only outdoor/indoor bike or run like the 235, but also indoor swim, hike, trail run, ski, snowboard, do yoga and lift weights (along with just about every other activity you could think of!)
Aesthetically, the 645 is protected with corning gorilla glass 3 and looks a little less like a sport watch with a stainless steel bezel (options for slate, rose gold, and silver bezels). Bands include a variety of options that are quick fit so you can switch them out easily. It has a smaller face than the 235, at a 31.4mm diameter and weighs in at 42g. The battery life is a little less, with smartwatch mode ranging up to 7 days, GPS mode with music up to 5 hours, and without music up to 14 hours.
GARMIN FORERUNNER 935 GPS RUNNING WATCHES
The 935 is Garmin’s dedicated triathlon watch. Released in 2017, It will do everything that the 645 will do as far as training status metrics are concerned, but without the option for music entertainment or Garmin Pay. However, open water swimming and its lightweight, simple profile are intriguing for those triathlon athletes out there.
A fantastic multisport watch in all aspects, it will also be your everyday activity tracker, identical to the 235 and 645. Battery life is a bit better, with smartwatch mode up to 2 weeks, GPS mode up to 24 hours, and UltraTrac mode up to 60 hours without wrist based HR. It does have a more simple look, coming in all black or neon band option for the triathlon bundle (comes with chest HR monitor and swim HR monitor), and a larger display of 47 x 47 x 39.9mm. It works with the running dynamics pod just like the 645, tells you training status, recovery advisory, race prediction, anaerobic and aerobic workout analyzation just the same.
The advantage of the 935 would be overall battery life, so you can finish your triathlon or ironman without the concern of a dead watch! The 935 is for the person that really just wants to train without any distractions (no music or pay), and simply focus on their sport.
SO WHAT ARE THE BEST GPS RUNNING WATCHES?
Garmin has a lot of GPS running watches out there to chose from. The 235, 645 and 935 are top contenders for choice. What it comes down to is: what do you want to get out of your watch?
Are you a serious triathlete that needs battery life and a simple design to get the workout done? Do you want feedback on how your training is going? If you may need to take it easy or ramp up your mileage? Then maybe go with the 935 or 645.
Do you want a simpler watch with fewer sport options to simply get that run done and want a lower price point? Then the 235 is for you!
Do you want music when you run and a pretty rose gold bezel? Then the 645 might be your choice.
Whatever decision you make you can be sure that any of these watches will be a great companion that you will hopefully get great results with and run/bike/swim many happy miles with whatever kind of athlete you are.