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Garmin Forerunner 35 Review

Updated on February 7, 2017
Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS watch
Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS watch

About a month and a half ago, I was looking into running watches.The Garmin Forerunner 35 and 235 were both high on my list, as well as an Apple iWatch. There was also a Polar watch that I was (and still am) interested in, but unfortunately, it was not available in China. As of this date of writing, the Polar M200 is still unavailable in mainland China.

If you want the full video review, check my video on Youtube!

Why a Running Watch?

And why one with a wrist-based HR sensor?

I have been using my phone to track my runs for the past two years. Along with the Nike Run app,my iPhone helped me train for my first half-marathon. This year, though, I was just getting sick of using it.

It started to get too inconvinient. If I went out with a full charge, my iPhone battery would be down below 50% or lower after a 10k run. GPS wouldn't work half the time. The auto-pause function of the Nike Run app would not pause while waiting for a stoplight... not to mention the inconvenience of carrying it around.

The final straw was when I was on a 14k. My phone auto-paused my run while at a stop light, but never started back up after I continued running.

So I decided to look at some running watches. I also decided to find one with a wrist-based heart rate sensor, since it does track calories better than a watch without one, and I didn't want to buy a separate HR chest strap.

Which running watch would you consider?

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Garmin Forerunner 35, 235, or iWatch?

I agonized over this decision.

One thing I have to say about the iWatch, it's pretty. I really like the way it looks, especially that white ceramic version (too damned expensive though). I was close to pulling the trigger on a Nike version of the iWatch, but a couple things always held me back.

First, my experience using the Nike Run app in the past. Now, I don't know if the app works better on the watch or not, but I didn't want to make an expensive mistake. I didn't want to buy an iWatch and run with it, only to be disappointed by its ability to track my runs accurately.

Second, I don't normally wear watches everyday. I don't like how they feel on my wrist, so I couldn't see forcing myself to wear a watch just because it's an Apple product that I paid good money for.

So it came down to the Garmin Forerunner 35 and 235.

Why I chose the Forerunner 35

Quite frankly it came down to two things: price and features.

I looked at both watches for a while in person. I couldn't try them out in the store, other than play around with the buttons and the screen.

The 235 has a nice color touch screen that was easy to use. I certainly liked that the best about the 235.

However, I wasn't quite sold on the idea of getting the 235 over the 35. While it had a nice touchscreen, the only other thing that stood out to me was the fact that you could track your VO2. That's interesting, but certainly not something I would use on a scientific basis.

Furthermore, the 35 is cheaper than the 235. About 40% cheaper! And don't forget, the iWatch is even more expensive, so the 35 is a bit more than 50% cheaper than the iWatch.

Garmin Forerunner 35 heartbeat sensor
Garmin Forerunner 35 heartbeat sensor

The Forerunner 35 tracks cadence, pace, distance, time, calories burned, and your heart rate. If you're into numbers, you'll get plenty of them. No, the wrist-based heart rate sensor isn't going to be as accurate as a chest-strap (it's spiky during intervals) but it's good enough for us normal runners.

You can also run indoors on a treadmill with it. I recommend that you get a foot-pod if you do intend to run on a treadmill more often, since it will track your treadmill runs more accurately.

I've also used this watch for cycling, although I don't have any cadence or power meters paired with it. It does a good enough job without them.

Finally, the 35 can track your daily activities and sleep schedule. I personally don't use the watch for this, since I rarely wear a watch during my normal every-day routine.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Garmin Forerunner 235
Garmin Forerunner 235 | Source

The 235 is a good watch, no doubt. However, it is nearly 50% more expensive than the 35, unless it's on sale.

If you are a triathlete, or if you are looking for a watch to track your swimming, then the 235 may be a better choice for you. It does track both swimming and cycling, although the wrist-based HR sensor won't work in water.

If you're just a runner like me though, stick with the Forerunner 35. It's a better buy, has everything you need, and should last for your long marathons.

Check out my video review on Youtube!

If you still haven't checked it out yet, take a look at my video review. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me down below :)

Also, if you decide to buy a Garmin, please check out my amazon store or click on my affiliate link. I make it no secret that I try to make a living online, so any purchase you make through my affiliate links or amazon store will help support me.

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