- Heart rate monitor
- Similar to an apple watch in shape
- Online Connectivity - alerts flow through from your phone to the watch
- Steps counter and movement reminder
- Various sport profiles available
Reviewer: Gill Bland
The Garmin Forerunner 35 looks good enough to wear all the time and is small enough for a female wrist. It fulfils the fitness tracker, smart watch and proper running watch brief to a good level. It's not really really powerful as a training tool if you want complicated intervals and loads of mid-run feedback but has a lot of good features and is very reliable and easy to use.
It's more pleasing to the eye than normal GPS watches. It looks good enough to wear all day and doesn’t scream ‘running watch’.
The heart rate monitor is much more reliable than other wrist-based ones I’ve tried - even the most vigorous interval session. The GPS was also reliable. The battery life was excellent - I only had to charge it once a week and it charged very quickly. I was surprised at the lack of instruction manual but it proved to be very easy to use.
The lap programming was good and I particularly liked the variable WU and CD option. However, you can only have the same rep each time so if you're alternating times it's no use. The social media and online pairing was a great added bonus and again meant I wanted to wear the watch all day. However, this was one area where a manual would have helped. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t and I couldn’t work out how to read messages after they had initially flashed up.
Areas for improvement
You can’t change setting once you’ve started a workout. Sometimes I’d begin running and then realise I wanted AutoLap on but I couldn’t change the setting without stopping the workout and starting again.
It seems that there's only 1K or 1 mile autolap options available. While the watch found the satellites fairly quickly I did miss the Assisted GPS option of my previous watch where you could use your phone to get it locked on before you left the building.
It would have been nice to be able to set different time / distance laps and recoveries rather than having to have the same thing for each lap. It seemed a waste to only have one field on the second screen.
It's a good watch, easy to use and nice to look at. There's room for improvement but it's above base level and give you everything you need for solid and varied training. I would buy this. However, if you're looking for a more powerful watch it's worth trying out the Garmin VivoActive HR. Mr Bland got one for Christmas and really likes it.
Reviewer: Alice Sinclair
The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a light, slim running watch with all-day activity tracking and in-built GPS and heart rate monitor, meaning that you no longer have to wear a chest strap.
For the weeks that I’ve had the Garmin Forerunner 35, I’ve barely taken it off my wrist. It’s been a massive step up in terms of wearability from my last running watch, and its sleek design and comfortable fit means that I’m as happy wearing it day to day as I am out running or on a bike.
The wrist-based heart rate monitor is its big selling point and at £169.99, a competitive price for a watch that also serves up GPS and all-day activity tracking. While the convenience of this HR monitor over a chest strap can’t be denied, the technology still has a little way to go to be as accurate. But, if you don’t need the statistics to be absolutely bang on, this watch is a great starting point to tailor your workouts around heart rate.
The watch has 5 activity settings - Outdoor Run, Indoor Run, Bike, Cardio and Walk - and these are easy to start and the various real-time data then simple to access while on the move. You can also change which statistics show up on the two available screens – for example, you might prefer to see your cadence instead of calories burned. And once you’re finished running or cycling, it’s easy to upload your data not only to the Garmin app, but to Strava or Nike Plus, if they’re your preferred way of keeping track.
The battery lasts for a good length of time, and recharges quickly, and although I didn’t test it on any ultra- distances, I have no doubt it would hold up.
Areas for improvement
My one main gripe about the Forerunner 35 would be its pretensions to being a smart watch. It offers notifications from your phone, so that you can be alerted to messages or calls, but without any sort of granularity. You can choose between getting phone calls or messages, but this latter option means you’ll be notified about every email, Facebook notification and Instagram alert, too, which is unnecessary.
If you’re after a running or cycling watch that’s slim enough to wear all day, then the Garmin Forerunner is a good choice. With inbuilt activity tracking it gets you moving even when you’re not running, while when you are out training it has the heart rate monitor and real-time data feeding back on what you’re achieving. It doesn’t have the detailed bells and whistles of a smart watch, but then it doesn’t carry the same price tag, either.