Over the years I’ve written a few fitness posts, including some personal reviews of different fitness trackers ranging from Fitbit to the Apple Watch. My family has been into fitness for a while now and we’ve used a number of fitness trackers. Our Fitbit lineup includes: Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Charge HR, and the Fitbit Surge. After the Fitbit, we went to the original Apple Watch, then recently upgraded to the Apple Watch Series 2. A few months ago, I decided I wanted to start training for a triathlon in 2018. My usual nerdy self, I started reading as much about it as I could and one of the first things I realized is that none of these smartwatches were really built for a triathlon. I’ve been happy with my Apple Watch Series 2, but once I started reading about the Garmin Forerunner 935 and all of the stats it could provide, I was hooked, so I went ahead and ordered it on Amazon.
Garmin has a huge number of fitness smartwatches on the market, so it is important to decide which one is right for you. DC Rainmaker has put together a handy Comparison Calculator to help narrow down based on your needs. His website offers some great in-depth reviews as well. At this level, Garmin has the Garmin Fenix 5 and the Forerunner 935. The 935 is a little cheaper since it has a plastic casing, which also makes it lighter (about half the weight) but has all of the same features.
The Garmin Forerunner 935 has awesome battery life of 24 hours in GPS mode. This means you can wear it 24/7 and only charge it once or twice per week depending on your usage. It is one of the few watches that support mutli-sport mode such as a Duathlon and Triathlon. This allows you to add multiple activities (swim, bike, run, etc) and have them tied together into one main activity and track things such as transition time. Being able to wear the watch 24/7 also means that it can track your sleep habits and it does a pretty good job at it. Based on your movements, you’ll be able to see how much sleep you got total and how much of it was deep or light sleep as well as how much time it thought you were awake.
Since there’s no touchscreen like the Apple Watch, you have to navigate through menus using the buttons. This isn’t bad once you get used to it and adding a touchscreen would probably shorten the battery life, not to mention a touchscreen is hard to use with wet hands if you’re doing a triathlon.
There’s also no support for music on the Garmin Forerunner 935. Garmin has announced the Garmin Forerunner 645M which supports music and some other features, but the battery life with GPS on is only 5 hours.
You can load third party apps using the Garmin Connect IQ Store which gives the watch endless possibilities. It also supports Garmin Segments and even Strava Segments, although it is either/or, you can use both.
You can also swim with the Garmin Forerunner 935 and it does a decent job of tracking your swim and giving you stats like SWOLF, strokes per lap, pace, etc. So far, I have found that GPS tracking during an open water swim isn’t very accurate, but hopefully that’ll get better with future updates.
If you’re wearing the watch 24/7, I suggest taking it off and running it under water every night. Some people have reported rashes after wearing it for extended periods of time, which seems to be a common thing for fitness watches. I also rotate wrists at night. I’ll wear it on my left wrist during the day and my right wrist while I sleep.