How does Garmin Forerunner 235 perform? Pros and cons.


This time we’ve got something for runners. James sent us a letter in which he describes his experience using Garmin Forerunner 235. How does it perform and can you consider it a good purchase? We invite you to read his review.

Hi my name is James. I’ve been running every day for the past few years. What matters to me during a workout is knowing what my heart rate is and what distance I have run. That’s what I had my special watch for. At first it was enough. But after some time I wanted something more. I dreamed of a watch that not only would measure my heart rate without a special strap but also would simply look nice on my wrist during my daily activities. As an Easter gift from my wife I got a Garmin Forerunner 235. I put it to a test and I’d love to share my observations with you.

Unboxing of the watch

As I mentioned before, I got this gift from my wife. Right after the breakfast I decided to check it out. After unboxing I saw a really stylish watch. Exactly what I had dreamed about! The box also included a user manual, but the information contained inside was pretty brief. The last element was the cable used for charging and data transfer.

Turning on for the first time

Without further ado, I decided to turn on the watch. When it turned on I initially thought that I was faced with a disappointment. After entering the options menu, all the information shown on the display looked dim and blurry. It got me a little concerned, because it could make the info hard to read during a workout.

Extra functions

I downloaded the full manual from the manufacturer’s website. From reading it I learned that after synchronizing my watch with an account on the Garmina website I can download all the different widgets, apps and screens. Another interesting feature I found was pairing the watch with your phone over Bluetooth. By implementing that, my Garmin Forerunner 235 can display all the information about the incoming calls, messages or notifications. Such connection also lets us control the music player with our watch.

The next step was installing the Garmin Connect app on my phone which, thanks to synchronizing with the watch, would record all of my activity. The last thing I read was that the watch monitors my activity all the time. Thanks to that, we can check the number of steps, the pace, calories burned and also hours of sleep.

This watch features continuous heart rate measurement and displaying the resting heart rate, the lowest and highest rate within the last four hours and a chart of said heart rate under the current time on the watch’s main dial.

All those functions looked really promising to me. But I still couldn’t stop thinking about that display. Because what’s the use of all those options when you can barely see anything on the display.

Another neat thing is being able to charge the watch with the cable without taking it off. That really is a very useful function, not present in other watches.

First workout

My concerns about visibility turned out to be unfounded in the end. After leaving the house and starting to run the display gained more contrast and all the information was clearly visible. Perfect- I thought. During the workout I was wearing both watches to see how exact the measurements were. I selected run on my Garmin Forerunner 235 and started my workout. Here’s where I found another interesting feature of my device. It turned out that the watch can detect the peak oxygen uptake. My workout lasted for about two hours. In that time, it really did display notifications about received messages. When I was finished the dial displayed information on when Garmin thought I should have another intense workout. That’s not really that necessary but it can help beginners plan their workouts.

Analysing the results

After returning home I decided to compare the results between the both watches.  From what I’ve noticed, when the pace wasn’t too high, Garmin Forerunner 235 would go crazy when measuring the heart rate. When I picked up the pace the result seemed much more plausible. When it comes to distance, the difference between the both watches was 100m which isn’t that much.

Workout no. 2

Two days later I decided to run some more tests. Cardio workout is a great way to test the watch. I did it as usual, without any unplanned breaks. After getting back home came the time for another analysis of the results. And once again, Garmin Forerunner 235 made some errors. Heart rate could jump to way below the average for few moments.

Is Garmin Forerunner worth its money?

Garmin Forerunner 235 really does have a lot of pros. It’s very comfortable to wear, it has a lot of interesting functions such as displaying notifications about new messages, or controling the music on your smartphone which really felt very intuitive. Despite the initial problems with the display it turned out to be very functional. Unfortunately, this device also has a lot of cons. I know I got it as a gift but I just couldn’t help it and looked up its price. 370 euro is not exactly a small price for a watch like this. Not to mention the heart rate results leave much to be desired. Still, I am very happy to have become an owner of a Garmin Forerunner 235. I’d say that the huge amount of functions it offers and the multitude of available options easily make up for its flaws. It is possible that after a software update heart rate will be measured more accurately. In the end, investing in this device is a really good decision.




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