Garmin Forerunner 935XT is a smartwatch that sports GPS for professional athletes in subjects like jogging or triathlon, it will not be suitable for those who have simple needs such as running on a treadmill machine short time.
This is Forerunner 735XT’s successor, and the potential watch is upgraded for Forerunner 920XT users. The 935 watch also carries most of the features of the Fenix 5 in a slimmer design.
You are provided with sports tracking features, heart rate monitor installed inside the watch, and a variety of indicators for training and health recovery. The watch also has Connect IQ connectivity, along with smartwatch features such as message notifications and a long battery life that can help you train for a long time.
With a price of 415USD or 600 USD for a combination of 3 watches as above, it is not cheap at all. The price is on par with Fenix 5, higher than the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR and the Polar V800.
We experienced the Forerunner 935XT for a few weeks to give a detailed review below.
- Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music
- Sync music from select premium streaming services when paired with a compatible smartphone (may require premium subscription), or store up to 1,000 songs on your watch, and connect with headphones (sold separately) enabled with BLUETOOTH technology
- Performance monitoring features include VO2 max and training status with adjustments for heat, altitude acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects
- Garmin Pay contactless payment solution (available for supported cards from participating banks) lets you make convenient payments with your watch so you can leave your cash and cards at home
- Full color, onboard maps guide you on your run so you never get lost during your workout
- Safety and tracking features include incident detection (during select activities) which sends your real time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone
- Battery life: up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music or up to 60 hours in UltraTrac mode
Although there are quite a few features similar to the Fenix 5 line, Forerunner 935XT has an entirely different appearance. This may disappoint fans who love the beautiful and robust appearance of the Fenix 5’s metal design, but the 935XT’s design shortage will be “compensated” by Garmin at those points other.
The 935 is like other Forerunner watches, and the watch body is made of plastic, and the strap can be changed. This is a sporty watch, but not bulky with a large frame – which can also make this watch a favorite. Weighing about 49g and about 13.9mm thick, just a little larger than the 235, it’s impressive that Garmin can incorporate a lot of technology into such a small watch.
You may not need to remove the watch because it is quite comfortable to wear, just like you wear a regular watch, can also wear sleep to monitor sleep. This watch is waterproof at a depth of 50m.
The screen does not support “touch,” so you will use five mechanical buttons arranged around the clock face with functions marked on the thin case. 1.2-inch screen with 240 x 240 resolution is like the Fenix 5, with a backlight to support night workouts. With display characteristics for sports watches, the 935 has a robust design and a suitable size so you can check the data.
Behind the clock, you can find a charging port with an exclusive design and an optical heart rate sensor. It is worth noting that the sensor does not stand out as other Garmin watches with devices that support heart rate measurement.
As mentioned, many of the features and hardware of Fenix 5 are included in Forerunner 935XT. For sensors, there are GPS and GLONASS sets, compasses, gyroscope, accelerometer, and thermometer. Especially with barometric altimeter for monitoring and height guidance – not on 735XT.
The GPS operation meets the expectations you want, taking only a few seconds (less than 1 minute) to receive the signal. We compared TomTom Spark 3, 935 received faster performance in many attempts. When analyzing data, such as speed, altitude, the indexes are nearly the same.
GPS tracking: Forerunner 935 (left and center) and TomTom Spark 3 (right)
The modes of monitoring sports activities such as jogging, running on the machine, jogging indoors, indoor and outdoor cycling, swimming in the pool and the river, the sea, three sports combined all have enough. Also, you can monitor hiking, trailing, skiing, sailing, golfing.
We focused on jogging tracking support, but we have to acknowledge that Forerunner 935XT is also a perfect GPS cycling watch in our tests. Testing the swimming tracking feature with the Fenix 5, the results returned from the two observation watches are the same.
Regarding the jogging feature, you will get standard indicators like speed, distance, altitude. You can add more features when you invest in Garmin’s Running Dynamics Pod. This is a device that costs 69 USD like a clip on a belt of jogging equipment and measures the speed of the body to give data about vertical vibration, earthing time, length of stride leg and lactate threshold. These key indicators can replace data provided by Garmin chest belts. Even heart rate measurements can be performed from the wristwatch.
According to Garmin’s significant estimate here is to use sensors and tracking data to provide a new training feature. The elements in the Training Status are included in the levels of training and exercises to make sure you don’t exercise too much. Accordingly, you will know whether your training situation is improved, maintained, or peaked. We feel this feature is quite useful, with the status of advanced marathon training being well maintained when missing a few running sessions and not sleeping a few nights, immediately ineffectiveness will be shown Right away, and of course you have to make sure you get enough rest in the evening before your next practice.
The Training Effect uses the fluctuation of the heart rate to determine the number of points you gain in each exercise, be it effective or highly demanding. The data of 1 week of training will be transferred to the Load capacity of the Training Load to let you know if the weight of the exercise is suitable for you.
The watch has support for VO2 Max, with data collected in the exercise to predict the end time of lines running 5K, 10K, marathon or marathon races. We also tested the VO2 Max feature of a wide range of wearables with lab tests and found that Garmin’s indicators were the most approximate.
This prediction feature should also be used frequently for some exercises to become more efficient, and if you want to run long distance, you will need the data that is suitable for the long-distance prediction feature. All these features are too much for an athlete who is interested in indicators, but it is important that Garmin has a way to make the information displayed clearly and understandably, helping users understand the Good or bad impact from the exercises. These are also in-depth information to help runners improve their training programs.
Garmin Forerunner 935: Accuracy of heart rate measurement feature
Garmin is like Suunto and Polar, taking a long time to introduce the optical heart sensor feature, and the truth is that it’s hard to get accurate indicators from wristwatches. That’s why ANT + chest strap can be connected to Forerunner 935XT if you want to get high standards of data accuracy.
Garmin is still using Elevate heart rate measurement technology but has upgraded to version 2.0, with no hardware changes, just improved algorithms in the software to analyze, and ensure moderate data exactly both useful.
We tested Forerunner 935XT with Polar H10 chest belt, and the results showed a definite improvement compared to what we saw in previous Garmin lives. Below is a running session in hot conditions with high intensity. You can see the average heart rate and maximum heart rate only 1-2 beats per minute. The chart also shows that Forerunner 935XT’s optical heart rate sensor takes a little time to reduce the heart rate when you stop walking or start running again in the next exercise.
Accuracy of heart rate measurement: Forerunner 935 (left) and Polar H10 (center and right)
When you run on the computer, the chart also displays information similar to a steady heart rate, average heart rate, and maximum heart rate only one beat/minute for both devices.
Indoor heart rate monitor feature: Forerunner 935 (left) and Polar H10 (center and right)
What is clear here is that the improvement is made well when the terrain runs more stable, the indicators are quite similar to the chest belt. But if you follow the high intensity of exercise, we still choose the chest belt as the most standard and suitable device for the money. Anyway, this improvement is a step in the direction of Garmin.
Bringing features to track the performance of a Fitbit into a sports watch in most cases is often less focused. But now things have changed, now manufacturers including Garmin understand the critical value of providing 24/7 health monitoring.
The Forerunner 935 XT includes many different features: step counting, mileage tracking, number of floors you climb, plenty of time, sleep monitoring, and heart rate measurement day and night.
Although a lot of data is recorded, Garmin still does an excellent job of encouraging you to be active and active. Therefore daily goals are adjusted based on the previous day’s efforts, and the “Move” bar will be turned on if you are not active for too long.
Features are aggregated from the best Garmin devices, and they are well integrated into the Forerunner 935 XT experience. This is also a great tracking device installed inside a sports watch; one of the significant changes is Insights. Garmin’s software that analyzes data to identify trends, provide tips and advice. It also took some time for this feature to prove its usefulness, but it must be admitted now that training from digital coaches begins to provide some value, even if It’s just for sleep monitoring or counting your steps.
Garmin Forerunner 935: Message notification feature
We once praised Garmin for its unique approach to adding smartwatch features to its sports watch, and this hasn’t changed for Forerunner 935XT. You can control notifications when installing the Garmin Connect application after you are done, the operation will be easy and smooth.
Notifications of genuine and 3rd party apps also appear quickly and clearly on the watch just like for phones. In addition, there is a dedicated screen on the watch that acts as a notification tray if you miss messages or missed calls.
Most notifications can only be deleted, but you can also do more in some messages, such as redialing the phone number you just lost.
There are other smartwatch features that help you regardless of your phone: press the top, left buttons to access the music adjustment feature, phone search feature and the ability to remember locations, including the display, shows the calendar if you want to check the appointment.
If you compare Garmin’s smartwatch features with the same features of Polar, Suunto, and Tomtom, Garmin is still winning these items.
Garmin Forerunner 935: Garmin Connect application
You are using the watch to track Garmin activity or current sports watches, and the applications will have quite similar features. Garmin Connect is still installed in the smartphone and in the form of a web application, besides the user-friendly installation process has not changed much.
For those who are just starting to use, Garmin Connect feels a bit confusing by many data screens of additional settings and modes for you to customize and choose. Activity tracking data is aggregated in one screen with sections broken down for step count data and sleep time. With MyFitnessPal support, you can update your diet watch, continue scanning the screen to the left or right. You will see displays for jogging, swimming, cycling, and other subjects. If you want more specific parameters for each activity, Connect will meet your requirements well. But I still have the feeling that Garmin is quite similar to Polar and Suunto is still stuck in a world of web applications. Support applications for smartphones still need to improve the way they lead users through applications. Even a simple search bar will make installing apps less discoverable and never used.
Forerunner 935 XT is Garmin’s premium sports watch, supporting Connect IQ and not quite the same as Google Play or Apple app stores. Garmin is also improving, indeed applications in Connect IQ will be better and add features like smart home support.
Garmin Forerunner 935: Battery life
Forerunner 935 XT serves users with very long battery life, according to Garmin it can operate 24 hours with GPS mode or 60 hours with UltraTrac battery saving mode. If you only use the watch function, you can use it for two weeks without charge.
Even if you open message notifications, keep track of daily activities, and follow regular jogs (5-6 times/week), the clock can be used for ten days. When the clock starts running out of battery for 3 hours of running, it automatically stores the tracked data before it is completely turned off. When the battery message weakened during the run, I was worried that the watch could not last for up to 20 minutes, but I had to praise the effort Garmin had made when the watch was still working correctly.
It takes a few hours to charge, this is not the fastest charger, but it is also the standard time for charging of Garmin watches.