If you’re looking for a running watch or a multi-sport watch, chances are you’ve encountered Garmin’s wide range of selections. With a sheer number of fitness-focused wearables available from the American tech company, it can be quite difficult to narrow down your final choice. Luckily, we’ve compiled three of Garmin’s best smartwatches for your perusal: The Forerunner 35, 645, and 935. All three boast stellar navigation and battery life, so just read the specifics to find out which one suits your needs and budget best. Save as much as $149 when you get them on Amazon today.
Let’s start with the most affordable of the three, the Forerunner 35. This budget-friendly smartwatch doesn’t cost much, and it’s near-perfect for runners. It’s rugged, handsome, easy to use, and most importantly, boasts a good set of features that make it a genuine bargain purchase. The Forerunner 35 is slim and lightweight and has a squarish design similar to an Apple Watch (Garmin watches are normally round). On its right side are two buttons: One for navigating through the menu items and one for selecting your workout. Its monochromatic display is bright and crisp and doesn’t fog up when you exercise, but it’s not a touchscreen. This watch is water-resistant to depths of up to 130 feet which makes it OK for swimming but not for scuba diving.
The Forerunner 35 has a built-in GPS that tracks how far, how fast, and where you run. The all-day activity tracking counts your steps, calories burned, distance covered, and sleep time. It features the Garmin Elevate wrist heart rate technology, a 24/7 heart rate monitor that observes your pulse while you work out and when you sleep. You can sync the Forerunner 35 with your smartphone for it to receive smart notifications, and it’s also capable of music control. It doesn’t have onboard music storage, though, so it needs your smartphone nearby for you to listen to your music. This fitness watch also has a Move alert: If it notices that you’ve been sitting for a long time, it will lightly vibrate and tell you to take a 5-minute walk.
This fitness watch automatically uploads your workout stats on the Garmin Connect app, a free online fitness community where you can check your progress and fitness milestones and share them through social media. If there’s a major drawback to the Forerunner 35, it’s that it only keeps track of running and cycling exercises. Plus, it only syncs with your smartphone via Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi. Still, for only $110, which is $60 less than its normal retail price of $170, Amazon’s deal on the Forerunner 35 is pretty sweet, as long as you view it primarily as a running watch.
Much like the Forerunner 35, the Forerunner 645 is designed primarily for runners, although it’s capable of doing so much more. It is rugged and has a sporty appearance, with a stainless-steel bezel surrounding a chemically strengthened glass crystal watch face. Like the Forerunner 35, this watch doesn’t have a touchscreen. Instead, you’ll find five physical buttons around it. Going through the watch’s interface is quite easy, though, and there are a few handy secondary button shortcuts for quicker navigation.
The Forerunner 645 is packed with sensors. It comes with a built-in GPS, GLONASS, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, barometric altimeter, and a heart-rate monitor. Basically, there’s not much that this watch can’t do. This version also comes with onboard music storage so you can leave your phone in your bag while you sweat it out on the track or treadmill.
This watch is a runner’s dream. While cycling or running, it knows exactly when you stop and will automatically pause the GPS so it won’t mess up your metrics. Aside from the usual speed and distance, you also get numbers on stride length, cadence, vertical ratio, ground contact time, and balance. All this data can be overwhelming but thankfully the Garmin Connect app presents all the information clearly, so you’ll be able to make perfect sense out of it. The watch will also inform you if you’re working out not nearly enough, too much, or just the right amount. At the end of each exercise, it will spit out readings and suggestions to keep you more invested in your fitness journey.
In terms of smart features, the Forerunner 645 allows you to read and respond to text messages and notifies you of social media updates and emails. Everything is easy to read even with direct sunlight thanks to its Chroma Display. You can also customize the watch face, widgets, and featured apps to your liking. The Forerunner 645 normally costs $450, but with Amazon’s deal, you’ll get a massive $149 worth of savings, cutting the price down to $301. What’s more, you can get an additional $50 off upon approval for the Amazon Rewards Visa Card, bringing the price even lower to $251.
The most feature-packed (and expensive) wearable on this list is the Forerunner 935. It is smaller and more subdued-looking than most of Garmin’s smartwatches. From its size alone, it’s hard to believe that is has a built-in optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, and thermometer. It also connects to smartphones via Bluetooth, external sensors via ANT+, and networks via Wi-Fi. It may not look chunky enough to hold that much tech inside it – but it does!
This watch includes loads of preconfigured apps for tracking a range of sports (not just running), including road cycling, mountain biking, walking, hiking, swimming, snowboarding, skiing, stand-up paddling, rowing, and even golf. All your fitness metrics get stored and are presented neatly and comprehensively on the Garmin Connect app, where you can create training programs as well. It also covers lots of daily fitness metrics like steps tracking, calories burned, floors climbed, intensity minutes, distance traveled, sleep time and quality, and 24/7 heart rate monitoring. You can receive notifications for calls, texts, and calendar alerts, real-time weather updates, and music playback control. This watch also allows you to answer a call, locate a lost phone, and remotely control a Garmin Virb action camera.
The Forerunner 935’s interface is smartly laid out and is very easy to navigate. The Forerunner 935 also includes a Live Tracking feature that lets you share location, speed, and performance metrics with friends and family live via a web page. It’s a great way for loved ones to keep tabs on you while you train.
If there’s one issue that we found with this watch, it’s that its swim tracking is not the most precise. When we did some laps in a 50-meter pool, the watch seemed to get confused and often leaped ahead a lap or two, tracking hundreds of meters when in fact we’ve just been swimming for a few minutes. But overall, we’re nitpicking, as this is a superb smartwatch that we wholeheartedly recommend.
Get the Garmin Forerunner 935 for $360 on Amazon, a whopping $140 less than its normal retail price of $500. And if you order via the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and get approval, you can get an additional $50 off instantly, reducing the price even further to $310.
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