Garmin Forerunner 235 Review: Why It's Still the Go-To Watch for Runners

February 12, 2024

For those who know me, it is certainly out of character for me to not buy a new gadget for "insert made up logic so justify my purchase here". I have come up with some crackers over the years, but not every purchase turned out to be useful. Take my Oculus Quest 2 (which is looking for a new home...) for example. Call it cabin fever during covid, call it a geek wanting a new toy, but whatever way you package it, I was able to justify it!

And then, out of no where, a watch breaks the mould. Of all gadgets, this is the one I should want to change most often. I have the ever reliable, ever accurate Garmin Forerunner 235. I will admit, it was a present from my wife as a follow on from the Garmin Forerunner 25. Whatever it is about this watch I've nearly had for 4 or 5 years, it just seems to do the job I want, and do it very well. 

I won't lie, I have been temped by every iteration of Garmin Forerunner since the 235, from the Forerunner 245, the Forerunner 255, to the Forerunner 265, but I keep asking myself, are they really doing enough to have me part with both money, and a perfectly good watch? For me, the questions being asked of the Forerunner 235 have been answered with easy. Sure, there are bells and whistles it doesn't have, but realistically, we're all going to be looking up our runs on Strava after, so once the medium of data capture is working well, should we really care about what these bells and whistles can do?

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a popular watch for runners, and has managed to remain a favourite among runners and fitness enthusiasts despite the release of newer models and competitors. Its continued popularity can be attributed to its reliable performance, user-friendly interface, and robust feature set that caters to a wide range of fitness activities beyond just running. Here's a comprehensive review of the Garmin Forerunner 235, highlighting why it is still considered a great watch.

Features and Functionality

  • Activity Tracking: Beyond running, the Forerunner 235 tracks a variety of activities such as cycling, walking, and indoor workouts, offering versatility for different fitness routines.
  • Smart Notifications: It connects to your smartphone to display notifications for calls, texts, and other alerts, ensuring you stay connected without needing to pull out your phone during a workout.
  • Customizable Watch Faces and Apps: Through the Garmin Connect IQ store, users can download custom watch faces, widgets, and apps to personalize their watch experience.
  • Training Tools: The watch includes advanced training features like VO2 max estimate, a recovery advisor, and race predictor, which are valuable for serious runners looking to improve their performance.
  • Battery Life: The Forerunner 235 boasts a solid battery life, lasting up to 9 days in watch mode and 11 hours in GPS mode with the heart rate monitor activated.

Why It's Still Great

Despite being on the market for a while, the Garmin Forerunner 235 remains a great choice due to its reliability, ease of use, and comprehensive feature set. It strikes a balance between advanced fitness tracking capabilities and everyday smartwatch functionalities, making it suitable for both serious athletes and casual users. 

We know for many runners, getting going with the right tech and gadgets can be pricey at the best of times. When looking at new watches as you're starting out, it may be a good idea to spend €149 on a solid watch for a few years instead of spending €499 on the latest version, and not to be placing pressure on yourself to perform. To find a watch at that price, have a look at Amazon - HERE

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