When looking back through my Amazon order history, it occurred to me that I had purchased the Garmin Forerunner 235  running watch almost 4 years ago. At this point I should point out that the reason I was looking at running watches was that I am currently toying with the idea of buying the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro  so that I can keep up with my running buddy (metaphorically speaking). Anyway, with a 4 year relationship that’s still going strong, here is our honest and unbiased Garmin Forerunner 235 review .

Check Out the Latest Model – The 245

Before reading on, it is worth pointing out that this model has been superseded by the Garmin Forerunner 245 

This upgraded model provide evaluates your current training status and will indicate if you’re under training or overdoing it as well as offering additional performance monitoring features including including ground contact time balance and vertical ratio. It’s also a little sleeker looking than it’s predecessor looking more like a watch you can wear every day. While the 235 is still available to purchase, you may want to consider the 245 instead. 

Garmin forerunner 245

Our Honest Garmin Forerunner 235 Review

The truth of the matter is, however much I want the Fenix, until my reliable 235 gives up the ghost, I cannot justify the purchase. Every time I go for a run, I wonder if this will be the day my watch lets me down. The trouble is, it doesn’t appear to show any signs of doing so. My little glimmer of hope was when it wouldn’t charge a couple of months back. I thought this was finally the day I could order my shiny new Fenix. That was just a case of replacing the charger though!

Garmin forerunner 235

Anyway, I shouldn’t be complaining, if I didn’t want the Fenix 6 so much I would be moaning if it was letting me down. So, I got to thinking about this trusted companion of mine, the one constant in all of my runs since march 2017 and how well it has served me.

It Rarely Runs out of Battery

I have run a fair few marathons, or covered the distance numerous time,s to finish with the battery life still on half power – I can run a road marathon in between 3:45 – 4 hours to put that into context. While in training for past road marathons the watch would see me through my recovery run, my speed rep sessions, a middle distance run and my Sunday long run as well has being connected to my phone and notifying me of my alerts all week. In fact, the only time it has ever not performed as I wanted was 12 hours into an ultra!

It’s Sturdy and Resilient

I have fallen over, scraped my arm, done kettlebell classes and all sorts wearing this watch and it never seems to sustain even a tiny scratch. I have worn out the watch strap which was easy to replace but the watch itself is extremely robust.

The functionality of the watch is superb too. As soon as I finish my run, it uploads via Bluetooth to my Garmin Connect account and then to Strava. It tells me all my stats from my run and (unless Garmin is playing up) it has never failed me.

A Wealth of Features

Elevation, distance, lap time, heart rate, pace… all of these things are available on the various screens within the watch. I believe that there are also features that I haven’t tried. Only the other day one of my running buddies pointed out that you could set up your speed sessions to include your rest periods. I really need to pay more attention to what it can do (especially as a coach).

It will tell you when you are going faster than you want, when you are going slower (great if you want to pace races) and tell you the heart rate zone you are running in (if you are into that sort of thing). The trouble is, these days all I really want from a watch is distance, elevation and which way to go (did I mention I really want the Fenix?)

And now for what it doesn’t do….

It’s Not a Watch for Ultra-Distance

So, as good as this watch is, our Garmin Forerunner 235 review wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t tell you its pitfalls. For a start, if you plan on being on your feet for more than 11 hours then this is not the watch for you. Hence why I really want a new Fenix 6 (have I mentioned that?). When I started getting into the ultra marathon distance, the 235 was great for 30 miles. It could cope with 5-6 hours on your feet off road and still have a bit of life left over. Moving to longer distances of 45 plus, and tougher terrain when you are your feet for 12 hours, and it doesn’t last the distance (I am not sure I do either but I give it a go).

It Doesn’t Navigate

It will tell you where you have been but it won’t tell you where to go and this, for an off road runner is high on the list of requirements for a GPS running watch. Self-nav races are becoming more common for us and that feature of being able pre-load routes and track back if you go wrong, is really useful.

It’s no Longer Shiny and New

I love gadgets – the latest iPhone or other Apple technology (not sure why I don’t have a fit-bit) and seeing everyone else with their Garmin Fenix watches is making me more than a little envious. We can’t have everything though and I know I am not alone in this. So, until the time is right, my Garmin Forerunner 235  is doing exactly as it should.

Want to know more about the Garmin Fenix 6X Pro?

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