The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a versatile running watch that is a perfect match for both novice and experienced runners training for any distance. With a battery life of 9-days when the GPS isn’t on and 11-hours in GPS mode, this watch can be used for even the longest of races.
GPS Tracking Accuracy
The GPS tracking of this watch is quite accurate which is exactly what a runner would want from a running watch. The GPS also does surprisingly well when running around skyscrapers. It’s not perfect, but it does better than its competitors from tests we’ve run. If the GPS does fail, the internal accelerometer is a helpful backup to help you gauge pace. This is helpful when you’re running in a tunnel for a period of time, and after your runs, since the watch has GPS, you can see a map of the route you took during your run.
Heart Rate Monitor
The wrist heart rate monitor is also a nice addition that you can monitor throughout the day or during a workout if you do heart rate zone training. While the wrist HR monitor does pretty well for easy to moderate efforts, it seems to get finicky for harder workouts. So if you’re thinking about doing HR zone training, a heart rate chest strap might be better for accuracy. Since the watch does measure and track HR during your runs, it is able to provide you with an estimate of your VO2max which is a helpful gauge of your overall fitness level. You can also customize HR zones using either maximum heart rate or heart rate reserve to determine your heart rate zone levels.
The Garmin Forerunner 235 supports bluetooth and ANT+ ™ so you’ll be able to use a bluetooth HR chest strap or ANT+ chest strap. The bluetooth is especially helpful when utilizing the watch’s smart features such as pairing your watch with your smartphone.
Since this watch is made by Garmin, it will have access to Garmin Connect which is a comprehensive running platform that tracks all of your running stats including personal records, historical training runs stats, activity reports, etc. Garmin Connect also syncs with Strava so any workout you do will automatically be synced to Strava.
The watch has a sporty design that can be worn casually during the day when you’re out and about or on a training run. It’s fairly slim compared to some of the bulkier watches available today and it’s very lightweight. The wrist strap is detachable so unlike the older Forerunner watches, you’ll be able to easily replace the strap should anything happen to it.
Smart Watch Features
The Garmin 235 sports a number of smart watch features as well that complement its running features. As noted above, the watch supports bluetooth so it can pair with your smartphone and you can get notifications of incoming calls or text messages. You can even control your music from your watch. The calendar and weather syncs are also nice to have features for those who plan to use this watch beyond working out. Overall, we found the smart features to be nice additions but its fairly basic compared to the Apple Watch generation 2 and higher.
All in all, if you’re looking for a GPS running watch that has a full suite of running watch features and even some basic smartwatch features at an affordable price, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is the watch for you. At a price range of less than $200, this is definitely a running watch that offers a great value for your money.