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Hands-on with the new Garmin FR735XT Triathlon Watch


Update – my full and final FR735XT in-depth review is now available! Click on over to that page for all the goodness!

Over the course of the cold winter, the Garmin FR235 optical HR sensor-enabled running watch hooked up with the elder Garmin FR920XT triathlon watch and made a baby. They named that baby the FR735XT.  And that’s basically the gist of it.

But fear not – there’s actually a number of new and interesting tidbits if you peel back the FR735XT onion a bit more.  For example, it now calculates your Strava Suffer score, and even supports structured swim workouts.  Not to mention that optical HR sensor and features like Varia Vision support. So it seems like this baby got smarter than both parents.  Let’s dig in a bit.

What’s New:


To begin, the FR735XT takes the non-touchscreen shell of the existing optical-HR sensor capable FR235 (running GPS), and then revamps the firmware as a triathlon watch.  They’ve also increased the interior display portion slightly over the FR235, though again, keeping the same outer/exterior shell size (Update: The shell actually shrunk an itty-bity-bit, but the screen remained the same).  It makes it the smallest triathlon watch Garmin has ever produced, though, not the smallest GPS watch they’ve made (that goes to the original Vivoactive).  However, the Vivoactive doesn’t have multisport mode.

And that’s a really important distinction to note when talking about what makes a triathlon watch a triathlon watch.  It’s specifically the multisport mode.  That means that you can start a race (or training day), and have it seamlessly transition from swim to bike to run.  It’ll have the correct screens for each sport, while also keeping track of the total time for the full event.  And in most cases, it’ll display everything as a single cohesive event with separate components.  That’s compared to a non-multisport watch which may individually support swim/bike/run; but then you’d have to end/start a new activity for each sport during the day.

With that background, what’s new or different about the FR735XT?  Well, it depends a little bit on what you’re comparing it to.  Seeing how there’s no direct past predecessor for the FR735XT, I’ve gotta kinda pick and choose notable things compared to other triathlon watches (i.e. Fenix3 or FR920XT).  I’ve got a more detailed breakout in a later section.

– Adds in Varia Vision support (first Garmin wearable to support the heads-up display)
– Adds in Shimano Di2 electronic gear shifting
– Adds in support for structured swimming workouts (via Garmin Connect)
– Adds in Lactate Threshold metrics while running (on Fenix3, but not FR920XT)
– Adds in FTP determination while cycling (on Edge series, but not FR920XT)
– Adds ‘Intensity Minutes’ metrics (seen on other Garmin activity trackers)
– Adds Strava Suffer Score (new on FR735XT)
– Adds phone-based audio prompts (introduced on FR230/235/630)
– Adds stress score (introduced on FR630, now on Fenix3, but not FR920XT)
– FR735XT has a 14hr GPS battery life, less than that of FR920XT/Fenix3
– Lacks a barometric altimeter that’s on FR920XT & Fenix3 (but still has GPS altitude)
– Lacks a quick release kit like the FR920XT and the Fenix3

Now like most other new Garmin watch releases, we don’t tend to see major shifts of new functionality.  Instead, those are slowly added over time from unit to unit.  So you get a handful of new features for example on the FR630, which are then consolidated into the next triathlon watch version.  It’s kinda like a rolling upgrade.  Some features do make it into firmware updates for other models – like the Fenix3, which has seen boatloads of new features over the past 17 months since initial announcement.


There are two brand-new wearable items though on this list: Strava Suffer Score, and Varia Vision support.

The Strava Suffer Score hasn’t been seen on any Garmin units before, and is the porting of the algorithms from Strava into the Garmin line-up, thus giving you an immediate score for your workout directly on your wrist.  This is the score that you’d otherwise see on your Strava workout page:


Now, it’s shown on your wrist:


The Strava Suffer Score support is coming to ALL Garmin wearables that support Connect IQ, as of today.  It’s simply an app you can install.  But more on that in a section down below.

Next, is the Varia Vision support.  That’s for Garmin’s heads-up display that was announced a few months back.  This will simply transmit your data straight to that, just like it would on an Edge 520 or Edge 1000 unit:


Finally, it’s worth noting that the FR735XT is like the Fenix3 HR in that it doesn’t record HR while in the water using the optical HR sensor.  Instead, for that you’ll have to pickup either the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM (or the FR735XT bundle).  This is the same story as with the Vivoactive HR, in terms of optical HR sensor disablement.  It sounds like Garmin still isn’t seeing the level of HR accuracy that they want underwater to enable that feature.  Which is fair enough, since nobody else does that either (except Polar and the A360, but that wasn’t so hot on the accuracy front).

Structured Swim Workout Support:

2016-05-07 14.33.16

Now since earlier this year Garmin Connect has had the ability (on and off) to create structured swim workouts.  It wasn’t announced, but rather just something a handful of Slowtwitchers stumbled upon back in January.  This allows you to take the same concept of structured workouts that has existed for years for running and cycling, and do the same with swimming.  Oh, and it’s available for some other units, like the Fenix3 and Fenix3 HR.

Just to briefly run through how it works, you’ll start by creating chunks of the workout and specifying durations and stroke types.  Durations can be lengths or time.


Now there are some quirks here.  For example you have to specify the pool length as part of the workout.  Mine happens to be the mind-bendingly awesome 33.33m length.  Well, that means when it comes to specifying how long an interval is, you actually don’t directly choose distance – but rather lengths.  Personally, I don’t care about lengths, I just want to say ‘500 meters’, but instead I’ve gotta do math and get 15 lengths.

This is further compounded by the fact that many swimmers might swim in pools that switch in direction.  For example it’s common for a 50m pool to operate as both 50m and 25m (or 25y) depending on the time of the day.  Personally, I just wish I could specify a distance, and then let whatever I specify as the pool-size figure it out at the time of workout. [Update: Garmin circled back on the issue I saw, which appears related to my specific pool size being 33.33m, versus an even number like 25/50/etc…  The bug should be resolved shortly, allowing me to enter in distance like everyone else already can.]

In any event, my minor quibble aside – you’ll then add any repeats and such and then save your workout.  You can give it any name you’d like.


Finally, you’ll go ahead and specify what device to send it to.  Right now that’s the FR735XT and Fenix3/Fenix3HR.  It does not work on other devices like the Vivoactive, Vivoactive HR (it doesn’t support workouts), or the Garmin Swim.


Finally, you’ll head to the pool.  In my case I tried it out on a Fenix3 unit, simply because it’s what I had available when this functionality was lit back up.  You’ll go into the Training menu, then ‘My Workouts’, and select your workout name followed by ‘Do Workout’:


If you start the first section, it’ll give you the guidance you specified within the notes, which is kinda handy.  Though, it does cutoff some text around stroke type.


For each section it’ll list what’s coming up, and then you can iterate through all of your steps.  It’s basically just like it is on bike/run workouts:


During each set it’ll show you which set number your on, and the target distance:


Afterwards the workout will upload like normal to Garmin Connect.  Again, this is now available on the Fenix3/Fenix3 HR and FR735XT.  It doesn’t appear to work with the FR920XT when I tried to send a workout to it (Update: The 920XT will work today, but you have to use your smartphone to send the workout to it, not the desktop computer.)

Strava Suffer Score App:


Mixed in today’s announcement of the FR735XT was actually also an announcement by Strava (semi-jointly with Garmin) of the introduction of a Strava Suffer Score Connect IQ app.  Well, technically, a data field.  With the FR735XT, the Strava Suffer Score functionality comes baked in. For all other Garmin devices, you’ll just need to download it (it’s free).

This allows any Connect IQ compatible device (Edge 520, Edge 1000, Forerunner 230/235/630/735XT/920XT, Fenix3, Fenix3 HR, Tactix Bravo, Vivoactive, and Vivoactive HR) to display your real-time Strava Suffer Score on your device before you sync it to Strava.  Once on Strava itself (the platform), you’d then see the Suffer Score there. Though on Strava, that requires a premium membership.  Using the Connect IQ app does not.  Here you can see it on the FR630, above, on the Edge 520.


The app works by evaluating heart rate zones to determine your suffering level.  Thus, you do need to ensure your Garmin device’s heart rate zones match that of Strava. Otherwise when you upload your workout the two scores won’t match.  In many ways, it’s kinda like with the TrainingPeaks metrics and ensuring that your FTP levels match on the Garmin Device, Garmin Connect, and Training Peaks.  Same-same concept here.

Since the app is technically a data field, it’s something you add to your existing data pages.  So just like you might have a data field for heart rate or distance, you’d just add one in for the Strava Suffer Score.  If you create a larger data field, you’ll get this nifty graph-like thing showing your zones:


Also because it’s a data field, then it’s not something that’ll show up in any summary information once the activity ends.  It’s purely there as real-time feedback.  So you won’t see it in the run/bike summary screen or on Garmin Connect itself.

Finally, because Suffer Score depends on heart rate data – you must have either a HR sensor connected or an optical HR sensor.  Also, you must capture some metric of distance. Be it steps (if on a treadmill), or distance if using GPS.  On a bike, you’ve gotta have either GPS outdoors or some sort of speed/distance data if on a trainer.

All of these should be available immediately in the Connect IQ App store for your device by the time you read this text.  If it’s not yet showing up, then as they say…Shoulda, coulda, woulda…

Fenix3/HR, FR920XT, or FR735XT?


So at this juncture Garmin now officially has 3.5 triathlon watch lineups (current generation). They’ve got the Fenix3, Fenix3HR, the FR920XT, and FR735XT.  I’m only giving half-credit for the Fenix3 HR optical variant.  And this doesn’t even include older stuff like the FR910XT or Fenix2.  Nor does it count anything that lacks a multisport mode (i.e. Vivoactive).

IMG_0724 IMG_0726

So how are they all different?  Well, I’ve got my comparison chart tool that you can use, but there are some nuances that are harder to put on that without those charts continuing to bloat more than they already are.  So let’s talk about the key differences here instead.  For that, I’ll start by turning towards a bit of a video I’ve put together:

With the video all set, here’s the textual chartable version of just these four models.  Yes, there are many other tri models on the market, but for the purposes of this specific chart, I’m just keeping it to these four since that’s where 98.57% of all questions will come from.  Also, this isn’t trying to show everything under the sun, but just the key differences.

Garmin Triathlon Watch Comparison

FeatureFR920XTFR735XTFenix3Fenix3 HR
Price$449 $449 $499 $599
GPS Battery (Official Durations)24 hours14 hours20 hours16 hours
Barometric AltimeterYesNoYesYes
Optical HR SensorNoYesNoYes
Quick Release KitYesNoYesYes (but blocks optical sensor)
Largest Display ScreenYesNoNoNo
Swim workout supportYesYesYesYes
Works with HRM-SWIM/TRIYesYesYesYes
Varia Radar SupportNoYesNoNo
Varia Lights SupportNoYesNoNo
Varia Vision (HUD) SupportNoYesNoNo
Gear Shifting: Shimano Di2 SupportYesYesNoNo
Power Meter SupportYesYesYesYes
FTP Testing FunctionalityNoYesNoNo
Basic Course FollowingYesYesYesYes
Advanced Hiking/Navigation FunctionsNoNoYesYes
3D Distance, Climbing ScreensNoNoYesYes
Lactate Threshold TestNoWith HR StrapWith HR StrapWith HR Strap
Intensity Minutes metricsNoYesYesYes
Phone based audio promptsNoYesYesYEs
Supports Connect IQ for AppsYesYesYesYes
Strava Suffer Score (App)YesYesYesYes
Strava Live SegmentsNoYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart/USB TransfersYesYesYesYes
WiFi TransfersYesNoYesYes

Note that when you get into the Fenix3 series, there’s a lot of little nuances that are harder to capture and aren’t included above.  Aspects like tides app, or fishing mode, and the like.  Tons of little features.  If you’re looking for more advanced functionality beyond just swim/bike/run – that’s probably the watch to be on.

Shipping & Availability…umm…Today:


For what I believe to be the first time ever, Garmin actually has these units available to ship…today.  Seriously, actually, today.  For realz.  Even Apple doesn’t do that for their iPhone & watches.

For example, Clever Training has a pile in stock to ship out this afternoon for orders placed prior to 1PM US Eastern Time.  With another large pile arriving tomorrow morning, for shipping tomorrow afternoon.  After that, I have no idea when more units will come in.  First come, first serve…and all that.

Same goes for Amazon, also available there today too.

Also, because I haven’t used the unit more than a handful of times spread across two different dates on beta hardware/software, I also don’t know whether it’ll suck or not as a production device.  Though, most retailers have 60 day+ return policies in case things are bad.  I’d say the risk is a bit lower here with the FR735XT from a hardware standpoint, since it appears to be nearly the same hardware as the FR235 (released last fall).  Nobody seems to have any widespread GPS issues there, and the included Garmin Elevate optical HR sensor is what it is (the same).  On the flip side, we haven’t seen Garmin cram the triathlon features into this specific watch firmware variant, nor have we seen all of the Varia Vision functionality, swim workouts, Strava Suffer scores, or others in this watch either.  So all are somewhat unknowns.

But as one might theorize – typically when a product ship date matches the announcement date, it’s because a company has held off announcing said product to resolve outstanding bugs during the beta period.  My guess is that’s what occurred here.  I mean, just a guess and all.



It’ll be interesting to see how the unit appeals to different folks.  I suspect some will love it for its size, yet others will want something a bit bigger (the FR920XT or Fenix3).  Of course, I think this unit makes it clear that the FR920XT has likely seen the last of any new major software feature updates.  It’s been about 19 months since it was first announced – thus getting reasonably close to the typical 2-year marker that Garmin has often followed (though, that’s gotten much messier as of late).

I often run with the nearly identically sized FR630, merely because I like the lighter feel.  So in many ways, this watch would appeal to me in terms of being slightly more versatile than just a running watch.  Though, at the same time I tend to use a dedicated bike computer while cycling because I like having a unit out-front on the bars.  Still, the following two weekends I have triathlon races, so I’ll definitely be giving the FR735XT proper test runs during those events to see how well it handles during race conditions.

After which I’ll be better suited to give a full in-depth review.  So expect that sometime in early June.  With that – thanks for reading!

Found this useful? As noted above, you can help support the blog by picking up your sports tech goodness (or underwear, or gel packets) from Clever Training.  The FR735XT is in-stock and available there, for shipping today.  Well, at least until too many people buy it, in which case it’ll switch to backorder.  Wait – you’re Europe based?  No problem.  Clever Training now has a European store in beta, and you can pre-order it now there for shipping later this month (base). Thanks for the support!


  1. Brad

    If the FR735 has a HR sensor built into the watch, why does it also come with a run HRM? I understand the swim and tri HRM but not the run, am I missing something?

    • Lauri


      Advanced running dynamics are available only hrm-run

    • Cornel

      The built in optical hr sensor is not accurate or responsive enough to be of any use other than at rest or light activity. To leverage advanced hr metrics you need the accuracy of a chest transmitter — at least for the foreseeable future. I own the 735XT and turned the optical sensor off. Could be useful when you sleep at night to get an idea of how low your hr gets.

  2. Lauri

    Lack of barometer is a bummer!
    In my opinion this falls below 630 as there is no way to get correct elevation data. Too bad cause it looks gorgeous and other functionalities seem to be awesome.

    • Tim Grose

      No barometer on a 630 either. TBH never quite see the necessity to have a barometer unless perhaps your main reason for getting out there is vertical ascending and/or you spend a lot time going over bridges. Garmin Connect and Strava both replace the GPS altitude with one from an elevation model which at least means you don’t get any “drift” like say you do from a 920 where it isn’t replaced.

    • Dom

      Good for hillwalking, Tim, especially if you’re taking routes along gorges and the like, where the GPS position can wander because the sky view is poor, and a small lateral displacement can lead to a very large change in the mapped elevation.

    • Tim Grose

      Sounds like a Fenix 3 best for that purpose then.

    • Gunnar

      Yea, barometric drift has always been frustrating, but inevitable with a barometric device.

      Non barometric devices are much smoother when viewing post workout.

  3. James

    How big is the 735 comparatively to the others? I have big wrists and the forerunners don’t really fit me that well, is the 735 a similar strap size to them?

  4. Richard

    Just curious, does the 735XT have all the running metrics of the 630?

    Do duathlons using an FR630 and Edge 520 combo, but considering getting into triathlon. I’m kind of a data geek and the idea of recording swimming intrigues me.

    • Tim Grose

      Yes it does

    • Moshe Cattan

      Hey bro I feel you
      I use the 910xt, some consider it from the stone age but it works well.
      DC has an article of how to use it by triathlons and quick release
      I 920/910 are my advice for triathlons the 910 is $200 cheaper for I would say the same thing as the 920 though the 920 has a newer feel UI

  5. Eli

    Any mention of built in support for Ant+ muscle oxygen or power while running?

  6. sam

    got the 735xt, love the form factor, very light, was excited to use it with varia vision for run as would be nice to not have to look down at watch, went for run and quickly realized issue — weight of the vision made the glasses bounce around and almost fall off. I am going to try with heavier glasses and see if that makes a difference. Otherwise my guess is that Garmin has a line of glasses coming out soon.

    • Yeah, my glasses stayed on during my run with them yesterday (9-10mi), but I agree, it’s a bit weird. It’s great for cycling with Varia Vision, but for running…kinda mixed. If not so much the bounce, that just looking at them as they bounced would almost make you see sick. Good for super-quick glances, but not something to look at for more than a second.

  7. Moshe Cattan

    I’ll stick to my handy 910xt
    By far the biggest bang for ur buck

    • Moshe Cattan

      Forgot to add the quick release is a big thing for me for triathlons. Stick it in my swim cap so i get my gps data and turn it in as I run to the transition. Also the barometric altimeter

  8. jacqueline gaffey

    I bought a Forerunner 735XT from Garmin on Friday to use for the Ultra Trail Australia 100km trail run.

    Pros: It was very compact, user friendly and comfortable with a colour screen.

    Cons: It was useless!! The distances were out by nearly 30km, (and those of you who do endurance sports will understand how annoying looking at the wrong distance for hours on end can be), and the battery ran flat at 17 hours even though it was on the ultra track setting that was meant to last for 40hours.

    I called Garmin, and after 20 mins of waiting on the phone, they told me I needed to download the updates (on their new watch), and try it again.

    This watch clearly has some serious gremlins to iron out. Don’t touch it with a barge pole!

    AND it’s not cheap!

    • The challenge with UltraTrack mode (has been for a long time, be it Garmin or Suunto’s) is that it samples very infrequently. So on a trail with lots of switchbacks, you’re going to lose a lot of distance.

    • Tim Grose

      Also UltraTrac uses the internal accelerometer to fill in your pace/distance when GPS is off – just like it would do on say the treadmill. Now this is modelled from your arm swing as observed when you use the watch normally for outdoors runs. It sounds then that this calibration had not taken place so that won’t have helped either.

    • ekutter

      Yes, it’d be interesting to hear how well it would do if you had been using it longer where it had a chance to learn your stride. Tim or Ray, in ultra-trac mode does it use the accelerometer exclusively for speed/distance. GPS calculated speed and distance seems like they would be pretty useless in a typical trail run as Jacqueline found out.

      Also, almost any product you get these days will have a firmware upgrade by the time you get the watch. The firmware and the device was probably a month or more out of date for when they started the manufacturing. With a new device like this, they often have fixed issues from manufacturing to delivery.

    • Tim Grose

      Not tried yet on a 735 and TBH I have zero personal real use cases for the feature. However on a 920 I did try and recall GPS comes on for about 20 secs each minute so it sort of blends the two types of speed/distance determination. So for largely straight line uses ought to work fairly well. Personally though to say eek out to 20 hours or so would just carry a portable charger and charge it for a few hours when battery getting flat.

    • Dean Gough

      Yeah, ultra track sux if you actually want accuracy. I have read in the Fenix 3 forums, someone who wants to use their F3 in ultra track for an event where they expect to take 30 hours. They are also going to use a footpod, and have the footpod set for speed and distance, and then just have the ultra track for a rough mapping of where they’ve been. I wonder how well this would work for them?

    • Su-Chong Lim

      I have no experience in Ultras. But I had lots of use out of my FR60 and FootPod, and I can say the footpod gives excellent reliability and consistency for speed and distance over a resonablel speed range when calibrated. But once changing footing is factored in ( I particularly noticed it on snow and ice), and I imagine terrain/gradient and changing run patterns with fatigue, then huge errors can creep in. The only reliable foot-pod measure that resists all these changes is cadence.

  9. Helen

    Thanks for the great review again! I am considering buying the 735XT since my 3.5yr old 910t is starting to show some problems lately. I was wondering: what exactly are the ‘running dynamics’ that are added when using the HRM-run? I own a ‘older’ HRM-strap (Garmin soft strap premium) with my FR 910xt. Will this one be compatible with the 735xt and does it support the additional running dynamics?
    Thanks in advance!

    • No, you’d need either the HRM-RUN or HRM-TRI to get the advanced Running Dynamics.

      Check out my FR630 in-depth review for information on specifically what those are. Cheers!

      (I’ll dive into them again in perhaps the FR735XT review)

  10. Jim

    How does the clarity of the screen compare to the Apple Watch? My eyes are starting to go so was wondering is it a glass screen

    • The Apple Watch has a clearer screen in terms of display resolution. However, that doesn’t really mean much. Instead what matters is font sizing and contrast (which usually increase visibility). For that, it seems fine.

      Of course, keep in mind the Apple Watch has a 24-36hr battery life (without GPS). The Garmin unit will go 1-2 weeks without GPS.

  11. Rob

    Do any of the Tri watches allow Bluetooth sensors or just Ant+? Started buying Bluetooth to connect with phone and trying not to rebuy those. Thanks

    • No Garmin fitness devices allow connectivity to Bluetooth Smart sensors. Sorry!

      However, many sensors now are dual ANT+/BLE, making it easy to use for both (just not Garmin sensors, but that’s fine).

  12. Hugo

    Someone knows if the 735XT supports “Move IQ” like the Vivoactive HR?

    Thank You!

    • Tim Grose

      Not really sure what is but it does beep to tell you to move after an hour of being stationary just like the 920/230/235/630 all do.

    • Hugo

      Thank you, but Garmin “Move IQ” recognize automatic in the Activity Tracking Mode if you are walking, on bike etc. thats a nice every day feature.

  13. Marcel E Lopez

    I am between this or the Polar V800. The reason I am looking at the polar is because i have the H7 BT HR sensor already and because my bike computer is the M450. Which one is the best option (price is not a consideration).

    • Brian

      I have always thought you get on the Garmin wagon or the Polar wagon. Both are different, but hard to mix the two camps. If you are mostly Polar, I guess stick with them? I am mostly Garmin so I stick with them, the tech generally feels a tad better than Polar…

    • James

      I have read extensively about V800 myself, considering a V800 instead of a Garmin 920XT. My conclusion is that V800 has better GPS accuracy, better software and a more sturdy watch case. Garmin is better in fuctionality, mostly speaking Running Dynamics, which seems to be inaccurate at best. From what I can see Polar Flow website is better than Garmin Connect which have several flaws, most importantly, there are many faults in terms of reports (for instance wrong numbers on total mile pr.week).

  14. Santiago

    Hello Ray, thanks a lot for your reviews.
    When buying the FR735xt, you can chose only the watch, with the Run-Bundle or with both, Run-Bundle and the Tri-Bundle, but not only with the Tri-Bundle. I guess that it means that the Run-Bundle has Run-features that the Tri has not? if this is true, which are these features? Perhaps the Lactate Threshold metrics? If there is no run-features difference between both bundles, it would not be more logical to sell the 735 with the Tri and the Swim bundles? On the other hand, if the Run-bundle and the Tri-Bundle do have different run-features, It doesn’t make much sense to me to have 3 different bundles plus the optical HR in order to use the full HR functionalities of the FR735xt. Thanks a lot to clarify my confusion.

    • Tim Grose

      Believe the tri bundle gives you the HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim straps so you can get HR in the water. The HRM-Run and HRM-Tri both give the running features and are the same size but the Tri one also works in the water. So if you don’t swim much or don’t care about HR in the water then you can save a bit of money.

  15. Willyan

    Honestly, I hope that they just forgot to say that it has a barometer… No idea why they left out.

    Mr Rain Maker, we want to know: how accurate is the OHRM? And how accurate is the GPS? Since fenix we don’t trust on GPS accuracy from Garmin

    • No barometric altimeter, for realz.

      The optical HR isn’t bad thus far. GPS seems fine to date. In my post this morning ‘5 Random Things’ I include a link to a run with 6 watches on it. I also include a link to the analysis suite I use that allows you to dig into the GPS & HR details.

  16. extremeliver

    Ray, do you foresee something like a 935xt coming out to replace the 920xt, or is the 735xt the replacement for the 920xt?


  17. Ben

    Does anyone know which sports this supports? Obviously running, cycling, swimming, but is there also a “General Cardio” type mode that can be used for tracking things such as Squash\Tennis?

    I’ve checked the Garmin website, and even downloaded the manuals but cannot find this info anywhere.

  18. tmr1980

    When im using my Garmin 810 bike computer, will i be able to use the OHRM from the watch rather than the chest strap i currently use? And what is max amount of data fields the watch can display?

    • Yes, it will.

      It can display up to four fields per data page.

    • Brian

      How do you tell 735 to rebroadcast HR?

    • Tim Grose

      Goto the HR widget from the clock screen. Press and hold the up arrow and it Is one of the options. The only snag is that then that is all the 735 can do so you can’t then record your activity on that as well. As such it becomes a very expensive HR strap which may not work quite as well as a proper one.

  19. Tmr1980

    Is it anticipated that this watch will replace the 900 series watches I.e the 920 or is it envisaged that the 920 will be superseded by another watch as well as the 735? Don’t want to buy 735 only to find out that a more capable tri watch is just around the corner.

    • Garmin hasn’t said either way. I suspect they themselves are probably trying to decide if it makes sense to introduce yet another triathlon watch (or, yet another device).

    • Tim Grose

      Also “more capable” right now will surely mean bigger and other than barometer, bit longer battery not sure what else a triathlete would actually have a need for except perhaps quick release but that’s not a watch feature per se and useless anyway if you want HR on the bike but don’t want to wear a strap.

    • M

      Yes, a Barometer and Wifi (instead of the OHRM).
      So actually a Fenix 3 (or Fenix 4) with the size and look of the 735xt :)

  20. Kyle Shaw

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve been using the 735xt for a couple of days now and really like it! I upgraded from a 910xt so this is a pretty big improvement.

    My only complaint is with the garmin connect app on android. I get a constant “bluetooth troubleshooting” notification on my phone and watch anytime the two lose connectivity. It’s like watching a high school romance – they just simply can’t bear to be apart.

    Searching around on the internet, it seems like this is a pretty common complaint with the vivosmart and other bluetooth enabled devices. Any ideas on how to get rid of this notification? I do not plan on using the 735xt as an activity tracker and would rather tell the phone and watch when to sync. I tried disabling bluetooth on the watch, but my phone still searches for it (longingly). Turning off bluetooth on my phone works, but that’s not a good option because I need it during the day. Thanks!

  21. Brian

    Got my 735… not seeing a way to rebroadcast my HR to my cycle computer. Is this true? So sad ;(

  22. Stu

    I used the 735 for Ironman Texas on May 14, and the battery died at only 9 hours. I typically finish Ironman races in the 12.5 hour range, so I figured I’d be good with Garmin’s 14 hour claims. It was fully charged before the race, and I turned it on about 1 minute before entering the water. I called Garmin Tech Support and they said that to get to 14 hours during Multi-Sport while using the optical heart rate sensor you should turn off the following: GLONASS GPS, Activity Tracker and Bluetooth. They also said you may even need to turn off the backlight. Before the race I turned off bluetooth but didn’t think to also turn off GLONASS GPS, Activity Tracker or the backlight. Wish I would have known. Besides the battery dying, I really like the watch and it’s comfortable and lightweight. Debating if I should return it, or trust it will last 14 hours for my next Ironman with the revised settings.

    • Brian

      I got a 735 because I don’t Ironman. If you do fulls I would get a 920. Or maybe don’t use it for the swim because it does very little good on the swim . Will last the run fine.

    • Stu

      I got the 735 mainly because of the optical heart rate monitor. I currently have a 910, and I’ve tried everything to prevent the chest strap heart rate monitor from chaffing my skin. I’ve used body glide, vaseline, tri-slide, band aids, duct tape, athletic tape, 4 different heart rate straps, etc and all combinations of the foregoing. For me, the chest strap is a huge pain, but I endure if I must. If I could get the optical heart rate monitor to work, it would be great. Not essential, but a big plus for me. And yes, the 920 is awesome! My wife has one and I like it. I was just hoping to avoid a chest strap if I could.

    • Tim Grose

      GLONASS eats about 20% more battery so you should definitely go with the GPS only option. Best to ensure backlight is fully off even for key presses and stuff. OHR is probably the next biggest draw on the battery. Ray got 15 hours with GPS and a HR strap suggesting OHR might take at least an hour off the total. Bluetooth and Activity Tracker not convinced has much impact but if don’t need them may as well turn them off too for max battery. I have also seen you can get more battery with Smart recording not every second. You might just get there with OHR if you turn everything else off.

    • Stu

      Thanks Tim. That all makes sense, and I’ll give it a go for my next race.

    • extremeliver

      Stu, try the optical HRM that fits on the arm. I love mine. I wear it above the elbow, I think most people wear it below the elbow. Ray reviewed it here…

      link to dcrainmaker.com

    • Harvey

      Sure would be a shame to complete an IM and not get credit for all the steps. :/

  23. Scott

    i use the “drill log” function on my garmin swim watch to record my kick sets during workouts. The 735 does not mention anything about this in their manual. Do you know if it has that function?

  24. Always 920 xt on the top for me.
    1-have barometer sensor
    2-lightweight and not so “onion” like fenix3

    • Brian

      Can you explain how the barometer is useful?

      I had one on my 910. 50% of the time it was broke. When it worked… not sure what it did for me? It could give me my gradient I was on, but I would often be going downhill and it said +2% or vice versa, so not sure how that helped me. After the fact and I sync with a computer, elevation maps can do a pretty good job of seeing your total climb and such.

    • it looks you’re unlucky.
      I had 910 and sensor barometer worked always fine.
      Now on 920 it’s the same, D+, D-, Grade, Vertical Ascent speed versus 30s, all these parameter work fine for me when i run on mountain and they’re always precise.

    • Brian

      Okay so you know midrun you are going up a 3% hill. How is that useful?

      I care how it impacts my HR. So I watch my HR. What do you gain watching hills?

    • Brian

      nothing it’s useful until you think it is
      it depends on what you care about, sometimes l like to see grade, total ascent, total descent, i know that with barometer sensor, these data are precise.
      With only gps, on the mountain, forget them!
      But overall, when i train for skyrace or vertical, what i look it’s vertical ascent and not pace.
      Only with barometer sensor you can have this parameter accurate.
      So when i had to decide, no doubts for me, 920xt!!!!
      Now i can say it match the best for my needs.
      More over i like to see change HR rapidly during repeats, with elevate technology, this is not possibile.
      The change it’s very slow.

  25. Chinky

    May I know if 735 has beeping sounds for interval workouts. I do Galloway method in running and it’s very important for me that the watch beeps so I don’t have to think or frequently compute. Thank you!

  26. Esther

    I’ve been using my Forerunner 620 with the MIO Link for the past year, and it’s the best approximation to having the 635 that isn’t going to be (as far as I understand). I don’t do triathlons, so the 735xt seems to be too much watch for me. But I want the OHR plus the running dynamics, so is it really my only option?

    • The thing is, Running Dynamics requires a HR strap. And if you have a HR strap connected, then it doesn’t utilize the optical HR sensor.

      Beyond the FR735XT, there’s also the Fenix3. But that’s even more of a watch than the FR735XT.

    • Esther

      Then I’m probably better off just getting the HRM-Run for my 620 and not upgrading my watch at all. But then why have the OHR in the first place? Oh, probably because not everyone only runs like me, gotcha. Thanks for the response. Still debating if I want to be an early adopter here or not anyway.

    • Harvey

      One doesn’t necessarily need Run Dynamics from every single run in order to use it as a training tool, and having the oHRM means one less jawn to pack when you travel.

  27. Rob

    Why does the 920xt not have Lactate Threshold functionality? Isn’t it just a case of software update?

    • Like virtually any device today, it would indeed be “just” a software update. But I suspect they may be trying to drive sales to newer devices (the FR920XT is coming up on two years old).

    • Rob

      I don’t mind paying for the additional functionality, indeed if they put it in under the condition you needed to buy an updated HRM, that would be a (more) efficient way of gaining revenues from existing sales. Or start charging for it under an app in the Garmin IQ. Either of those is sort of acceptable to cover their costs.

      But buying a new $450+ watch and consigning a perfectly functioning watch to the dustbin every 2 years just to get some additional software capability seems intrinsically wrong.

      Anyway – I have the HRM-TRI – but under multisport mode I don’t get any run dynamics – is that normal? It seems to work fine in just a run mode, but no data in multi? Is that a glitch?

  28. Annie

    I don’t really care about HR while swimming…can I pair this watch with the (fairly expensive) Wahoo Tickr X that I already own to get running dynamics and the Suffer Score?


  29. martin hurtado

    Thanks for the review Ray…quick Q. How about the lap button? Does the new 735 has it? If so how it works?

    • Yes, just lower right button. Super easy.

    • Derek Paton


      Does lap work whilst a run in a stopped state? That’s one of the things I hate about the F3.

      I really also wish that the 735 had Strava Live Segments on it – I guess that might be something that will arrive soon given its now on smartphones?


  30. Don

    Ray- just curious when you expect the full review to be up. I am between this and the Fenix 3hr. My old 910 is finally done and I like the idea of a smaller more everyday wearable watch. But planning on doing my third IM next year (have been in the 11-12 hour range) and want to make sure battery can last that long.

  31. Rob

    How does the 735xt monitor sleep? Is it done by switching it to the do not disturb setting? Or something else? Much thanks to Ray, and Clever Training, I got my Run bundle.today.

  32. SKIPPERdk

    Hi DCR thanks for the first test of the 735 xt. I have had the 910 and many of the earlier tri models. Then I got the FR235 becauce of the optical HR. But I am not at all happy with the options. And the bip sound and vibrate system is so poorly that I often hear or feel the it and there by oversee the km data. The light (backlight) or contrast on the watch is also way below the black/wihte models.
    Is there any difference ind the contrast or backlight between the 735xt and the 235? and same Q about the buzz sound level?

    • My personal suggestion
      920xt, i had 305, 310, 910,
      now after 3 months, i’m very happy of this model

    • SKIPPERdk

      Forgot to write cant hear in the sentence.
      so poorly that I often CANT hear or feel the it and there by oversee the km data….

    • Skipperdk

      I might end up with the 920 as well, thanks.
      Fx the LAP butten position on the FR235 or 735XT is not so friendly in use when running as on the 910 and 920 models.

  33. gemma tredwell

    Hi, does the 735 have the same navigation function as the 920? Also can you switch between GPS modes to save battery, thinking I would turn it off on a long bike ride as I have a bike computer?

    • Tim Grose

      Basically yes on navigation. Battery is rated to last 14 hours and in a test Ray got to 15 so would need to be a very long ride to need to worry.

  34. john benge

    very nice, great review as always…I’ll wait though…for the watch I can talk to…

  35. Andrea

    Are the dimensions of the band available?

  36. cs

    Is there any possibility you could post a picture of both the fenix3 hr and the new 735xt on the girl’s wrist?

    I’m deciding between the two as a repacement for my epix.

    I have a tiny wrist (5″) and have been through a number of bulky sports watches, starting with the polar rs800cx–which I thought was absolutely gigantasaurus until I picked the epix.

    Also, do either have the option to replace the band/strap with regular commercial bands?

    Thanks for all your hard work. I enjoy your website.

  37. Jay

    Hey I did a pool swim workout with the 735 and after that I noticed the HRM didn’t reactivate I had to pick run for it to fire up
    Any ideas ?

  38. Another question :-)
    During the years my bodyshape changed, this leads to a problem with my heart rate strap:
    During races or hard intervalls in aeroposition, my heartrate strap seems not to pick up my heart rate properly (this is with ant+ and polar). When running everything is fine! So question is:

    Can I use heartrate strap for swimming and running? And (auto?) switch to optical during biking?

    Thanx for advices

    • Harvey

      Depending on which model of HRM you wear, there may me an adjustment mechanism that will enable you to tighten it.

  39. Schmithy

    Thanks again for the awesome reviews!

    Is there any chance they release a FR730XT or maybe a slightly larger (but nicer looking and round) replacement for the FR920XT, without an optical HR sensor? I love my FR620 and had been seriously considering the FR630 when the FR735XT was released.

    I’m probably a little like you Ray in that on the bike I use an Edge 510 and prefer the smaller FR620 for running. I have no intention of using the ‘step counter’ functions on any new device; my VF2 works great and there’s no worrying about charging it regularly as the batteries last a year plus (and I can wear it in virtually any setting and not look like a complete geek).

    Yes, I’m looking at doing my first triathlon later this year and it would be cool to be able to record the entire event (plus the training leading up to it, specifically swimming which none of my devices currently do).

  40. Mike Jones

    Is the HR sensor and software the exact same as the 235? I have a 220 but want to add the wrist based HR. Would I be better off to get the 225, 235 or this one? I know that this is more for triathlons. I just want to know which watch has the best HR accuracy.

    • Harvey

      According to the DC Rainmaker review, 6he oHRM in the 735 is the same as the one in the 235.

  41. Rita

    Has anyone had their watch freeze on the power off screen? I can’t seem to get it to do anything. I’ve tried to plug it in, hold down different combinations of buttons, but it’s still frozen. Any help is appreciated! Thanks in advance.

  42. Wheels

    Great first review. A few questions since the intro 2 weeks ago:
    1)Has Clever Training figured out the discount solution yet? Timing? How will it work?
    2)Does the HRM Swim really hold up better in chlorine than the HRM Tri?
    3)What bike mounting solution would you recommend? I would like to avoid a separate bike computer as the functionality is almost 100%. I envision wrapping the whole watch with straps around a mount. Would work for biking albeit a time delay during a triathlon.
    4)Can data be streamed to garmin connect or another iphone app real time for a larger display?
    5) Can you confirm that the 735 picks up cycling dynamic data? The appendix shows cycling dynamics data fields. In particular I would like to monitor realtime l/r power and phase/angle (like the edge 1000) due to an injury.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Thanks!

      1) You should see the updated VIP solution roll out over the next few days. It’ll be somewhat like a points redemption program. You’ll earn points that are immediately spendable on any products.
      2) Yes, it does.
      3) The $10 bike computer mount (rubber block) tends to be the best option.
      4) Not to other apps, but it can be streamed to a Garmin website for others to follow you.
      5) I’m 99% sure it does, but I haven’t tried it to validate (only validated left/right power).

    • Don

      The following is from link to clevertraining.com. It appears that a 735XT purchase would provide VIP rewards per #2:

      What do I get?
      – 10% off instant discount on almost any product site wide (*excludes sale items and some manufacturer exclusions)

      – For anything that’s not already on sale or eligible for a 10% instant discount, earn 1 CT Loyalty Point for every $10 spent

      – 5 FREE BONUS CT Loyalty Points after your first order (regardless of what you order)

    • Yes, it rolled out about 4 day ago now – and indeed qualifies under the updated VIP program. Cheers!

  43. Joseph Kiddell

    Any news on UK stocks? I was on Clever training Europe within a few hours of your first review, but it has been listed as Available Late May ever since.

    I guess the US stores got them first and maybe if any stock is left over it will trickle out? Ive already sold my 920XT. I’m feeling Naked right now.

    • Derek Paton

      Wiggle have an exclusive on them at the moment. In stock…

    • I just sent a note over to see if it’s still on schedule for late May delivery.

    • gemma tredwell

      I ordered mine on wiggle

    • Joseph Kiddell

      Just had this back from CT Europe.

      “Good Afternoon,

      We are emailing in regards to your order.

      Unfortunately with pre-order items we do not have a confirmed shipping date. All estimated fulfilment dates are based on the most up to date information we have from the manufacturer regarding availability. This item is expected late May.

      We apologise we could not be of further assistance.”

      No real news, but TBH with only 4 Working days left in May I’ve Given up hope. Was hoping to use it over the Bank Holiday weekend and start to build up my VO2 Max score again (wish it carried out from the previous watch).

  44. Erik1971

    Is there no Garmin (running) watch with Strava live segments like the one for cycling (edge 520)? That would be really nice!

  45. Ken Polleck

    No WiFi? Sigh. It is nice to come home with my 920XT and find it uploaded by the time I sit down in front of Garmin Connect (or SportTracks). Of course, it should also easily upload to my iPhone’s Connect App, but that seemed highly unreliable (until just recently–it seemed to get better for some reason).

    So, assuming I’m not rushing (or running) out to buy a 735XT, is there any wrist HR strap that would replace my chest HR strap and work with my older Garmin watches? Ideally, I’d like a 24×7 strap that would also count resting HR, activity/steps, and have a minimal display. I have a MIO that broadcasts bluetooth, but don’t know of a MIO–>Bluetooth–>SOME SORT OF BRIDGE–>Ant+–>Garmin 920XT solution.

    • Christopher Saunders

      Been using the 735XT for a few days now. Love it. Like most people, I thought it was a bit crazy the watch not having WIFI. If you have a smart phone, you can upload to Garmin Connect/Strava via the Garmin mobile App using Bluetooth. When I have completed a run/bike ride the watch will upload automatically to Garmin Connect/Strava. Happy days. :-)

  46. Steve

    I’ll be sticking with my Garmin viviactive, has most the same functionality at half the price.

  47. Nadia Barbov

    Hi Ray, I conducted a test this morning on the Optical heart rate of the 735 in combination with the older style strap connected to my 510 on a bike workout. I recorded my workout on both the 735 (OHR) and the 510 (HR Strap) for comparison. The results are quite varied as you can see the lack of peaks and troughs in the 735 results (we were doing intervals). I’m interested to see your results when you upload your comprehensive review.

    • It’s common knowledge that optical sensor it’s not suited for rapid HR variation.
      these graphics are really an example
      It’s also for this motivation that i opted for 920xt and HR strap

    • Optical HR can work just fine within intervals. That said, where Garmin’s optical HR tends to struggle the most is cycling. What you show above is semi-common with that in all their past products.

    • DC
      what it’s shown it’s related to 735, so not past product, but latest
      the graphic it’s smooth, where HR change a lot in a few time, and HR strape record perfectly this variation
      so for me it’s evident that rapid HR variation cannot be followed by optical sensor
      what do you think about?

    • The FR735XT uses the Garmin Elevate optical HR sensor. Same as the Fenix3 HR, Vivoactive HR, Vivosmart HR/+, and FR235. In general that sensor with all of its most recent firmware updates is mostly good, even in running intervals actually. I showed in my review last week within the VAHR that I can do hard interval sprints as little as 30-seconds in length and it tracks them.

      But I also showed it struggled with cycling outdoors (indoors was mostly fine). That’s been the same story for Garmin’s sensor since the begining.

      But you can’t lump all optical HR sensors together. It’s like saying no cars can go faster than 150MPH. That’s not true. It’s just the car you happen to have can’t go that fast. But other perfectly capable cars can.

      In this case, other companies can actually track that bike well, even during intervals. Mio and Scosche come to mind (as I also demonstrated in that review).


    • The reasoning it’s perfect!
      Then can you give an explanation of the HR graph shown above by Nadia?
      Too short intervals?

    • Nadia noted it was a cycling working, thus, kinda par for the course. Though, if it was indoors it’d be a bit more surprising (unless the watch was slightly loose).

    • Andrea

      Is there a reason for the poor optical HR performance while outdoor cycling? Road vibrations?

    • Typically road vibrations combined with for wrist-based units you usually have your wrist strained (tense), holding onto the handlebars in that area, making it more difficult.

    • Andrea

      Thanks Ray. It will be interesting to see if there is a difference when riding our tandem in stoker position (more relaxed grip and less direct road vibration) vs. riding either of my half bikes.

    • fm

      In my week’s worth of experience with it, the optical HR on 735 seems to work quite well for running, including intervals (as well as I need it to most days, anyway). It’s one less thing to worry about. I have the RUN strap and use that when convenient.

    • Bill Wood

      I got better cycling results by making sure the strap was snug, and mounting the watch on the underside of my wrist.

  48. Ray Venalbes

    Is the maximum number of data fields on the FR735XT three? Or is it possible to display four at a time?

  49. samuel tiago pinheiro e silva

    Hello .. Good evening! In their assessments you think that more accurate heart monitor those who have integrated sensor reading on the wrist ? In addition to data such as speed and distance traveled ? The garmin forerunner 235, 225 or the new 735xt or tomtom Runner2 cardio ? Your blog is very good and I love their reviews ! Thank you in advance for your attention!

  50. John

    Hi Ray,

    Not sure if this has been asked, but would you consider this a Fenix 3HR Jr? It has multisport options and is a much lighter watch. I tried the Fenix HR, but found it much too heavy to wear on a daily basis.

  51. Andrea

    This is perhaps a general optical HR question, but I am currently looking at the 735XT so I figured I would post here… How does the 735XT perform when estimating calories? I’ll be using it as an activity tracker in addition to cycling and hiking so I would like a feel for how big the margin of error is. I see big differences in calorie estimation based on my Edge 500 with HR strap in Garmin Connect vs. Ride with GPS. I’ve got some pounds to shed so I’ll be getting back into tracking food with My Fitness Pal.

  52. Mike

    DC Rainmaker,

    Have you heard of Garmin making any roads toward adding music storage and bluetooth headphone support to the future product line? I have the TomTom Spark and I love the added features of the Garmin products over the Spark, but I cannot go back to not having music (I refuse to strap a phone to me ever again!!). TomTom does not update their products enough for me. I think the Spark is their best product and I am somewhat happy with it, I just miss the extra features that Garmin has, plus I have always been a Garmin fan.


  53. Luca Massetti

    Nice garmin but what about the optical heart rate? Is there some settings to do or it works that bad as sowed in my photo? Please help…..60/70bpm higher than 920xt.

    • Hard to say exactly, but as a general rule I don’t tend to wear another watch on the same wrist (especially next to) an optical HR sensor. Multiple companies will note that it can impact the optical sensor’s readings.

      So typically in testing I’ll use the other wrist for that…

    • Luca Massetti

      Thanks for your reply Ray,
      The photo is missleading I wasn’t wearing the 920xt just put it on the wrist to take the shot.
      During the training it was on the kettler racer s.
      An suggestions as settings or wetting the wrist, shaving it ect to get a better result?

    • No, if you were just on an indoor bike it tends to be pretty easy to capture HR accurately as long as you’re not doing too much weird stuff with your wrist (for example, typing can throw it off in some rare cases).

      Otherwise, the most important thing is ensuring it’s nice and snug. Also, ensuring that before you start the activity, that the HR icon on the watch has stopped blinking and is staying lit. That indicates it has a lock.

    • Luca Massetti

      Today I made another try with a 10km outdoor run and after a couple of km where the optical HR seemed to work good, it jumped high and was crazy and without any doubt wrong for the time left.
      Really disappointing. I don’t know if to send it back to garmin or to just consider that this technology is not mature yet.

  54. John Gardner

    Really good write up. Just bought one idea of being able to decide to use chest heart rate monitor is great. Minor limitation. Being a multisport person, whilst you can add own customised activity profiles you can only add few. I do pool triathlons, open water triathlons, duathlons, aquathons. Wanted to add brick sessions using turbo and another using road bike – ran out of number of custom activities allowed!

  55. Bill

    I just picked up a 735 (two hours ago) and I like it so far but my time is off by 3 minutes. I saw a mention of that on a garmin forum but there were no followup posts.

    Is that something others are aware of? Is there an easy way to fix it, other than just disabling the auto-time-set?


  56. Pete Parfitt

    I think this is absolutely my freak watch, and I have a birthday coming up, my challenge at the moment is that in the UK at least, it is £110 more than a non-HR Fenix 3.

    • In the UK through Clever Training it’s 359GBP, or with the DCR Clever Training UK/Europe discount code of DCR10BTF, then it’s 321GBP. All of which are 60GBP+ cheaper than the non-HR Fenix3.


      link to clevertraining.co.uk

    • Peter Parfitt

      The kicker is really that Amazon.co.uk has the fenix3 non-HR on at £275 (even if it is the silver one with the red band). I think the 735xt is the watch for me, however I may let the price settle a little.

      But as ever thanks for the great reviews, and I will use clever training if it makes sense for me, great to see they now have a UK presence.


  57. john P

    This is looking like a great watch – I have one question which may or may not be a deal breaker.

    I am competing in my first swim run event soon. I’d love to be able to transition between the run and swim sections… but I know a friend with the Sunnto Ambit 3 can’t do it… even if he sets up a bespoke multi transition it only allows 6 transitions max rather than the ~26 needed for this weekends Otillo Uto race for example..

    Will the garmin FR735 let me run and swim and run and swim around the Isle of Scilly just transitioning between running and open water swimming? 27 transitions in or out of the water… see here link to otilloswimrun.com

    if the Suunto Ambit 3 doesn’t seem to manage this then I’m concerned no watch does.

    Keen to hear feedback before i get ready to hit BUY!!


    • On the FR735XT you can hold the lower left button down (down arrow) and change sport anytime to any sport in your list. While I haven’t tried doing it 27 times (I just did it 8 or 10 times without issue).

    • Dom

      The Fenix 3 has a specific swimrun app, as well as supporting repeating transitions for multisport (which was described as targeted at swimrun when it was introduced). Not my thing, so no idea how well it works, but there are some threads about it in the Garmin forum where you could ask.

    • John Poyton

      Thanks for that Ray. So can I confirm (- although it appears to only be the Fenix 3HR that has a swim run specific app – ) that when i start running in the isle of scilly swim run otillo event next week i should be able to just swap to open water swim and the gps and timer will carry on and then swap back to running etc with out any need for transitions? ? I tried to setting up a custom multipart profile but it only allows a max of 5 profiles/ changes which i presume garmin usually assume will be swim/T1/bike/T2/Run…

      I went ahead and bought the 735XT which I’m certainly very pleased with in terms of size and ease of use… but am slightly nervous i should have spent that bit more if i really want to take up swim run after my initial foray next week???

      Thanks again for your amazing reviews and feeding into the comments… immensely helpful cheers


  58. Sandi Delcore

    is there a distance and/or pace alert on the Garmin 735xt, similar to the 920xt?

  59. Sandi Delcore

    is there a SWIM distance and/or pace alert on the Garmin 735xt, similar to the 920xt?

  60. Wayne

    Will the FR735XT’s GPS track open-water swims effectively?

  61. Cornelius Puiulet

    Not sure why my Forerunner 735xt is not pairing with Stage Power Meters. Works well with PowerTap, but both of my Stages power cranks will not pair. Anyone have any ideas?

    • Herbert

      Maybe a firmware bug. I had the same problem, but I got it by chance. Maybe the unit is disturbed by other ANT+ Sensors (e.g. GSC-10 speed-cadence Sensor). Try the following: Don’t move your Bike for several minutes (all ANT+ Sensors deactivated). Activate the Stages PM by spinning it backwards a couple of turns (all other Sensors still deactivated). Try to connect the Stages PM to your 735xt.

  62. Bill Wood

    On the Vivoactive HR, a nice feature is that you can get to the widgets screens during an activity (like running) by pressing the “back” button. Is there a way to do this on the 735xt?

  63. Anna

    Sorry for posting under two reviews the same question, just do not know which one you’ll read first.
    Thank you for great review! As I’m considering buying FR735XT I’m a bit confused about difference between RUN and TRI monitors. I understand that TRI attaches heart rate data in the end of the workout, so does it mean I won’t get any readings during the run in real time? And what follows all alarms based on heart rate won’t work? Or cashing works only for swim workouts? I’m not and triathlete in any way but TRI seems to be more versatile monitor. Another thing is maybe lame, but… I understand cycle portion is in fact ‘operated’ by watch so both RUN and TRI versions are cappable of recording that (data will be the same)? I am a little confused by markings in the monitors.

  64. I tried out using the stress score (I’m not very stressed apparently) and was wondering what happens to that data. There doesn’t seem to be a way to retrieve it but it must be being stored, as I assume it builds a history over time to profile your score.

    Any ideas about what happens to it or where/if past tests can be viewed?

  65. Christos

    I find the vibrating alarms very useful in swimming / open water sessions. is this option available ?

    thank you for your great reports

  66. Gabriel Lee

    There is an awesome option for some of you who wish to get the discount

    log on to clevertraining.co.uk

    the discount code works DCR10MHD.

    Shipping to the USA is free. This works out to be $395 US.

    • Anna

      Unfortunately no TRI option, and how late is ‘late May’ when we have 30th of May today :)

    • Quick Q – how do u get the clever training uk site to ship to the USA? The US version will not apply the discount, but the UK site will. However, I don’t see a shipping option to US from the UK site. Any help is appreciated, thanks!

    • Unfortunately that was a brief code error. CT UK isn’t allowed to ship Garmin products to the US, per Garmin restrictions. While some Europe-only retailers can get away with it, CT can’t since they also have stores in the US. So Garmin US can (and would) basically stop supplying stock to CT USA if they did that. Such manufacturer practices are of course illegal in the rest of the world, but companies can get away with it in the US. :(

      As for the US side though, you can still use the VIP program on the FR735XT. That gets you 10% back via points, which you can use immediately for any other product on the site. Plus free quick shipping and all that jazz.

      Thanks for the support!

      Oh – Anna – re ‘late May’ availability (for CT UK), units did start coming in and shipping last week. The only one currently backordered is the black bundle, and they do plan to list the tri bundle soon (they’re waiting on Garmin on that one).

  67. David

    Wrap up

    “So in many ways, this watch would appeal to me in terms of being slightly more versatile than just a running watch. Though, at the same time I tend to use a dedicated bike computer while cycling because I like having a unit out-front on the bars”.

    I like a dedicated bike computer as well. Is it possible to use a device such as the 735xt or 920xt during a triathlon but also pair a device such as the 510 or 520 cycling computer to the triathlon watch to display your power, HR, etc from the watch. while cycling during the triathlon?

    • Yup, that’s exactly what I do. For example, yesterday during the Paris Triathlon I just paired the FR735XT to my HR and power meter, as well as the Edge 520 to both. Easy!

    • Steve Ferguson

      Assume you just discard the activity on the Edge so that you don’t double record? I have the edge 1000 and 735XT and will be using the 735 to record my triathlon next week, but like to have the edge display everything on my handlebars whilst on the bike.

    • I usually save both, and then delete one later online. That way if one had a bad recording for some rare/odd reason (as was the case last weekend), I’m still good.

  68. samuel tiago pinheiro

    Ray on his experiences which pulse heart monitor you think best, mio or elevate ( garmin ) ? Thanks..

  69. Michael

    Does anyone know if you can use a footpod and gps at the same time so that you get your pace from the footpod and your course from the gps?

  70. Ben

    Can you use the 735 as a HR source to display on an edge?

    • Erlin Velberg

      So I pulled the trigger and got a 735xt. Can you please explain to me how to use it in a Tri in conjunction with my Edge 510. So far I have always done my Tri’s with the 510 and a 210/220 running watch (nothing used during the swim). I thought it was about time to step it up and get a Tri watch but I would prefer to use my 510 on the bike ride. Any input is much apreciated.

    • goughy

      You can choose to use it the same as you had before, but say record the swimming activity too as I separate activity.

      Or you can set it up as a triathlon multisport event, and record the swim, t1, bike, t2, run. But you can still use your 510 for on the bike and it’ll record separately. That way while riding you don’t have to be looking at your wrist, if you find that annoying.

      Buy maybe say just upload the activity from your watch, rather than both watch and 510. Otherwise you’ll get a reproduction of the bike ride in your gc account.

    • Bill Wood

      Just use the 735xt as your tri watch, and start the 510 during the bike portion. You can delete the 510 activity later.

  71. Bill Wood

    There’s differences in the user interface between the 735xt and the Vivoactive HR that affect usability. Neither is perfect. It seems like Garmin has at least 2 OS versions, maybe one is for touch screen devices and one for button devices?

    The 735xt has a “Standby” mode which engages 5 minutes after you “stop” an activity without “saving” or “discarding” it. This allows you to save GPS battery and view the normal widget screens without having to end your activity, for example if you are grabbing lunch while cycling. However during standby the 735xt won’t sync with the phone. The Vivoactive HR doesn’t have Standby and puts up a persistent screen requesting you to save or discard the activity, meanwhile eating GPS battery.

    On the Vivoactive HR, you can get to the widgets screens during an activity (like running) by pressing the left “back” button (unless the activity is “Stopped”). However, if you want manual laps enabled on the VAHR I don’t think you can get back to the widgets screens because the left “back” button is then used to mark laps. There doesn’t seem to be a way to get back to widgets during an activity on the 735xt, except by “stopping” the activity and letting it enter standby after 5 minutes.

    A frustration with the 735xt is that you can’t get to the “Settings” menu while an activity is active. This caused an issue for me today when I wanted to pair my speed/cadence sensor after the activity had started. Long-pressing the “up” button showed the “Settings” menu for an instant then switched to the “Music Controls” menu, dashing my hopes. On the Vivoactive HR, you can long-press the right button to get to the menus during an activity.

    In general the Vivoactive HR’s user interface seems more intuitive and cleaner than the 735xt’s. I wish the VAHR had “standby” mode and also “training effect”, these are big misses for me. The 735xt is a nicer watch in my opinion, however I wish the 735xt allowed you to view widgets and get to the settings menu during an activity, and had a barometer.

    • Tim Grose

      Think this is the same post as on the Garmin forums. You can access Settings if you stop the timer temporarily.

  72. Leslie

    Hi Ray! Just wanted to let you know that I used your link to order the run bundle for the 735 from Clever Training. I hope you get the credit for the sale. Please let me know if I need to contact them to let them know I purchased from your redirect here.

    Thanks for all the continued product info!
    Leslie (CeriseFleur on twitter)

    • Thanks for the support Leslie!

    • Leslie

      No prob ? I’m working on my second Bachelor’s degree – this time for computer science. I found the developer info for Garmin. I think I may do a widget or watch face. Have any ideas or suggestions??

    • There seems to be a bit of demand for an app that can either:

      A) Connect via ANT+ FE-C to control a trainer
      B) Connect via the earlier ANT+ Gym Equipmentprotocol to treadmills and rowing machines (like the Concept2 rower)


    • Leslie

      I will keep these in mind, however, if their API does not allow it then there’s no amount of programming anyone could do to make these things happen. If it allows it, then it can be built. If not, then we’re SOL.


  73. Dessie Duffy

    Hi Ray,

    I recently purchased the 920xt and certainly would not consider myself a technological expert so I was hoping you could fill me in on a few of the things I read about in this review.
    1. What is Ultra trac
    2. What is Glonass
    3. Ehat Varia Vision

    I probably spelt them wrong as well so go easy on me.

    • Ultra Trac – Ability to decrease GPS sampling interval substantially to increase battery substantially. I’d never use it at speeds faster than a walk, and never unless you really really really had to (required longer battery life for a single activity).

      GLONASS – Increases available satellites the watch can talk to, which can in turn maintain GPS accuracy in some places that might otherwise lose it. Comes with a roughly 10-20% hit on battery drain.

      Varia Vision: This – link to dcrainmaker.com


  74. Thomas Edisto

    So I just confirmed with Garmin tech support, what I consider a major flaw with the new 735XT Running device. It does not allow you to reset lap data while in stop timer/pause mode. So, if you do a lot of interval training, e.g. 200/800/400 or 200/400/200 or 1200/2000/1200 etc, you have to hit the LAP button while the timer is on.

    That means either while running an interval, hitting LAP and then STOP very quickly or pressing STOP.


    OR hit START and LAP very quickly for the next lap. I believe this might have been an oopsie oversight and will be begging Garmin on their Ideas website to re-instate this feature which is critical and available on my previous 620, 610, and 110.

    This is a big enough issue for me to return the device and consider something else.

    • Steve

      I can’t help but think you’re not capturing your workouts correctly. When I do intervals with a recover in between, I just got the lap button. When I review my workout afterwards my first lap is warmup; second is a 1600; third recover; 800; recover; 400; and last lap is my cool down. I can view my splits easily and keep track of total activity duration and distance. I only hit the start/stop button at the literal beginning and end of the workout- that is unless I don’t stop to go to the bathroom or talk to someone or answer an important phone call, which is when I’ll use the stop/start to effectively pause my workout. I’ve never felt the urge to press lap while stopped; there might be a use case for that scenario, but it’s not standard operation.

  75. Mark Kapitan


    Did you notice any GPS tracking issues with this model, specifically “artifacts” in your running logs? I picked one up and have seen it be considerably less accurate in GPS tracking than the 620 it replaced and also see a number of artifacts as shown in the picture….

    • Odd, haven’t seen any outstanding GPS issues. My in-depth review will be up Tues/Weds for it. The rain/flooding sorta slowed things down for me getting a few final shots and tests I wanted done.

      The core area I’ve seen issues with is the GPS altimeter. Fwiw, I’ve been using GLONASS enabled, and 1-secording.

    • Mark Kapitan

      I just made thoes settings changes as well and will see how it goes. Seems a few people on the Garmin forums are seeing similar issues.

    • Gunnar

      I’ve had my 735 two weeks now and I’m happy with my GPS tracks. I’ve compared the tracks to a multitude of Garmin and Suunto devices I’ve had in the past and it ranks up there with the best tracks I’ve seen.

  76. Wheels

    Did I receive a defective unit? I am having a hard time charging and/or syncing the watch. I cannot charge the watch with a std apple adapter in a power strip, and I have only been able to charge via the USB cable 2x (and synch) in about 50 tries. I always receive an error message “a USB device has malfunctioned and exceeded the power limits of its hub port. you should disconnect the device.” On the two times it somehow connected, I received an error message that there was an issue with my device and I should scan the hard drive.
    I also cannot connect with my 310xt ant stick and did not receive an ant stick with the 735xt.
    Has anyone had a similar issue? or suggestions?
    Thanks in advance.

    • That definitely doesn’t sound normal. I’ve charged with a gazillion USB plugs (including stock Apple one) all over the place and never received that error message.

      The 310XT ANT+ stick doesn’t connect to the FR735XT, so that’s not really a concern. You have to sync via Blueooth Smart or USB. Not via ANT+.

      I’d ring up Garmin and see if support can help. You could also try a full reset of the device and see if that helps.

    • Wheels

      Thanks. Garmin support has not heard of that issue. They are shipping new watch tomorrow and I’m returning this so they can trouble shoot.

  77. Kim

    I’m looking to upgrade from my FR220. I am interested in a wrist HR. I only run/walk. No cycling or swimming at all. Should I go with the 235 or the latest model, 735?

  78. Marcus

    Will the HRV data be saved to the .fit file? I have been using those from my FR 610 and FR620 in the FBA software and it would be nice to have the possibility to continue…


  79. dries

    so… tonight or tomorrow we’ll have Ray’s in depth review?
    Can’t wait!
    i came from the 235 to 735xt and like the 735xt a lot. not too big sensor pressing my wrist, multisport options, etc etc.
    the screen is a little bit smaller, they could have made it a bit bigger than the 235, now it shows it little bit tiny on my wrist. (but okay, am getting used to it already).

    cycling (to my work, easy pace) without hrm-belt gives way too high heartrates, that’s something i hope can be solved. other than that: like it!

    • dries

      and another bummer: without using the hrm-run strap variations in pace but especially heartrate is hardly noticed by the 735xt

    • It won’t be tonight, or tomorrow morning. Somehow I spent virtually the entire day stuck in traffic trying to run errands to meetings and such. Kinda sucked.

      Hopefully Thursday morning. Sorry!

  80. cvbcbcv

    Does it have any map / course upload function? I found in instruction that you can upload one. Can anyone confirm it? And another question: does it have any screen protector like gorilla glass or sapphire glass?

  81. John

    Hi Ray,

    I wanted to get your feedback. I’m looking for a multiple sports activity watch with HR. I tried the VAHR. I found that the narrow blocky design was actually digging into my wrist causing me pain. So, I took it back. I’m thinking a circular design would work better and distribute the weight better. How have you found the comfort level in wearing this watch? Easy to wear all day long, sleep with, etc…?

    • fm

      I’ve been wearing it for a couple weeks or so and it’s super comfy (and lightweight). There are times when I don’t want to have a rubber band around my wrist, but it’s never the wrist-based HR monitor that is the issue. I like the band better than the 230; seems more pliable.

    • John

      Great. Thanks for the input.

  82. Rob Radcliff

    2 Questions:

    For Running – Does it have a last lap display?

    For Swimming – I swim in an endless pool sometimes. Would it measure distance based on stroke numbers? What data would that deliver.

    Thanks Man.

  83. Sara

    Does the FR735XT sold in the States support Chinese language? It would be a disadvantage to me if it cannot show Chinese messages from my phone by way of notifications.

  84. Artem

    Anyone already has 735xt – please tell me can you activate sleep mode manually like in Fenix3: Settings > Activity Tracking > Go to sleep > Yes???
    Otherwise it’s another wild guess device with inaccurate sleep metrics, just like 235 is…

    • Bill Wood

      You can’t initiate sleep mode, however if the 735 gets it wrong (not that often in my experience) you can edit the start time.

    • Lesley

      I got my 735XT yesterday. Slept in it last night. In my GC profile I have my settings for sleep from 10pm to 5:30. (7.5 hours)
      I went to bed around 9:30 last night. Played with my phone, checked my facebook and eventually fell asleep. I woke up around 2:30 to use the bathroom and sent a few text msg to my friend working night shift, went back to sleep. There is no sleep mode on the watch, that I can see so far. My sleep report for last night shows me falling asleep at 10:08 and waking at 7:04. The sleep data is taken from the HRM. Based on RHR, I dont believe it needs a sleep mode. RHR should become more accurate over time. We will see.

    • Lesley

      I should mention it also shoes the time I was awake during the night. Basically based on HR it recognizes when I went to sleep and when I got up and started my day.

  85. Paul

    what information is the 735 able to display up to the varia vision? it looks like most biking data can be seen. can Running data be transmitted as well from the 735 to the varia vision system?

  86. Hi All!

    I’ve just published my FR735XT In-Depth Review, which can be viewed here: link to dcrainmaker.com

    As is usually the case, I’ll be closing this preview post to new comments – but feel free to continue the discussion over on the in-depth review. That just helps keep things a bit more organized.