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Garmin Forerunner 935 In-Depth Review


Today Garmin announced their latest triathlon/multisport…and running-specific focused watch, the Forerunner 935.  This watch follows almost a year after the FR735XT was announced last spring, and only 3 months after the Fenix 5 series was announced in January (which just started shipping last week).

So what’s the FR935 all about?  Well in a nutshell it’s a cheaper version of the Fenix 5, with a plastic shell as opposed to metal. Basically – it could be named the Fenix 5P – for Plastic.  It’s got a barometric altimeter (and WiFi!) that the FR735XT lacks, and also adds in things like the new Training Load/Recovery features found in the Fenix 5, as well as Bluetooth Smart sensor support.  Not to mention support for the also just announced Running Dynamics Pod (RD Pod).  Finally, it also adds in the just announced TrainingPeaks workout synchronization app, allowing you to sync workouts from TrainingPeaks to your watch (including other devices).

I’ve been using the FR935 for a fair while now, and thus have had the chance to use it across numerous sports and workouts.  While the first few weeks were on beta software, the last few weeks have been on what is considered release candidate/final production firmware.  As always, once done with this review, I’ll send the loaner/test unit back to Garmin and go out and get my own through normal retail channels.

With that – let’s dive into it!

What’s new:


As noted in the intro, in many ways the FR935 is basically a Fenix 5 in a different skin.  It’s got a near-identical user interface, save a few minor tweaks the company is experimenting with to simplify the user experience (but more on that later).  In terms of functionality though, it’s basically a Fenix 5.  I’ve gone through the menus side by side (see video below), and everything is identical to a Fenix 5.  Everything.

Still, there are some notable features that are new to today, which are also coming to the Fenix 5/Chronos series, these are:

Running Dynamics Pod: Sensor pod compatibility  added (basically the Garmin Running Dynamics metrics, but in a small wearable pod, also to be compatible with FR735XT/Fenix 5/Chronos)
TrainingPeaks pre-installed on the FR935, now available on numerous other devices via Connect IQ
Training Status/Load/effect metrics: These are new, provided by FirstBeat, also seen on Fenix 5 series and includes split of aerobic and anaerobic training effect.

Still, what if you’ve been sleeping the last few months and skipped the whole Fenix 5 series?  How would the new features look compared to the FR735XT of last year?  Well, everything above, plus the below:

Barometric Altimeter: Added it, 735XT didn’t have it and only had GPS-based elevation
WiFi: Added it to 935, 735XT didn’t have it, and only half of Fenix 5 series has it
Display: Up to 240×240 pixels, same as the Fenix 5
Display: Went from 16 colors on the FR735XT to 64 colors on the FR935
Display: Now supports Emoji, right to left languages (Arabic and Hebrew)
Charging Cable: Identical to Fenix 5 series, can charge mid-activity, but wrist blocks it a bit
Connect IQ: Fully supports CIQ 2.2.3+, as well as a full 2MB for apps or 32 installed CIQ apps/items, whichever comes first.
Battery: Increased battery life up to 24 hours in GPS at 1-second sampling
Battery: Increased UltraTrac battery life to 50 hours
Gyroscope: Added Gyroscope to all models, used to increase track points in UltraTrac mode
User Interface: Slight tweaks to UI to match Fenix 5/Chronos series
User Interface: Added new quick access controls menu, to access apps/widgets, to match Fenix 5 series.
Strava: Added Strava Live Segment support for Bike & Run
Sensors: Added support for Bluetooth Smart sensors (Cycling Power/Speed/Cadence, Running Footpod, Heart Rate)
Sensors: Added Varia Vision Heads Up Display Support (all ANT+ remote displays technically)
Sensors: Added Varia Bike Lights (all ANT+ lights technically)
Sensors: Added Varia Bike Radar
Sensors: Added Shimano Di2 Shifting, ANT+ Gear Shifting Support (SRAM RED eTAP & Campagnolo EPS)
Sensors: Added ANT+ Muscle Oxygen Sensors (MOXY/BSX)
Optical HR Sensor: Revamped tech, now records 24×7 data every 1-2 seconds
Optical HR Sensor: Flattened out even more, virtually flush with back of unit
Training Data: Added FTP Estimation for cycling
Training Data: Now supports swimming PR’s (along with previously added Swim Structured Workout support), like the FR735XT/Fenix5, but unlike some older tri watches
Live Group Tracking: Added like the Fenix 5 models, à la the Edge 820 group tracking
Straps: Compatible with the QuickFit straps, specifically the Garmin Fenix 5 ones (not the 5S/5X), such as leather/metal/etc…
Golf: Added TruSwing, Greenview, and Autoshot features
Other Sports Added: Mountain Biking, Treadmill and Indoor Track separated, Ski and Snowboard separated, Navigate app, and Track Me app
Navigation Functions: Full navigation identical to that of the Fenix 5 series.  That includes things like proximity and navigation alerts (for distance to waypoint, and time/distance remaining to destination).  Note, there are no maps like the Fenix 5X units.

Phew – got all that?


Still confused?  Sorry, it happens to the best of us.  The good news is I’ve got a video below explaining it all!  Go forth and enjoy!

Oh – and you may be wondering why they dropped the ‘XT’ off the end of the official watch name (i.e. not the FR935XT).  The reasoning is twofold.  First they didn’t want to put off the running side of the house, thinking it wasn’t for them (since it’s basically what people wanted in a fabled FR635).  They feel like it’s an equally good option for runners or triathletes.  Second is that they figured most triathletes would know from the initial ‘9’ in the series (i.e. 910/920/935), that it was still a triathlon watch.  And if you didn’t know about the ‘9’ part, you probably didn’t know about the XT part anyway. 😉

With that, let’s move onto some sizing!

Model and Size Comparisons:

Like the FR735XT, the FR935 comes in one size, but a few two-band variants.  There’s the base unit, which is black with a barely visible silver trimming/button, and then there’s the bundle unit which is also black but with a neon yellow trim/button and a secondary yellow strap.  Throughout the review you see the bundle variant, with the yellow strap since I was mostly too lazy to change it to the black strap.  So, the two options are:

Base unit ($499USD): Black watch face with silver accent and black band, charging cable
Bundled unit ($649 USD): Black watch face with yellow accent and black band, additional yellow band, charging cable, HRM-TRI HR strap, HRM-SWIM HR strap, quick release kit.

Note that I don’t have an unboxing to share at the moment, since the unit I was sent came in a simple plastic baggie with just the charging cable and an extra band.  Plus the charging cable.

Garmin-FR935-Black-Band-Extra-Bundle Garmin-FR935-Charging-Cable

Once I get a proper box, I’ll add the unboxing back into this review.  Given what Garmin included in the Fenix 5 boxes, don’t expect anything more than what you see above, plus a few pieces of legal paper telling you not to do anything stupid with it, as well as how to put the band on.  Pretty standard stuff.

What is notable here is the band though.  Within the box it doesn’t include Garmin’s new QuickFit bands seen on the Fenix5, but rather a standard screw-in band.

That’s a bit of a bummer, the good news is that the QuickFit bands are still compatible with the FR935.  Specifically with leather, metal, and other silicone band colors.  Basically, what we saw on the Fenix 5.  Note, that I tried the Fenix 5 bands (the middle-sized ones) and they fit just fine.  The 5X bands would be too big, and the 5S bands too small.

With that, let’s look at sizing between the FR735XT, the FR935, and the Fenix 5 series (plus a Fenix3 thrown in):


As you can see, sizing-wise the FR735XT and FR935 are pretty similar, however the FR935 is slightly larger – by a few millimeters in diameter, albeit identical in depth.


Finally, the FR935 comes in at 49g, whereas the Fenix 5 starts at 84g (depends on which bands you use).  The Fenix 5S starts at 67g.

The Basics:


I’m going to mix things up a little bit in this review from past reviews.  Partly because I get bored writing things in the same structure each time, and partly because I think at this point there’s some things that are considered ‘base’ knowledge.  Meaning that I’ve often split up into separate sections swim/bike/run, with there being so much overlap between all three sections.  For this I’m going to round-up the watch basics into this section, then sports into the next, and then talk about newish FR935 pieces like the new Training Status/Load/Recovery components, RD compatibility, and Training Peaks integration.  Then I’ll separately dive into accuracy of GPS and optical HR sensor.

To start off with, you’ve got the watch face.  This uses a bit more of a traditional plain Jane watch face with just the basic elements on it by default.


However, you can easily customize the data elements on it, as well as the style.  And that’s before we even talk Connect IQ watch faces.

Garmin-FR935-WatchFace2 Garmin-FR935-WatchFaceData

Like the Fenix 5, you’ll now have a quick controls option, which can be accessed by holding the upper left button down for a few seconds.

This allows you to quickly lock the screen, put it into do-not-disturb mode, as well as save your GPS location and sync data.  You can lightly customize some of these options in the menu as well.  You rotate through the options on the controls screen like a rotary telephone.

While the watch face can be customized with your daily activity tracking – such as steps or stairs climbed (it has a barometric altimeter to help track that), you can also iterate through the different widgets by pressing the up/down buttons.  For example, here’s the daily activity tracking widget (followed by the detailed views within it):


Garmin-FR935-Activity-Stats-Totals2 Garmin-FR935-Activity-Stats-Totals1

Additionally, you’ve also got the ability to quickly glance at your last sport/workout stats, along with the calendar, notifications, weather, and other widgets.  You can customize these from both Garmin options, as well as 3rd party options.


Within the pile of widgets is one for 24×7 heart rate.  This will show your continuous heart rate data, as measured by the optical HR sensor on the back of the unit.  Since this unit shares the exact same sensor as the Fenix 5, it now too measures at a rate of every 1-2 seconds.


That optical HR data can be seen at any time from the 24×7 widget, allowing you to glance back at not just the last 4 hours, but also your resting heart rate over the preceding 7 days.  I’ve talked about this a fair bit in this post, but in a nutshell I find resting heart rate a great indicator of impending (or current) sickness or excessive fatigue.  It’s easy for me to plot that and know that I may want to adjust my training or recovery accordingly.

Garmin-FR935-Continual-HR Garmin-FR935-Continual-HR-7DayAverage

This data is also then available on Garmin Connect, either your mobile app (iOS/Android/Windows Phone), or on the web using your old Netscape-equipped computer.  Below is a screenshot from iOS.

2017-03-28 18.11.32

As part of the daily activity tracking, it’ll also automatically recognize and track certain sports, for example walking, running, or cycling.  You’ll see these shown as little grey bubbles on your daily heart rate graph, as well as within the list of activities each day.

2017-03-28 18.11.38 2017-03-29 11.12.34

When it recognizes a sport, it’s not enabling GPS or other sensors.  Rather, it’s just leveraging the accelerometer.  Thus, the data quality is pretty low.  I’d *never* use it to track a run, but it’s useful for tracking quick errand trips on a bike around town that you probably wouldn’t otherwise bother to track.  Or for that romantic evening walk on the beach.  All important things to properly capture.  The data shown is pretty minimal, as seen below.  Just start time, type, and duration.

On the left is a simple bike-sharing bike ride home from a party, and on the right is a short walk around town.

2017-03-29 11.12.38 2017-03-29 11.12.58

Next, with all this fancy phone integration you’ve got the ability to of course sync workouts via Bluetooth Smart (or WiFi), as well as receive notifications from your phone.  The FR935 supports standard notification centers on your phone, meaning that any app can take advantage of it.  It’s not just texts or calendar notifications like some watches.  Anything from your favorite sexting app to Instagram, or Ikea kitchen cabinet planner to GoPro’s action cam app.  If it does notifications and normally alerts on your phone, it can alert on your watch.

You can open up alerts to get more detail.  Or you can dismiss them, which will also clear them from the phone.  For dismissed alerts, you can view them within the notification panel on both the watch, as well as your phone (for example, on iOS just swipe down from the top).

Note one handy little feature is that the FR935 and Fenix 5 series now support many emoji, so you can see those directly on the watch.  This is helpful if certain individuals in your family (not pointing any fingers at the Newfoundland contingent or anything) use an astounding amount of emoji icons.  Impressive really.  I mean, just saying, in theory they do.

Finally – as hinted at above, the FR935 does have WiFi on all units, which means when you walk into your house after a workout is completed, it’ll quickly upload via WiFi.  In most cases it’ll do so before you even get your shoes off.  If you’re running barefoot then…umm…before you take your pants off?  I don’t know.  It’s quick.

You can configure numerous WiFi networks using the Garmin Express app:


The inclusion of WiFi in all FR935 units is interesting.  Mostly because at $499 it’s less expensive than the base Fenix 5 units at $599, which don’t actually include WiFi (for reasons that make no sense).  Only the Sapphire Fenix 5 units include WiFi.  In any case, it’s really only used for syncing fitness data.  It’s not like you’re going to browse the web with it.  Also, it only works for networks that don’t have proxy/filters on them.  So it won’t work at Starbucks for example.

What’s that? Something in the basics section not covered?  Well, chances are that I’ll cover it throughout the rest of the review. But…if you’re the type of person that wants to press every button on the watch – then the below video is for you!  It’s exactly that: I go through all the menus screen by screen!

With all the basics (and more) covered – let’s head onto using it for a workout.

Sport Usage:


Let’s talk about how it works in sport, or rather specifically workouts.  When it comes to sport modes there are numerous to choose from here.  They are:

Running: Run, Trail Run, Treadmill Run, Indoor Track
Hiking: Hike, Climb, Walk, Navigate
Cycling: Bike, Bike Indoor, Mountain bike
Swimming: Openwater Swim, Pool Swim
Triathlon: Triathlon Mode, Swimrun, +general multisport mode
Skiing: Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski
Other water: Stand Up Paddleboard, Row, Row Indoor
Other: Golf, Golf TruSwing, Strength, Cardio, Jumpmaster, Tactical, Other (make your own up)

In order to keep things simple, I’m going to start with explaining the basics of sport mode using the running mode.  But the key thing to understand is that by and large these sport modes share the same core functionality.  Meaning that things like alerts, structured workouts, data field customization are the same across the board.  Where you see differences is in nuances related to each sport, for example in cycling you can enable power meter metrics – but those aren’t seen in golf or swimming.  Or in swimming you’d get stroke metrics that aren’t seen in running.  But the way you interact with each mode is largely the same.

To begin a workout you’ll press the upper right button, which immediately goes into a newly designed sport menu.  This single menu is the only tangible difference between the FR935 and the Fenix 5.  In this menu the watch will actually immediately start acquiring GPS signal and your optical HR – even before you choose a sport.  The logic here being to simply jumpstart that process while your brain decides what to do next.


You can scroll down in the list of sports to find any of the above mentioned sports, or, you can customize and add your own sports/names.


You’ll notice that as you’re pondering your sport name, the unit will finish up finding GPS and change the color of the outer ring from red to orange, and then to green.  Green is good, everything else is bad.  So definitely wait for green.  Additionally, you’ll see the HR icon stop blinking and go solid, which means HR has been locked.  Wait for that too.  All of this usually only takes a couple seconds, so it’s pretty quick.


Once that’s done, you can hit the upper right button and you’ll see your data pages that you’ve configured.  This hasn’t started recording yet, and you can still see satellite status around the edge of the watch.


Since we’re here, let’s talk data fields and data screens.  This basically applies to all sports.  Essentially, you can customize the living crap out of data fields and screens.  No device on the market gives as much customization as this.  You’ve got customizable data pages (screens), that can have up to 4 fields each.  That can be one field, two fields, three fields, or four fields.  And then within both three and four fields you can arrange them two different ways each (technically three ways for three fields – one without field titles).  Here’s a gallery of how that looks:

You can create numerous custom data pages (each having customizable data fields), I haven’t reached the limit because you can create so many and I’m lazy.  But you can also select from standard data pages that can be lightly customized as well.  These include: Virtual Partner, Map, Compass, Elevation (Graph), Music Controls, Running Dynamics (x2 pages), plus a heart rate zone page.  Lots of pages.

The only minor downside is you can’t customize/save these from your phone or Garmin Connect, but rather they must be done on the device.  On the bright side, that means you can customize them on the fly during a workout or standing at the start line.  Or…at Chipotle.  Whatever floats your boat.


Once you’ve started your workout (by pressing the upper right button), the unit will start recording your data.  This also includes displaying your data, such as distance and pace/speed.  There’s literally gazillions of data fields, and they’re listed in the manual.  I used to write them out, but it was silly because it’s so massive (and is always changing).  Plus, you can use Garmin Connect IQ to download zillions more data fields.

I tend to keep mine somewhat basic.  Essentially I’ve got a page focused on workout totals (i.e. total distance, total time, etc…), and then another focused on laps (i.e. lap distance, lap pace, lap time, heart rate).  Btw, you can select either automatic laps based on a preset distance or manual laps based on pressing the button.

Note that you can also customize the lap banner, which allows you to specify which data fields are shown when you press the lap button, or when auto-lap is triggered.


This functionality is handy, though I’d give Suunto the nod for a better overall lap implementation with their lap summary page (a function that was ironically copied from Garmin’s Edge devices).  That Suunto lap summary page allows you to quickly glance at all your last laps with various data like average pace or HR next to it.  Maybe we’ll see something like it in Connect IQ or similar someday.

In any event – let’s run.  While running you’ll get data on your data fields however you set them up.  You can change data pages by simply pressing the up/down buttons.  Alternatively, you can use auto-scroll to have it iterate through them (I personally never like that, since I want to know what I’m going to see when I glance down).  But choice is good.

Note that the FR935 mirrors that on all Garmin running wearables over the last 2-3 years and will show your current/instant pace rounded to the nearest :05 seconds.  For example 7:35/mile or 6:45/mile (not 6:46/mile).  A few other companies have followed in these footsteps, as ultimately all GPS data is smoothed one way or another.  Either it’s smoothed more behind the scenes to give you a false 6:57/mile number, or it’s smoothed more visibly into a bucketed 6:55/mile number.  But fear not, lap average pace and average pace are exact number (i.e. 6:57/mile).  So you can always use those for pacing.

Once done with the run you’ll get workout summary and PR (personal record) information – such as longest run, or fastest 5K run, etc… You’ll also get recovery time metrics (more on that in the next section), and workout benefit details.

GOPR5548 GOPR5553

At this point the watch will then sync that workout via Bluetooth Smart to your phone, or if you’re within range of the WiFi networks you setup – it’ll use that instead (it’s a bit quicker).  And that’s again an important differentiator between the FR935 and the Fenix 5: All FR935 units have WiFi, whereas only some of the Fenix 5 models have WiFi.

2017-03-29 11.32.10 2017-03-29 11.32.18

Once it’s done syncing to Garmin Connect, you can go ahead and look at the data via the Garmin Connect Mobile app (iOS/Android/Windows), or just via web browser on Garmin Connect.  Here’s one of my runs, utilizing the FR935 and the RD Pod (and the optical HR sensor):


Next, we’ll touch on cycling.  As noted this is largely the same as running from a generality standpoint, but there are notables such as power meter support in cycling (both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart power meters).

2017-03-26 14.04.22

While riding you’ll display any data from sensors as well as GPS (i.e. speed and distance), and you can also utilize the unit on your wrist to re-broadcast your heart rate to secondary devices via ANT+.  So if you’ve got an Edge device (or an app like TrainerRoad or Zwift) – then you can have those apps pair to your wrist heart rate and record them there too.

One other difference of note between the Fenix 5 and the FR935 is that the FR935 has a quick release kit available for it.  This means that if you’re doing a triathlon and want to quickly remove the watch from your wrist to mount onto your bike, you can easily do so.  This quick release kit is still a bit early in production, so there’s only renders (and some bad cell phone photos) available at present.  It sounds like that’ll start shipping in late April.  Still, that’s a definite bonus point for the FR935 over the Fenix 5.

Forerunner 935 Quick Release Kit

Alternatively, for those doing just cycling you can certainly mount the FR935 onto one of the $11 watch mounting blocks to put on your handlebars.  That works just fine (though, the optical HR sensor wouldn’t be usable then).

Once all is said and done your ride, you’ll get the ride data on Garmin Connect just like other sports.  Also, this will happily transit over to Strava, TrainingPeaks, Xert, and many other apps automatically using Garmin’s Auto Sync system.  That process usually takes forever…ya know…like 1-2 seconds in total.


Since we’re talking cycling, let’s talk triathlon mode.  Triathlon mode enables you to quickly iterate from sport to sport with little more than a key press.  This is useful for going from the swim segment of a race to the bike segment, and then onto the run.  Further, it can capture transition times as well.

Within the triathlon mode you’ve got the aforementioned transition time option, but you can also use the little known option to automatically lock the buttons after you change sports each time.  This helps to prevent accidental key presses – in particular pressing the ‘lap’ button, which would move you onto the next sport (a really bad thing if it happens at the wrong time).

In addition to triathlon mode you can make your own multisport mode options – such as combining stand-up paddle boarding with skiing.  Or two or more other totally compatible sports.  Further, you can do a bit of a free-style multisport mode by pressing the left-center button at any time to simply switch to another sport.  This is helpful if you’re going to repeat something like bike/run over and over again until a predetermined time (common brick workout strategy).

Speaking of swimming, the unit supports both openwater and pool swimming modes.  In pool swimming mode it’ll use the accelerometer on the watch itself to determine each time you hit the wall at the end of a length.  It then uses the preset pool length that you specify in the watch to do simple math on your total distance (as well as pace).

You can use either flip turns or open (non-flip) turns, it doesn’t much matter.  However, keep in mind that like all swim watches, it’s essentially looking at changes in direction and shifts in acceleration.  So here’s a few tricks you can use as well to get better accuracy:

A) Obviously, ensure your pool length is right
B) The key to swimming watches is remembering it’s looking for a ‘cue’ as to when you’ve reached the end of the length.  So, push off forcefully each time
C) It doesn’t matter if you do flip turns or open (non-flip) turns, I mix and match depending on the craziness at the end of my lane
D) Again, just push off sharply, no matter what you do
E) Avoid stopping/starting mid-lane, since it’ll confuse things
F) If you have to pass someone mid-lane, it’s best to ramp into that pass as evenly as possible. Versus just instantly sprinting mid-lane, since it may think you’ve just done a new length.  I realize that’s easier said than done – but just giving some general advice
G) Don’t do the YMCA song at the end of the lane, even if at the YMCA.  Also, if you go the bathroom, pause the watch.

Speaking of pausing, note that the FR935 does include an inverted display color when you pause it – so you can know whether your mid-set or not.  Also, you can use drill mode for things that don’t involve your wrists (i.e. kickboard drills).  That allows you to simply enter in the total distance for that drill set at the end of the set.

Next, let’s talk openwater swim.  Within openwater swim mode it’s going to leverage the GPS within the device to determine distance.


The challenge here though is that every time the watch goes below the surface of the water (basically, every other second), it loses that signal.  So the goal with openwater swim mode is to try and string together these generally poorly conceived points into a rational swim track.  Meaning, it’s rarely perfect – I usually aim for accuracy +/- 10% as a rough yardstick of success.  Sometimes you’ll get better (like spot-on better), and sometimes it’ll be crap.

There are things you can do to improve your success rate though:

A) Always get signal above water before starting
B) Always press the start button above water, and then wait for 2-5 seconds before your first strokes
C) If making a sharp turn somewhere (such as a buoy), I find it helpful if you slightly slow down your stroke rate at the turn buoy – giving the unit just an extra split second of your wrist above water to try and find GPS
D) Always wait until out of the water to stop the GPS track, ideally waiting 5-8 seconds for it to ensure it has a clean lock on GPS

If you do those four things, I find substantial improvements in GPS tracking during swims (across all device vendors).  None really impact your workout.

Note that in neither openwater swim mode or pool swim mode does the FR935 capture heart rate via the optical HR sensor.  For both you’ll need either the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM.  This is due to the challenges associated with optical HR sensors in the water.

With all that background, I put together this openwater swim video with the FR935 – showing you how it works from start to finish.

As shown in the video – once done you’ll get a GPS track showing your particular route.  In this case, the GPS track was pretty good actually.


Last but not least, let’s talk structured workouts and intervals.  These come in two varieties.  First are structured workouts that you can download from Garmin Connect.  These can be ones that you’ve created, or that you’ve downloaded from their free training plans.  Doesn’t much matter, they show up in the device in pretty much the same way, under Training > Workouts:

Garmin-935XT-MyWorkouts Garmin-FR935-WorkoutSelection

It’s here that you can then view the steps (i.e. targets) of the workout, as well as start the workout.


Once started, the workout function will warn you of upcoming segments, as well as display to you the specific target for each segment.  It’ll also count-down the time left in each piece.  For example, it’ll show you that you’ve got 93 seconds left and that your target HR zone is 165-172bpm.  It’ll even show a nifty little target HR indicator.

Now to demonstrate this, I used the new TrainingPeaks app (you’ll see a separate post shortly on that).  That app essentially transfers the structured workout from TrainingPeaks and then lets the native workout functionality on the FR935 take care of processing.

Just to be clear though, you don’t need TrainingPeaks for anything of this.  The above simply shows how it works if you did use TrainingPeaks to download the workout, but the downloading can also be done natively purely using Garmin Connect Mobile (or your desktop computer).

Next, if you want a more simplistic experience you can use instead the native interval workout function on the watch itself.  This function allows you to configure a warm-up, a work portion (plus repeat count), a rest portion, and then a cool-down.


For example you can specify a work portion of 1 mile, with a rest of 90 seconds, and then do 5 repeats.  You can customize any given portion of that.


Once started, it’ll run you through the workout in more or less the same manner as a full downloaded structured workout.  The only difference though is that you’re not going to get a specific target (i.e. pace, heart rate, etc…).  Note that these functions work the same regardless of which sport you’re in (running/cycling, or also swimming for structured workouts).

Finally, we’ll wrap up with a brief talk through of navigation and courses.  I dive into this a bit more in my Fenix 5 In-Depth Review a mere 6 days ago, and that watch functions identically to this in that respect.

In any event, the FR935 includes the ability to navigate on both downloaded courses, as well as past activities.  This can be used either for simple directional assistance – or to even race against courses/activities that are configured with specific timing.  Further, you can also just use the FR935 for basic navigation back to a saved point, or to backtrack your way to wherever you started from.

You can launch navigation from within any given sport (i.e. hiking), or you can launch it on its own.  The net result is basically the same, except that you’ll get data fields customized for that sport if you launch it within that sport.  Plus, you’ll get a few extra data pages from the navigation side of the house.

To begin, you’ll select a course.  For example, here are ones I’ve downloaded from Garmin Connect to my watch via Garmin Connect Mobile.


Once selected you can then view a breadcrumb trail map, or the elevation plots of it:


From there you can start navigation, which allows you to follow that breadcrumb style navigation based on the route of the course.  The watch will also show your times against any pacing within the course/activity file (such as racing against a past activity).  You’ll see the direction of travel using the internal compass, which is displayed as a small red arrow on the edge near the bezel.

Note that unlike the Fenix 5X, the FR935 doesn’t contain any actual map like you’d find on a car/phone GPS.  Meaning, you won’t see streets, lakes, or rivers or anything else. You’ll simply see where you’re going and where you’ve been (identical to the Fenix 5/5S).

The core difference here in this realm between something like the FR935 and the slightly older FR735XT is that the FR935/Fenix5 contain barometric altimeters, which are lacking in the FR735XT.  That’s a big deal for folks hiking (or doing anything) in the mountains.  As I showed in my FR735XT review last year, the altitude readings left much to be desired, whereas with the FR935/Fenix5, it’s far better.  You can see that in the GPS accuracy section in particular (below), on the March 9th mountainous ride.

Finally, note that in order to create courses that at this time you need to use a desktop web browser of some sort, as the Garmin Connect Mobile app doesn’t allow creation there.  You can however sync/specify saved routes from Garmin Connect using the mobile app, and send them to your watch wirelessly.

Training Load & Stress:


When Garmin introduced the Fenix 5, that introduced new training status and load features that have now carried into the FR935.  These metrics are built by FirstBeat and licensed by Garmin.  That’s the same company that has powered much of the training and recovery features on past Garmin watches, as well as other companies in the wearables industry.  These specific new features were previously offered in FirstBeat’s pro athlete training suite, and have now been squeezed into the FR935.

One really important thing to point out is that these metrics take time to adapt to you.  Realistically FirstBeat says it takes about two weeks in total to get to the point of having truly valid data.  That also assumes that you’re able to get two workouts that trigger a VO2Max estimate (either running or cycling, but two of the same sport type).  It’s those two key items that allow it to really hone in.  It’ll reach its ‘full potential’ once it has about a month’s worth of data on you.

To start, when you finish a workout you’ll be given a split of anaerobic an aerobic training effect, in terms of a number between 0.0 and 5.0.  While Training Effect used to be a single number, now it’s split:



This data is presented for any workout where a heart rate sensor of some sort was used (be it optical or HR strap).  This training effect number is also saved to Garmin Connect, where it can be viewed at the bottom of any workout:


The exact number corresponds to a much longer explanation of what those data points mean, which can be found in these two sheets that FirstBeat has sent over.

Training Effect terms/phrases (Excel)
Training Status terms/phrases (Excel)

Next, after some activities (if a change has occurred), you’ll receive a VO2Max estimate.  In the case of cycling this requires a power meter.  The VO2Max estimate won’t necessarily show on every workout, and may take a few weeks as well to really fine tune itself (in particular it’s best to have a hard workout).


Moving right along, the unit will give you recovery hours – similar to before on a number of Garmin devices.  These recovery hours can be checked at any time, and will slowly count down to zero hours as time passes.  If you do another workout, it’ll increase correspondingly.


Then we’ve got training load.  This numerical number is specific/unique to you, and is based on trending over time.  This is where that multitude of weeks of training data comes in play, as it allows FirstBeat to figure out what’s ‘normal’ for you.  They noted that they reach their full analytic potential after a month of data.


Keeping it in the green means your load is appropriate for your capabilities.  Whereas overtraining puts you into the red, and undertraining the blue.

Finally, we’ve got the general training status page (accessible anytime as a widget by just pressing the down button a few times).  This is a way to look at the specific load you’re applying, and whether the load is contributing to fitness.


In general, I’ve found this particular page has been pretty accurate when it comes to judging what my training load/etc is in relation to what I’m actually feeling.  As long-time readers know, I tend to be pretty critical of these sorts of technologies, but this one does seem to be getting it right the vast majority of the time.

The FirstBeat folks initially shared with me a massively long presentation and supporting documents that outlined how this tech works. They were able to pull together a bit more finessed/polished version of that over the weekend, which they said I could share/post here. You can find the full PDF here, and I’ve put all the slides into a single gallery for quick clickage below. Note that this applies to the FR935, Fenix 5, and Fenix Chronos units.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like the older FR735XT or Fenix 3 variants will be getting this update.

Heart Rate Sensor Accuracy:


The FR935 includes Garmin’s Elevate optical HR sensor built into the bottom of it, which is used both in workouts as well as in 24×7 continual HR monitoring mode.  Just like the Fenix 5, the FR935’s optical sensor got a slight overhaul/upgrade, most notably when in 24×7 mode.  Previous to this, Garmin’s Elevate sensor would sample rather infrequently (outside of workouts), at rates from every few seconds to every few hours.  It was all over the map.


But with the new lower-power FR935/Fenix 5 optical sensor, it now samples every 1-2 seconds. Basically, it’s always on.  In addition to the change in sampling frequency, they’ve also reduced the sensor bump.  Of course – my goal is to find out if there were any undesired repercussions from this, specifically in sport mode.  When it came to 24×7 mode, the new data looks much better, and the accuracy seems spot on for casual activities like watching TV, walking, or just living life.

2017-03-28 18.11.32

Thus with each subsequent new unit released I re-visit sensor accuracy.  While it’s the same physical hardware, one can see the impact that firmware updates make.  Additionally, each watch has a slightly different form factor (exterior design), which can impact accuracy in terms of external light getting into the sensor area (which degrades accuracy of optical HR sensors).

Before we move on to the test results, note that optical HR sensor accuracy is rather varied from individual to individual.  Aspects such as skin color, hair density, and position can impact accuracy.  Position and how the band is worn are *the most important* pieces.  A unit with an optical HR sensor should be snug.  It doesn’t need to leave marks, but you shouldn’t be able to slide a finger under the band (at least during workouts).  You can wear it a tiny bit looser the rest of the day.

Ok, so in my testing I simply use the watch throughout my normal workouts.  Those workouts include a wide variety of intensities and conditions, making them great for accuracy testing.  I’ve got long/steady runs, hard interval workouts on both bike and running, as well as tempo runs and rides.  Not to mention skiing and hiking.  Night and day, sun and snow.  I’ve got it all!

For each test I’m wearing additional devices, usually 3-4, which capture data from other sensors.  Typically I’d wear a chest strap (usually the HRM-TRI), as well as another optical HR sensor made by Scosche and in some cases also a Suunto Spartan Wrist HR that I’m also testing.  I generally consider the Scosche sensors to be the most accurate optical HR sensors for fitness/workouts today.  Note that the numbers you see in the upper right corner are *not* the averages, but rather just the exact point my mouse is sitting over.

Let’s dive into the first data set.  Note all this data is analyzed using the DCR Analyzer, details here.

First up is some intervals from this Saturday.  You can see that I’ve got a pretty even warm-up phase, building intensity.  Then I go into 3xintervals, followed by four much shorter sprints.


As we start off there’s a bit of disagreement between the optical side of the house (all three sensors), and the chest strap.  It’s hard to say who is correct, though I’d likely place it on the optical side of the house this time (FR935/Scosche).  The Suunto unit is a bit off there, bouncing around.  But at the 5 minute marker they all merge.

At they largely stay pretty darn close together for the three interval sets.  You see a little bit of lag on the 2nd interval from the FR935 in the first 30 seconds or so, but it’s not horrible.


As we transition to the four short sprints at the end, things actually match really well.  Except the last one.  What’s going on there?  In that one I was filming the TrainingPeaks video showing the sprint – and it definitely seemed to impact things.  That’s logical – given that I’d have been trying to hold my wrist up for the camera, and thus dorking with the cadence readings.


So overall, pretty good there.  And I know why certain ones were offset compared to others – which is important.

Here’s another interval workout with the 935, and then a Fenix5 paired to an HRM-RUN HR strap.  Also, the Suunto Wrist HR.  In this you can see that outside of the first few minutes (again), the FR935 and HR strap track quite closely.


Which is again, the experience I saw over and over again (and also shown in the data).  When it came to running – there wasn’t much of an issue here, outside of occasional warm-up type oddities in the first few minutes.  Which of course is also common in HR straps.

Next, let’s look at some cycling.  I’ve got some indoor trainer rides, but those are all honestly kinda boring as the sensor works just fine and dandy there.  Just like the Fenix 5 – indoor trainer rides no problem.


Instead, let’s look at this outdoor ride from Sunday as one example of HR data.  This ride actually turned out quite good for HR data from all three units, at least for the first portion of the ride.  The different sensors by and large agreed quite nicely, minus some minor quirks.  I removed the Suunto Spartan Wrist HR data from this plot, because it was too distracting.  You can find that down below in the table if you want.


We do however see around the 2hr marker that things go sideways a little bit.  This seemed to be a lower intensities, mostly when I was coasting downhill along some occasionally rougher terrain through a park of sorts.


We this same decoupling towards the end of the ride as well – also at lower intensities.


Thus the pattern seems to be a bit where as long as I was riding along with some effort, it was doing pretty well.  But if I got into rougher roads with less intensity – then it fell apart a bit.

Which, is all roughly in line with what I saw for the Fenix5 as well.  It works well enough for me during running – even through intervals.  However, cycling is a mixed bag.  Indoors it’s fine, and outdoors as long as there is some evenness within intensity (or roads), then it works out pretty well.  But if I drop intensity and then combine that with rougher roads – it tends to struggle.

Lastly, here’s a table of all my activities on final or near-final software from the last 3-4 weeks:

FR935 Data Sets

DateWorkout TypeData TypeUnits UsedComparison Link
Mar 26thCyclingGPS/HRFR935, Edge 820 + HRM-RUN, Spartan Wrist HR, FR735XT with ScoscheAnalyze
Mar 25ndRunningGPSHRFR935, Fenix 3 + HRM-RUN, Spartan Wrist HR, FR735XT with ScoscheAnalyze
Mar 24thCycling (Indoor)HR FocusedFR935 Optical, Suunto Wrist HR, Scosche Rhytm+, TICKRX HR StrapAnalyze
Mar 22ndRunningGPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5 + HRM-RUN, Spartan Wrist HR, FR735XT no HRMAnalyze
Mar 20thRunningGPS/HRFenix 5, Spartan Wrist HR, Fenix 3 with HRM-RUNAnalyze
Mar 19thCycling (Easy)GPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5, Spartan Wrist HR, Edge 1000 with TICKR-XAnalyze
Mar 12-18thSkiingGPS/HRFR935Single device only
Mar 8thCyclingGPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5, Wahoo BOLT with TICKR HRAnalyze
Mar 7thOpenwater SwimGPSFR935, Fenix 5, Fenix 3 on Swim Buoy (Reference)Analyze
Mar 4thRunningGPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5, Suunto Spartan Ultra, Fenix 3 with HRM-TRIAnalyze

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy sections were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well, more details here.)

GPS Accuracy:


There’s likely no topic that stirs as much discussion and passion as GPS accuracy.  A watch could fall apart and give you dire electrical shocks while doing so, but if it shows you on the wrong side of the road?  Oh hell no, bring on the fury of the internet!

GPS accuracy can be looked at in a number of different ways, but I prefer to look at it using a number of devices in real-world scenarios across a vast number of activities.  I use 2-6 other devices at once, trying to get a clear picture of how a given set of devices handles conditions on a certain day.  Conditions include everything from tree/building cover to weather.

Over the years I’ve continued to tweak my GPS testing methodology.  For example, I try to not place two units next to each other on my wrists, as that can impact signal. If I do so, I’ll put a thin fabric spacer of about 1”/3cm between them.  But often I’ll simply carry other units by the straps, or attach them to my shoulder straps of a CamelBak.  Plus, wearing multiple watches on the same wrist is well known to impact optical HR accuracy too.

Next, as noted I use just my daily training routes.  Using a single route over and over again isn’t really indicative of real-world conditions, it’s just indicative of one trail.

When it comes to the data I’m focusing on for accuracy details in this review, I’m going to mostly limit it to the last few weeks, since earlier data was beta data.  Though in those earlier beta builds, I had no issues with GPS accuracy.

First, let’s just start off with a run in/around the city.  Note as with the optical HR data, all this data is analyzed using the DCR Analyzer.

This run passes under tunnels, over bridges, and right alongside 6-10 story buildings.  Here’s the high level overview.


But let’s dig into some challenging sections – such as turning onto the bridge – did it handle that correctly?


It seems to – all units nicely cross the bridge without ending up in the water.  They also correctly navigate exactly where I was on the path.  Next, looking at the turnaround near Bastille, three of the four units correctly plot that turn, including the FR935.


However, as we get back down the other end of the canal, some units do go for a brush with the buildings.  I ran right alongside the building and the Fenix 5 and FR735XT end up in the building slightly, whereas the FR935 doesn’t and correctly tracks.

It also correctly tracks through the tunnel that’s seen in the lower left of this image.


In short, on this run there’s no issues with GPS accuracy of the FR935.  And that’s indicative of what I saw on other running activities as well.

So what about something trickier – like an openwater swim?  Well, here ya go:


As you can see, all three units tracked actually quite closely.  There’s maybe a brief moment of track oddity around the mid-point, which is roughly when I stopped to take some photos/video, which might explain that.  Also towards the end the FR935 adds a little bit of distance as well:


Now, when it comes to cycling I largely see good results.  There’s honestly not a lot to analyze.  You can dig through the results below – but things are pretty darn clean, which is usually the case for most GPS units.  The higher speed means that there’s less room for GPS to ‘wander’.

Lastly, here’s a table of all my activities on final or near-final software from the last 3-4 weeks.  Note that in general I’m excluding activities where I didn’t have multiple devices, or excluding activities where GPS isn’t involved (i.e. indoor treadmill runs or similar).

FR935 Data Sets

DateWorkout TypeData TypeUnits UsedComparison Link
Mar 26thCyclingGPS/HRFR935, Edge 820 + HRM-RUN, Spartan Wrist HR, FR735XT with ScoscheAnalyze
Mar 25ndRunningGPSHRFR935, Fenix 3 + HRM-RUN, Spartan Wrist HR, FR735XT with ScoscheAnalyze
Mar 24thCycling (Indoor)HR FocusedFR935 Optical, Suunto Wrist HR, Scosche Rhytm+, TICKRX HR StrapAnalyze
Mar 22ndRunningGPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5 + HRM-RUN, Spartan Wrist HR, FR735XT no HRMAnalyze
Mar 20thRunningGPS/HRFenix 5, Spartan Wrist HR, Fenix 3 with HRM-RUNAnalyze
Mar 19thCycling (Easy)GPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5, Spartan Wrist HR, Edge 1000 with TICKR-XAnalyze
Mar 12-18thSkiingGPS/HRFR935Single device only
Mar 8thCyclingGPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5, Wahoo BOLT with TICKR HRAnalyze
Mar 7thOpenwater SwimGPSFR935, Fenix 5, Fenix 3 on Swim Buoy (Reference)Analyze
Mar 4thRunningGPS/HRFR935, Fenix 5, Suunto Spartan Ultra, Fenix 3 with HRM-TRIAnalyze

All of the above link to the DCR Analyzer data, which you can then dig into the individual activities in more detail if you’d like.  Further, you can download the original data at the bottom of each page.

Connect IQ & 3rd Parties:


Like almost every wearable Garmin has made in the last few years, the Forerunner 935 includes support for Garmin Connect IQ, which is Garmin’s app platform that 3rd party apps can take advantage of.  Said platform has thousands of apps covering all sorts of things from Uber to watch faces to specialized apps for very specific race scenarios.  Basically, it allows companies or hobbyists to not only integrate with 3rd party services, but also to bridge the gap where the base device may be missing a feature.

The FR935 includes the same support for Connect IQ version 2.2.3+, which is the latest version of Connect IQ.  That will enable it to support newer apps over the next while.  This includes 2MB for apps, or up to 32 individual apps – whatever you reach first.  Additionally, it also has 64 color support, also the same as the Fenix 5 and Chronos series.

In the case of 3rd party support, you’ll see both apps that can be downloaded – as well as some that are actually pre-installed.  For example, TrainingPeaks is now preinstalled as an app – which offers the ability for you to iterate through structured workouts directly from their platform.

In addition, you’ll see other pre-loaded apps like Strava Segments, which allows you to race Strava Segments in real-time.  That works identically to how the FR735XT works, which I covered in this video.

Those Strava Segments are downloaded automatically to your FR935 based on Garmin’s connection to Strava behind the scenes.  The watch will then give you updates for how you’re competing against the leaderboard in real-time as you race the segment (running or cycling):


Afterwards, it’ll update accordingly on the Strava site (once you upload your activity upon ending it).  Again, nothing super new here when it comes to these features.

In many ways, what’s most notable is beneath the covers and came in the form of updates last fall during the ANT+ Symposium.  These updates have given app developers far more connectivity to the watch.  For example, the Training Peaks integration isn’t some sort of special secret back door between the two companies.  Rather, it’s just TrainingPeaks leveraging the new capability to hand-off files (workouts) to the watch via your smartphone connection.  It’s the exact same functionality that Xert uses on the Garmin Edge lineup.  The only difference? Garmin simply placed the TrainingPeaks app on your FR935 by default.  Just one file placed there, that’s it.  For everyone else – you can simply go to the Garmin Connect IQ app store and download it for free.

Still – all of these apps are cool. Be it ones that Garmin is highlighting as part of partnerships, or smaller apps from hobbyist developers that you’ve never heard of.  In fact, sometimes the smaller ones are the coolest ones.

Sensor Support (ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart):


The Fenix 5 series was the first Garmin unit to not only support a slew of ANT+ sensors, but also now supports Bluetooth Smart sensors.  The Garmin FR935 then followed along in those same footsteps.  Previously Garmin would only utilize the Bluetooth side of the house for connecting to your phone via Bluetooth Smart.  Now however, you can connect to both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart sensors, assuming both follow published standards.

At present, the FR935 supports the following sensor types:

ANT+ External Heart Rate Sensor
ANT+ Cycling Power Meter
ANT+ Cycling Speed-only, Cadence-only, and Speed/Cadence Combo Sensors
ANT+ Running Footpod
ANT+ Gear Shifting Profile (SRAM RED eTAP/Campagnolo EPS)
ANT+ External Temperature Sensors (Tempe)
ANT+ Lighting Systems (Garmin Varia/Bontrager lights)
ANT+ Radar Systems (Garmin Varia Radar)
ANT+ Remote Display (Varia Vision heads up display)
ANT+ Muscle Oxygenation Sensor (i.e. Moxy/BSX)
ANT Shimano Di2 Gear Shifting Profile
ANT Garmin VIRB Action Camera Control
ANT Garmin RD (Running Dynamics) pod
Bluetooth Smart External Heart Rate Sensor
Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed-only, Cadence-only, and Speed/Cadence Combo Sensors
Bluetooth Smart Cycling Power Meters
Bluetooth Smart Running Footpods

Phew! Lots of sensor types!

Now, the most important wording I noted above was ‘follow published standards’.  On the ANT+ side, this means either following specific adopted ANT+ profiles (i.e. the heart rate sensor or gear shifting profile), or in a few limited cases, following company-specific standards.  For example, Shimano Di2 doesn’t technically follow the ANT+ gear shifting standard, rather, they’ve done their own thing.  But they were the first to do that thing, so everyone supports it anyway.

Where things get messy is private/extended variants of standards, especially on the Bluetooth Smart side.  For example – running dynamics.  There is no standard on either ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart for running dynamics type data (i.e. vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc…).  Instead, Garmin uses private-ANT (just like Shimano does for Di2).  And other companies like Wahoo with the TICKR series use private methods over Bluetooth Smart.  Though, these aren’t compatible.  Meaning that you’ll get base heart rate data – but you won’t get any running dynamics stuff when using a non-Garmin strap.  Maybe some day, but today is not that day.

The same is true of offline data, meaning the ability for a heart rate strap to cache/save data when not connected to a watch.  Garmin uses this with the HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM heart rate straps to save data while you swim, because it can’t send that data to the watch through the water.  When connected again, Garmin uses the standard ANT+ ANTfs offloading capability to allow a watch to download that data.  This is a published standard (and has been for more than half a decade).

However, others don’t follow this standard, and there is no equivalent published standard for offloading fitness data on Bluetooth Smart.  Thus other companies do it differently.  For example, both Polar’s new H10 and Wahoo’s TICKR-X can save data offline, as can Stryd, Suunto and 4iiii heart rate straps.  But none do so the same way on Bluetooth Smart, let alone utilize the ANT+ ANTfs standard for offloading.

Said more simply: You’ll need a Garmin HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM strap to download data.  And you’ll need either a Garmin HRM-TRI/HRM-RUN/RD Pod to get running dynamics.


Note that I’ve included a full review of the RD Pod here in this postc.

Of course, folks could pressure both sides of the equation to support other standards.  For example, folks could pressure Garmin to open up Running Dynamics to be an ANT+ standard for a variety of efficiency metrics (nobody has tried harder to pressure them to do so than I).  And inversely, folks could pressure companies like Wahoo and 4iiii to support ANTfs offloading of data from the strap for offline access.

Finally – some might wonder if you can use Polar’s H7/H10 and other like straps that transmit heart rate signals underwater live, to do so to the FR935 (underwater).  The answer is no.  That’s because while underwater the Polar device doesn’t use Bluetooth Smart to connect to these straps, but rather an analog frequency (the same one used for gym treadmills and such), which Garmin doesn’t support.

Here’s a simplified FAQ section, since I’ve seen about 1,291 questions about this:

Will the FR935 support running dynamics from my Wahoo TICKR strap?

No, see above for details.  It will read the heart rate data just fine.

Will the Garmin FR935 connect to my PowerTap P1 pedals via Bluetooth Smart?

Yes, they can. You’ll connect both sides (Left/Right) and the Garmin will properly track left/right balance.  However, because there is no standard for Torque Efficiency and Pedal Smoothness on Bluetooth Smart, you won’t get those unless you connect via ANT+.  The general guidance of *every* power meter company I talk to in the industry is given the option to connect your power meter over ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart, always choose ANT+.

Will my power meter work flawlessly over Bluetooth Smart?

I’m just gonna be straight about this now: This will continue to be a mess.  Garmin has done a pretty good job in getting compatibility working for the dozen+ ways that power meter companies have adopted the Bluetooth Smart standards in power meters.  In the few BLE power meters I’ve tested, they’ve worked.  But I haven’t tested every firmware version of every unit out there – and I can guarantee some don’t work.  It sucks.  A lot.  Garmin isn’t the only one shaking their head.  Everyone is.  Different companies handle it differently.  Suunto has tried as well to just ‘make it work’ as quickly as possible, while Polar seems to drag its heels on making things work.  Everyone I talk to in the industry here about this topic truly sighs and puts their head in their hands in frustration.

Who to blame is a mixed bag, but either way, the consumer is left holding said bag.  The good news is that every power meter out there except the Polar power meters support dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, so just use ANT+ and don’t worry about it.

Will the FR935 connect to my Polar strap underwater?

No, said Polar strap uses analog signals to broadcast underwater.  Garmin doesn’t have that hardware in the Forerunner series to connect to that.

Does this mean the end of ANT+?

Not likely.  I do think it applies pressure to ANT+ though to maintain relevance, but I think they can do that through things like standardizing running metrics and stuff – thus encouraging companies to utilize the platform. But until the day comes where I can look back on the preceding 6-12 months and say that every Bluetooth Smart power meter (or cycling sensor) has worked flawlessly with every head unit (from a connection standpoint), then ANT+ will likely continue to do quite well.

Can I connect multiple Bluetooth Smart sensors?

Yes and no.  You can connect multiple sensors to an FR935 – no issues there.  However, you cannot connect multiple devices to a single Bluetooth Smart sensor.  So if you’re connected to your Bluetooth Smart heart rate strap with the Zwift app (on your phone), then the FR935 will be unable to connect to it as well.  That’s because Bluetooth Smart at this time cannot accept multiple master device connections.

Bluetooth 5.0 does resolve this (upcoming), but so did Bluetooth 4.1 – and nobody has adopted either from a sensor standpoint in the sports industry yet.  ANT+ does not have these limitations, a key reason it’s used in gym/coaching scenarios today.

Bugs & Quirks:

I often include a section in my review about specific bugs and quirks seen in the product.  From a software development standpoint, there’s often a fine line between a bug that needs fixing – and what the software industry calls ‘by design’.  Meaning it’s not technically a bug, but rather something that’s designed that way (however sucky that might be).  In my case, I’m going to call those ‘quirks’.

In general, I’m drawing the line that I’m only going to cover bugs seen in the final production version of things.  After all – that’s somewhat the point of beta – to rid itself of bugs.  I have however been tracking bugs I saw during beta, and specifically validating those have been fixed in the production version.

Also, note that I’m specifically looking at issues *I’ve encountered* during swim/bike/run/ski/hike/daily use/etc…  This isn’t designed to be the end-all-be-all of bugs that may exist in the product.

What’s interesting here though is that with the mostly shared code based on the Fenix side, bugs I’ve been finding have been taken care of there first.  Plus any bugs I’ve found on the FR935 they’ve resolved within a few days.  So my ‘bug list’ if you will is incredibly small, nitpicking items at best. For example one of the last sport type widgets doesn’t quite seem to be pulling the correct workout type by default (but can easily be changed), but even that’s only something I happened to notice because I was taking a bunch of photos for this review this weekend.

If there’s anything that falls into this category, it’d be that optical HR sensor accuracy while cycling certainly leaves something to be desired.  A complaint I echoed in my Fenix 5 in-depth review.

As with all companies, it’s not so much having bugs in a product that’s concerning (as every company/product has bugs) – but rather, it’s how quickly a company responds to unexpected bugs.  Both in terms of initial triage via support channels, as well as then, of course, issuing a fix in short shorter via updated firmware.  Generally speaking Garmin is pretty good about earlier issues in new products, usually fixing most oddities pretty quickly in the first few weeks/months.  Given that the codebase is shared with the Fenix 5 series, that helps in having a broader number of people and getting updates out quicker.

Product Comparison Tool:

I’ve added the Garmin FR935 into the product comparison tool, allowing you to compare it against numerous other products I’ve reviewed and/or hands-on time with.  For the purposes of the below chart, I’ve placed it against the Fenix 5 and Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR.  But you can easily mix and match to compare it against any products in the database, here at the product comparison tool.

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated December 18th, 2018 @ 8:25 pmNew Window
Product Announcement DateMar 29th, 2017Jan 4th, 2017Jan 4th, 2017
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMar 29th, 2017March 2017Mar 31st, 2017
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesYesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFi (Sapphire only)USB & Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingYes - 50mYes - 100mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)Up to 24hrs in GPS-on, up to 50hrs in UltraTrac GPSUp to 24hrs in GPS-on, up to 75hrs in UltraTrac GPSUp to 50 hours
Recording Interval1S or Smart1S or SmartVariable
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreat
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYesYEsNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYesSteps only (not distance/sleep)
MusicGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Can control phone musicYEsYesNo
Has music storage and playbackNoNoNo
Streaming ServicesNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Bluetooth Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) to Phone UploadingYEsYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesNo
Group trackingYesYesNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for cyclingYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYEsYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYEsYesNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYEsYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesYesNo
Crash detectionNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for runningYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YEsYesYes
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)No
Running PowerWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (or 3rd party Stryd/RunScribe)With extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYesYEsYes
Race PredictorYesYesNo
Recovery AdvisorYEsYesYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for swimmingYEsYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesYEsYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)WITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)Yes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYEsYes
Indoor Drill ModeYesYesNo
Indoor auto-pause featureNo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No
Change pool sizeYEsYEsYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths17M/18Y TO 150M/Y17M/18Y TO 150Y/M15m/y to 1,200m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesYes
Can change yards to metersYEsYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsYesYesNo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Designed for triathlonYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureYEsYEsYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Auto Start/StopYEsYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYEsYEsNo
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YEsYesNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataYesYesNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)YesYesno
GeocachingVia GPS coordinatesVia GPS coordinatesNo
Weather Display (live data)YesYesno
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYEsYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYEsYesYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoYes (5X Only)No
Back to startYesYesYes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoYes (5X Only)No
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricGPS
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYes
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)NoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesno
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesYesNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesYesNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)No
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)YesYesNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YEsYesNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYEsYesNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYEsYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYEsYesYes (+ Stryd Running Power Meter)
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYEsYEsYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YEsYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)YesYesNo
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYEsYes-
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressPC/Mac
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectSuunto Movescount
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save a bunch with Clever Training VIP programLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 (5/5S/5X)Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR
Review LinkLinkLinkLink

Again – remember you can make your own comparisons using the comparison tool here.



The FR935 is a very solid and capable product – and one that builds nicely on last year’s FR735XT, while offering a slightly lower priced option compared to the more fashion-focused Fenix 5 series.  The tech and features inside it work just as well as the Fenix 5.  And while the benefits are minimal over recent products, they are more substantial when comparing it against older watches like the FR920 or much older FR910XT, 310XT, and so on.

But I suspect there will (probably rightly), be some disappointed people with one area: The size/form factor.  Specifically that for triathletes, many have actually enjoyed the larger/rectangular display seen on the FR920XT and the umpteen generations before it.  On the flip-side, runners will likely be happy since they’ve now got an upgrade option for those that want all the fancy features in a slimmer running focused unit.

The benefit though to Garmin’s consolidation on watch formats (i.e making it round) is that they’re also consolidating on code bases.  That has a very real-world impact to stability of the product.  The fact that this product will be available immediately, and likely with few visible bugs is a testament to the software being the Fenix 5 codebase that’s been used for many months by hundreds of testers.  It also means that going forward, it won’t end up an orphaned product since it’s tied like a conjoined twin to the hip of the juggernaut in Garmin that is the Fenix product lineup.  Sometimes there’s safety in numbers.

If you’re looking for a great little triathlon watch that has all the features of the Fenix 5 without the price tag of it – then the FR935 is a very solid option.  Especially since it ships starting…today. Just in time for the season.

Found this review useful? Wanna support the site? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP Program, you will earn 10% points on this item and 10% off (instantly) on thousands of other fitness products and accessories.  Points can be used on your very next purchase at Clever Training for anything site-wide.  You can read more about the details here.  By joining, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers.  And, since this item is more than $75, you get free 3-day (or less) US shipping as well.

Garmin FR935 (Bundle and base) – Use VIP to get 10% of your purchase price in points back
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Thanks for reading!

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  1. Oliver Christmas


  2. Suleiman

    Finally. but my 920xt is still brand new

    • fiatlux

      Mine is no longer brand new but far from worn out.

      More than the form factor it is the button size that makes me cautious.

      My first sports watch was a FR305 which I loved. When it died I went for a 405CX which I instantly hated: small stiff buttons and unreliable touch bezel. I cannot count the times the bezel would not react or I though I had started/stopped a recording when in fact I did not…

      In that respect my 920XT is closer to the 305 and its big buttons are easier to deal with, especially in the heat of an interval training.

  3. Willie Swart

    Hi Ray

    Is it just me or is the comparison tool not updated. The 935 does not show in the tool and the the chart only has the Fenix and Suunto columns.

    Besides that. Thank you for the great review.

    I almost wish Garmin would slow down because I really want to get the most out of my FR920 before I upgrade.

  4. Andew

    Howdy Ray,

    Do you think that this watch will get all add on updates that the higher end fenix series will get over the life of the units?

    I know in the past Garmin has come up with cool updates but reserved them for higher priced watches.

    Thank you,

    • I suspect so, but at the same time – always hard to know for certain.

    • Tim Grose

      I think Ray has essentially already answered that with comments about the same codebase. Other than the 5X mapping of course, don’t think the 935 is missing anything feature wise? Why it has even got golf which is great as I can finally standardise on one watch for all my sporting endeavours.

    • bobho

      no mapping except on 5x certainly put it at a disadvantage for those who like smaller watches than the 5X and want that, or use the watch for both fitness and other things… where android/apple have that.

      i do like to have car-style routing myself and having it on the watch means i dont need a bike computer at all (or to pop the phone every 5min…) for example…

  5. luca

    there is no fr935 on the comparison tool, also on this page, the comparison is between f5 and Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

  6. I think you forgot one of the entries in the comparison table 🙂

  7. Martin Mortensen


    Thank you so much for this fantastic review! I now have to convince my significant other that this is something that I cannot live without…

    It seems like it has disappeared from the product comparison tool!

  8. Simon.noz

    Great review, much appreciated.
    OMG 735xt which will probably go down in price or 935?

  9. j

    thanks for the review Ray..

    one question, i cannot seem to find training peaks on the connect iq app nor on the website…

    • Mario Lira Junior

      Me neither to be honest. I have also searched on TrainingPeaks, and they still list only the file loading method, which is a real pain…
      Google did not point me to the app either…

    • I’ve been told it should be there today. I’ll check back and see what’s up.

    • Seth

      IT’s there- search by newest. My question- is there any chance the app begins to support older devices like the 920xt?

    • Mario Lira Junior

      Thanks guys, but as Seth says it doesn´t support the 920xt, although I can´t see why, if it just a file uploader at heart

    • Seth

      I actually emailed Training Peaks and got the following response:
      Hi Seth,

      Unfortunately the 920XT hardware is not compatible with the features of the Connect IQ platform that our app requires. From what I have been told it is more than just one hardware limitation which make this not possible.


      Ben Pryhoda
      Sr. Director of Product
      Device and API Integrations

    • Aaron

      For older models that support CIQ you can get planned workouts directly to your Garmin watch with an app like Genius Wrist. This has the benefit of supporting structured steps with mixed goals (duration, distance, heart-rate, cadence, power, pace, etc).

      It also has direct integration with the structured planned workouts calendar in SportTracks.

      link to geniuswrist.com

      It doesn’t seem like there’s a good reason for TP to not allow workout builder on older models, since Genius Wrist can do it.

    • Jeremy

      File uploading requires CIQ 2, while the 920xt only supports CIQ 1.

    • It doesn’t seem like there’s a good reason for TP to not allow workout builder on older models, since Genius Wrist can do it.

      Aaron, isn’t Genius Wrist re-implementing workouts in its own app, where TrainingPeaks is using the native watch capabilities? What GW has done is a much bigger job than just downloading the files. Don’t get me wrong, it’s impressive, but you’re not comparing like with like, and in particular, as Jeremy says, downloading files into the native system didn’t make it into CIQ 1.x

  10. Luca

    What happens with the 920xt? Will it be discontinued?

    • Michl

      Nah,probably not. Heck, you can still buy brand-new 910XTs, I don’t think the 920 will go away any time soon

    • Su-Chong Lim

      My favourite is still FR 910XT — I’m still using mine. I don’t really have any use for all the bells and whistles of the 920XT (even if I really believed they had relevance, let alone a semblance of accuracy) let alone the 935. I use mine for running mostly, and recording the whole of a Triathlon race. I use Garmin Edge 500 (I just bought a 520 to replace it) when bike training, and to give me real time bike head unit info during a Tri race, although my 910XT is still recording all the Tri race information.

      BTW, on my recommendation my buddy got a reconditioned 910XT at a substantial discount from the local GPS warehouse and really loved it, until his car got broken into and it got stolen. He promptly went out and bought another reconditioned 910XT.

  11. Apran

    So Mr. Ray which is better fenix5 or 935 (for triatlhon use) ? 🙂

    • Tim Grose

      Functionally nothing it would seem. Depends then if you want a lighter watch with a QR capability that is cheaper but to some eyes may not look quite as nice although looks nice to me.

    • Chris

      935 has a quick release kit, Fenix doesn’t.

    • Also 935 is 40g lighter than the 5. Just worked out in Best Bike Split that will save me 2.184 seconds on my first Ironman in Maastricht on the bike leg alone ?

    • max

      If you go to sauna with your watch like I do (because I can’t read the dark sandglasses) the 935 with its plastic is better then the fenix5 surrounded by metal. The watches can stand it without problems. I use my 920xt that way since years. It looks a little bit stupid, but it is comfortable with a intervall training of 10min sauna, 10min rest … :-).

  12. Adam


    Thanks for the great review as always! As for the TrainingPeaks Connect IQ app, will this be compatible with older units, notably the fenix 3 and Edge 820? Also, does it capture all the same metrics as the native Garmin apps (e.g. running dynamics data).

    It doesn’t seem to be available in the Connect IQ store at all yet, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  13. Tomer Shahar

    Will the TrainingPeaks app will be available for the Fenix 3?

  14. frank

    How does it compare in size against the Fenix 5S, for small wrists? It’s difficult to see on the photo’s.

  15. Craig

    Ray (or anyone else out there who has some experience to share),

    I’m looking for a dedicated hiking watch and can’t decide between the Fenix 5X, , the 935 and the Spartan Sport.

    Would you lean a certain way or recommend one over the other two ?

    • Tim Grose

      Depends if you want real maps or want to save some money…

    • Paul S.

      For only hiking? Does it have to be a watch?

    • Craig

      I think prefer something on my wrist but if there is a compelling reason for a hand held unit I could be convinced. i had an etrex 10 and just never bought it with me since it was extra weight and the controls were horrible.

      I did consider getting a GPSMAP 64st but the longer battery life of the fenix et al and smaller size was attractive.

      I really just need something to quickly track distance and see how far it is to our next camp.

    • Paul S.

      There are advantages and disadvantages to a handheld. I’m not that familiar with the current handheld lineup that Garmin has, but I do have an old 60CSx. The advantages are a bigger and better screen, a better antenna so GPS tracks should be better, a microSD slot to enable fast map swapping or extra space, and some run on regular batteries that can be found anywhere, so there’s no need to bring equipment to recharge it. My 60CSx will do 18 hours with 2 AA batteries. The newer ones all have ANT+ and connect with sensors if you want things like heart rate. The disadvantages are the size/weight. If you hike with poles or your hands are otherwise occupied (I usually hike with a not so obedient dog that needs to be kept on a leash), use a watch. Since I want maps, for hiking or cross country skiing I use an Epix. If your hands are usually free, a handheld might be the better way to go. You can’t wear it on your wrist, but they can be clipped to a belt or backpack strap. As Tim says, if you want real maps on a watch there’s only one choice, the 5X (unless you can find an Epix still being sold and you don’t mind the remaining bugs), and since you want distances to camp sites, it sounds like you might want maps.

    • Scott Hunter

      Personally, I wouldn’t bother with the Garmin 5X maps. For hiking, just use an iPhone 7 (waterproof), loaded with a decent topo map of your local area, a spare power pack, and use the basic navigation feature on the Fenix 5 for navigating to your chosen co-ordinates.

  16. Scott Hunter

    Hi Ray, thanks for the review. Your review says Fenix 5 starts at 84g – assuming you are referring to the series, the 5S is 67g? Can’t decide on this or the Fenix 5S black sapphire to replace my Forerunner 630. This will probably be better for racing as it is lighter.

  17. Harald Bootz


    now I´ve almost decided to replace my F3 with a F5 – and now the 935 comes along
    still good looking, all F5 features, but lower price and half the weight

    It would have been so easy – and now… phew…

  18. Martin

    Feel a bit cheated that this one is announce just as the F5 shipped. I mean im super happy with my brand new F5 but this one is basically same watch, with wifi but much more price worthy.

  19. Lars Ejaas

    Well: Really nice watch!

    As a pure runner that emphasis weight of the watch highly, I can’t see why you would buy the Fenix5 over Forerunner 935XT – am I missing something??

    • No reason besides wanting a different style.

    • Julien

      I agree – I am not particularly a small runner (1m80 and 75kg) and I do find the weight of the F3 to be too much and it actually does bother me on longer runs.

      I do miss my Vivo rectangual and light but I left it somewhere and lost it. Seems like this will be a good option for me when ready to upgrade in couple of years

    • Nick Yanakiev

      I am completely puzzled by this move on Garmin’s part.

      What company releases a premium watch that is closely followed by a pretty much similar device that is cheaper?!!!

      Ray, I didn’t see a section on “what should one buy”? The FR935 is simply a repackaged F5 with wifi for $100 less… I feel cheated!

    • Matthew B.

      It’s a lower quality materials watch with the same performance. It’s close enough to the F5 actual release that you could easily return it if you feel that upset about it.

      It was a pretty business savvy move (albeit not customer friendly) to basically not announce the 935 in an effort to increase sales and buzz for the Fenix 5 — they were basically both on the same release timeline.

    • It’s not like it’s been that much of a secret, we’ve had photos of the 935 for ages which have “accidentally” become public as well as a magazine carrying an advert for it a week ago. Garmin seem to be getting better at managing these things and letting just enough information slip out that anyone with a search engine can avoid buying the wrong watch a little too early. After all, they don’t want hundreds of returns and we don’t want to buy a watch and be stung by the next release so this is a good thing to me (I may be biased…)

  20. Will

    Someone else will have probably already mentioned it, but the inline comparison tables don’t actually include the 935 for me (735XT is also missing)

  21. Josh

    You show the 935 as available today but i dont see anyone who is shipping it or has it in stock, please advise?

    • I know Clever Training is expecting some today, so I think they’re waiting to see what time they arrive before listing the exact number/availability today.

    • Brad

      Was waiting for this one. The fenix3/5 just seems too heavy on the wrist. Anyone know when Clever Training or anyone else will ship? No details yet on CT.

    • Josh

      Both base and bundle?

    • Stephen

      They are in stock @ Wiggle in the UK if that helps.

    • midpackbiped

      damn you DCR. -$500 later…

    • Tim

      The feedback I received (9am Central, April 5) from Clever Training on my order, placed around noon March 29, is that the “manufacturer has not provided this item to us for shipping. We are hopeful that a shipment will be arriving in our warehouse within the next week… manufacturer has not yet provided a definitive timeline for delivery.”

  22. Greg Hilton

    Do you know who has it available for shipping today? Clever training UK says early May.

  23. Stephen

    “Don’t do the YMCA song at the end of the lane, even if at the YMCA.”

    Sorry. Yes… this was me. I was only happy because I’d taken 30s off of a set for a new PB. You should have come say hello. At least I wasn’t swimming in my Speedo builders costume 😉

    Great review. I may replace my Ambit 3 Peak with one of these.

    • Josh

      I’m thinking the same thing Stephen. Too many cool features on these newer watches. My Ambit 3 Peak is solid, but would be nice to have a watch that does it all.

  24. Gregory simmons

    How is the backlight? Side Casio style like the other running Garmin watches or full screen timex like the fenix?

  25. Cyril

    your videos are getting better and better. Nice work on technical side (image quality & sound) but also the attitude (presentation skills), very pleasant to watch !
    Keep up the good work.

  26. Ryan M.

    Had to go on to Garmin’s site to find the compatible devices for the Running Dynamics Pod. Disappointed (but not in the least bit surprised) that it’s limited to

    fēnix® 5
    fēnix® 5S
    fēnix® 5X
    fēnix® Chronos
    Forerunner® 735XT
    Forerunner® 935

    • Tim Grose

      Well it would need to be compatible with an HRM-Run or Tri in the first place just to have the data pages compatibility. I think the main point of is to have RD functionality in devices that you probably would not necessarily have a compatible strap already but were interested in it.

    • Ryan M.

      Understood. Was merely coming as a 235 user who would order the RD pod in a second if it was compatible.

      Surprised the 630 didn’t make the cut for it though.

    • Panos

      I am a bit disappointed that fēnix® 3 isn’t supported.

  27. Jimmy

    Will my Edge 520 be able to provide HR data from the watch’s optical hr sensor?

  28. arian

    great review as always! would love to see the 920xt in the size comparison – you know, compare it with the precursor.

  29. Phil S

    Thanks Ray
    In your Fenix 5 review you said ‘ I suspect that either the 5 or the 5S will become my daily watch going forward’.
    Does this change things? Will the 935 be your daily watch
    I have just ordered a non-Sapphire Fenix 5 but not opened yet.
    Should I send it back and get a 935?

    • It’s down to either the 935 or the F5, haven’t quite decided which one yet.

      Here in Paris I’ve found I get fewer strange looks (none) with the Fenix 5, whereas the FR935 was definitely getting me the Americana treatment almost instantly. Perhaps it was the yellow bands…

    • ekutter

      Ya, that yellow band might be a deal breaker for any everyday watch. Unless you’re wearing your yellow business suit.

      With a non-descript band, seems like the ideal everyday watch.

    • Yeah, I could easily put on the black band – since all FR935 units come with a black band.

    • Michael Swann

      I have a Force Yellow Forerunner 230. I bought a black band so it would be more discrete at work. Had it on for less yhan a week and got bored with it. I put the yellow band back on.

    • Kraig


      I am, and am sure others are as well, curious what your decision for a daily driver was – Fenix 5 or the 935? Or something else? It appears in post #806 that you are “likely” going to make the 935 your main running watch but as I make my decision I’m curious where you landed since you have both to play with!

      As always, thanks for the work you do and the guidance you give us all!


    • I plan it to be the FR935. Right now I’m using the Fenix 5, but that’s merely because I haven’t shipped over from the US my FR935 yet (still sitting in my forwarding box). Probably next week.

      For me the main reason is size and weight (I just prefer smaller watches), and the secondary reason is the darn ANT+ dropouts on Stryd with the Fenix 5. Right now I’ve been running with both a Fenix 5 and Fenix 3 (old non-HR one), so I can capture the Stryd data. Annoying.

  30. Josep

    So, … besides the plastic casing, the main difference with respect to standard Fenix 5 seems to be shorter battery life in Ultratrac (50 vs 75 hrs)?

    Also, the prices (in EUR) that clever training UK is showing are the same for Fenix 5 and 935 🙁

    • Greg Hilton


      Differences to the Fenix 5 as I see it are weight, wifi built in, QR kit and cheaper (looking at prices on Wiggle and Garmin UK)

    • Ibeti

      Looks like Clevertraining.co.uk might be a little off on the price (since garmin puts it at a (still too high) € 549). If it was 499 it would be such an easy decision, now I will have to feel what they are like on the wrist. And consider how much I want Wifi …

    • If GPS on battery life is the same but ultratrac is different between the units then something tells me there is something going on

    • gijom

      Garmin website says Ultratrac is same between the 2 at 60 hours.
      Other diff is water resistance (5 vs. 10 ATM).
      It does make a difference in my mind as I had to get my 735XT repaired after 80 swims.

    • In case someone wants the link to see what garmin claims:
      link to buy.garmin.com

      Also suggests the 935 doesn’t support “Mountain Biking” while all Fenix 5 units do. (not sure what mountain biking is in terms of watch support)

    • frankie

      Clever Training UK prices higher than RRP – but hey you can get 10% off if you sign up to their newsletter…

      Hopefully they’ll correct to at least the RRP if not better when things settle down. Wiggle in the UK with 5% off ‘Gold’ price seems only in stock option at the moment.

    • Keith

      CT UK price is away over the RRP making the DC CT 10% discount kind of pointless!

  31. Fabian

    “But I suspect there will (probably rightly), be some disappointed people with one area: The size/form factor. Specifically that for triathletes, many have actually enjoyed the larger/rectangular display seen on the FR920XT and the umpteen generations before it”

    here i am. really disappointed about the display. it make no sense , it could be one of the thing that differs the 9** family from the other ones.

    i’m wrong if i say that with Opticar HR some feature such as the “heart rate variability” are less accurate or in some case, unavaiable?

    • Tim Grose

      The display is better than the old rectangular devices and very comparable size anyway so not sure there is anything to really worry about here. I haven’t.

    • I believe the main issue (font) has been sorted. The Fenix 3 was less readable than 920XT because they chose a silly thin font. The 735XT went with the 920XT font and was fine judging by the pictures Ray posted. I have Fenix 3 and 920XT and definitely don’t rate the Fenix 3 for readability so I’ll be double checking this before upgrading either.
      Ray, can you confirm the fonts are similar on F5, 935, 735XT, 920XT and different to F3?

    • gijom

      Fenix 5 and Forerunner 935 use a new font (number 4 is very characteristic) and IMHO it looks great.

    • pete

      why isn’t anyone making a big deal about the resolution and # of colors the display has????

      i feel like I jumped 10 years in technology from my FR235

  32. Paul

    I’m wondering about charging on the go. You mention that it can be charged while in activity mode, correct? Can it be charged while on the bike holder or on the quick release holder? Or will it Have to be put into a pocket or bag while charging?

  33. tim

    I thought I read the whole thing fairly well, then searched back for ” RD ” and found little info about the RD Pod. Another post coming? What does it provide exactly? Planned watch compatibility?


  34. Nedim


    Great review; maybe add the 735 to the comparison table above?

    Speaking of which, 735XT looks hugly, enormously overpriced at $449 now. And if it goes down to $399, the 630 has entirely lost it’s raison d’etre. Some product line cleanup is in order?

    Very smart from Garmin to reuse the F5 innards incl. software. I am therefore even more surprised that Garmin decided to use a lower resolution on the 5s. The way the OS/Connect IQ is laid out, it does require extra work and any hardware savings are doubtful over the long term.

    One final comment on your comment that not including WiFi in base F5 does not make sense: I see the meeting where some Marketing MBA fella or gall is showing a powerpoint explaining why they will upsell more people to the higher priced version, as for $100 one get’s Saphire + WiFi + extra band, making it a no-brainer.

    • Nedim

      And to answer my own question, the FR630 is no longer listed on Garmin’s website. Both the 230/630 are now “previous models”.

  35. Dori

    Should we be worried about the life expectancy of the watch with this plastic shell ?

    • James

      I can’t speak to anything over a year, but the shell on my 230 has taken quite a few hard knocks and really doesn’t show it (you can see if you look really close, but not just by looking at it normally).

    • gingerneil

      I dot worry about breaking it, but I do like the robustness of the F3. The size and weight improvements on the 935 could be excellent, but not if it feels cheap.
      Ray – any comments on the build quality ?
      I love the look of the F5S, but its too expensive and the battery hit is too great. The 935 could be the ideal alternative, assuming the cost in the UK isnt silly. The pricing on CT seems to be the same as dollars.. 🙁

  36. Phillip

    So…is this considered Garmin’s “official” successor to the 920XT or should we expect something like a 930XT later on down the road?

  37. elske

    How many Connect IQ data fields can you add for a single activity? More than the 2 with the Fenix 3?

  38. The Dark Passenger

    So what is exatcly the 735 in the big scheme of things and why should one buy that now? It is a running watch by Garmin own definition…. can we safely say they moved from 630 to 735 skipping 635 alltogether…. and they will….

  39. Santi

    Many thanks Ray for this impressive first review.
    Only a doubt that I would appreciate if you can clarify to me:
    I’m coming from a FR630 and now happy with a 735XT. In both and without wearing a chest strap, you are getting a quiet good VO2 level after some outdoor runnings.
    With the FR935, now is mandatory to use always one HR strap to get this?

  40. Ralph

    Got me by surprise there. I have both 735 for training and racing and VAHR for everything else. I can’t let go of both due to each other’s strengths. One thing that the 735 lacks that the VAHR has is “timer” – and this is very useful for me as I take naps during the day from 5 mins to 30 mins. Question is, does the 935 has one and how do you set HH/MM/SS? With the VAHR since it’s touch screen, I can just tap on the arrows to increase/decrease value. If this unit can, I am willing to let go both VAHR and 735 for a 935.

  41. Jonny

    Hi Ray,

    Any idea on UK pricing and availability? It’s not yet showing on the UK website.


    • Nick Yanakiev

      Wiggle seem to have 10+ in stock ready to dispatch.

    • Correct, it’s basically global availability in major markets immediately.

    • Jonny

      Given the difference in build quality and style a £30 price difference makes the fenix 5 a no-brainer surely?

    • gingerneil

      Not really. What if I want a smaller, lighter watch but without such a major hit on the battery that you get with the F5S ? This is it.

    • Jari Timonen

      I can’t find it at wiggle site… Either one of them 🙁

      I want to have it now!

    • Jari Timonen

      To reply my self: It’s not for international shipping at Wiggle.

    • midpackbiped

      Available immediately? Not on Garmin.com, Amazon, or Clever Training.

    • Michael Coyne

      I just talked to a Clever Training person today asking about that. If you don’t get the bundle option, it should be shipping as soon as they get the watches which should be within a week or so. But if you get the bundle option, you’ll have to wait till early May most likely, as the bundle is being held back by the quick-release’s slower release, as funny as that is to say.

  42. Seb

    What’s about the mountain biking mode ?
    If I read carefully, you mention it but you never precise what’s the difference with biking mode.

    Merci d’avance.

  43. Mircea Puiulet

    Does the 935xt have customization of alarms like the fenix 3 or 5 series? Basically can I set the alarm to go off on only specific days like Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 PM? I was missing that when I moved from the Fenix 3 to the 735XT. The 735XT alarm choices are Weekdays, Weekend, Daily or Never, only.

    • Justin Kremer

      I am curious about this as well. I noticed in the manual that it says you can set up to 10 alarms, and can select when the alarm should repeat, but it doesn’t say how granular that is. Anything is an improvement from my current watch, though.

    • Grégoire Favre

      Now that quiete a few people own this watch, I was wondering if someone could reply to the pending alarms questions on the 935 ?
      Thank you very much.

    • khoo

      Yes, you can set the alarm on Weekly schedule. So you can choose to have the alarm to repeat on anyday of the week.

  44. Tom Shane

    Is it correct, the 935 supports ANT+ weight scale and F5 not? Coming from SW base, it would be strange. If so, do you think there is a chance F5 gets this feature too, and what do you think is the reason some Garmin devices still support the ANT+ scales while others don’t?

  45. JTH

    Does anyone know if it supports recording distance from foot pod even when GPS on?

    If not, does any of the new Garmins offer this option? Fenix 5?

    I think this was an option at least on the Fenix 3.

    I’d like to have the option when using the Stryd connected as a footpod.

    • Tim Grose

      Yes it does allow this for distance although I very rarely have any issues with distance accumulation by GPS on any Garmin device in recent years.

    • JTH


      Overall distance is good on my FR235 but lap pace seems to have some drift which I don’t get with Stryd. So at least for shorter intervals I’d still rather use Stryd, unless the FR935 GPS turns out to be better in this regard.

      I actually like the looks too (weights less and lower profile than Fenix 5) and it even has wifi. Seems like it ticks all the right boxes for me.

  46. Gabe

    Ray – build quality of the 930 similar to the 735xt? Plasticky feel with a plastic screen?

  47. Benjamin G

    Thanks for your useful review.
    How come FR935 ihas got ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym) while Fenix 5X does not? Canthis change with firmware update?
    I really hesitate to buy F5X or FR935…
    Thank you

  48. Joe E

    Ray, great review, so basically a plastic case for the fenix 5s I guess….

    One thing I am really encouraged by, and maybe I am wrong, but has Garmin now harmonized the code base between their Outdoor watches (fenix line) and their Sport Watches (Forerunner line)?

    • Joe E

      Never mind, see that you answered this already in the article, sorry for that 😉

    • Tim Grose

      For these two products it would seem yes but not in general so say the 230/235/630 still sits as a separate set with the 735 seemingly an enhanced (but separate) version of that.

    • Clint

      Per Garmin’s listing, the case material (fiber-reinforced polymer) between the 935 and fenix 5 series. It’s the bezel that’s different; fiber-reinforced polymer on the 935 and stainless steel on the fenix 5 series.

      link to buy.garmin.com

  49. Jan

    Hi Ray,

    I love your reviews and the hard work you put into them. I recently got an Edge 820 which is an awesome device I love to use during cycling. When it comes to the new 935 (and Fenix 5) and there new Training Load features, how do they work together with the Edge 820? Do I have to use both devices (935 & Edge 820) to get an accurate Training Load status or is it synced and incorporated once the cycling activity got uploaded to Garmin Connect?

    Maybe the question was asked before or even in your reviews and I just missed it.

    Thanks for all the work you put into your reviews and tidbits.

    • Tim Grose

      From what have you seen the training load features assume you are wearing the watch all the time.

    • Paul S.

      Hi Ray,
      This is exactly what I would like to know. I also have an 820, and would love to have the full training load info, but I want to keep using my Edge 820 for bike rides.

      Do you expect Garmin will ever make their wearables and bike computer lines aware of workouts from each other? It seems those of us who throw hundreds of dollars at them _multiple times_ would be worth implementing this for.

      On the other hand, if I sell my 820, It will be easier for me to save up the money for the F5X. But I’ll miss the bigger screen adn the remote control on my bike. 🙁

    • Tim Grose

      Simple solution for now is to record on both, save both (so the watch metrics get updated) but possibly delete one or the other from GC afterwards.

  50. Todd

    Just want to confirm…the training pod is NOT compatible with the Fenix3?

  51. David E.

    I think I know the answer to this, but just want to be sure: running cadence is still measured at the wrist, right? Or do you need to get the RD pod to get cadence?

    • Cadence is still from the wrist first. But RD pod will provide better cadence (like a footpod) if used.

    • Tim Grose

      I understand the precedence is RD pod, HRM-Run/Tri, foot pod, watch so the pod has jumped in ahead of the existing three.

    • David E.

      Interesting. Looking forward to Ray’s video on the RD pod. . .

    • It’s on it’s way. Somehow says 29 minutes to finish uploading to YouTube. No idea why on earth it’s taking so long. It’s only like 4-5GB. :-/

    • Jerome Ross

      strange that I have no cadence data with my 935 on any of my runs… is this a metric that must be enabled for the data to go to garmin connect? I do have the running dynamic pages turned off on the watch because I am not interested in seeing the while on the run, but I do appreciate seeing cadence afterwards. Also, when i select Treadmill Running as my activity, i get no distance and no cadence for that run. It’s as if the accelerometer in the watch itself does not exist or is turned off. My daily steps, however, are recorded.

    • Markus G

      Hmm, I just checked my last run and I have cadence data in Garmin Connect web-site as well as in Strava. (no external strap used, just wearing the 935)

      Maybe you can – just for the purpose of testing – activate the dynamics page and check if that page shows you some relevant values.

  52. Kostas Antoniou

    Loved my 735 and I think I wold rather buy 935 from the fenix5 that I had first in mind ! Thanks for the review !

  53. Zachary Miller

    Will any other straps fit this watch? Looking for different colors.

  54. That’s good news but like other people here I see that the price is 549 € on Garmin website and 585€on CT uk 🙁

  55. Thomas Wylie

    As there’s only £30 difference beween the 935 and the Fenix 5 at the moment it seems like the best way to decide between these two is to go and look at them in person and decide which one you like the feel of.

    I’m keeping a close eye on them, but my Fenix 3 is still going strong (Which I got December 2015 for a fairly reasonable £300). I’d mainly be wanting the 24h HR and the stress score/training load stuff.

    I think mostly I’ll wait till they figure out how to implement running power so you can actually use it in workouts, and see if the price comes down or there’s any Christmas deals. Then it’s largely going to be either by feel/style or by whichever one is the best value.

    Their lineup does seem strangely cluttered in terms of price though. Especially in the UK.

    • I think by Christmas there will be rumours of the Fenix 6 which I’m hoping will be a better update from the Fenix 3 I currently have. I’d love a 5 but really cannot see why the £499 Fenix 5 is that much better (even worse if you used wifi) than the £270 I paid for the Fenix 3.

      Still considering the 5X 🙂

  56. Joe E

    Hey Ray, just got Clever Training email advert for the 935 and they are calling the new Garmin Pod a “foot pod” in the materials. May want to let them know it is not a foot pod.

  57. Michael Falk

    No VO2MAX from optical HRM?

  58. Nemo

    Great review as always! Three follow up questions:
    1- When the Quick Release kit ships, will you be updating this post with testing results, or do you think you’ll do a separate post? We’ve all been wondering how a QR strap would work with the optical sensors for a long time now!
    2- Now that a QR kit exists for an HRM with optical sensors, do you have any indication from Garmin that they have plans to develop a QR kit for the Garmin 5 series? I’m guessing the difference in straps (Quickfit vs Original)has something to do with the reason the 935 has one but the 5 series does not.
    3- I’m assuming there’s no indication Garmin will release a 935 S that is similar in size to the 5S. Is that a reasonable assumption?

    • 1) I’ll do something, but I don’t know if that’s a separate post or updating this post. But something.
      2) I haven’t heard anything either way. Obviously, I think it’s pretty crazy not to have one.
      3) Reasonable assumption.

  59. Jackson Cheng

    Hi Ray,

    I have a question about switching between HR sensors mid-race. More and more I dislike running with a HR strap, though it doesn’t bother me while swimming and biking. Let’s say I were doing a triathlon wearing a 935 (or any Garmin with an optical HR sensor) and swam and cycled wearing a HRM-Tri strap, then ditched the strap before I started running. How seamless would the transition from the strap to the optical sensor be? Would the watch be trying to pull data from the strap until I was out of range of it?

    Thanks in advance, and this was another great write-up.

    • Tim Grose

      Interesting scenario that not personally have a need for as don’t mind straps. That said I did a little test and broadcast my OHR from my 735 and set the 935 to pick it up and made sure it was connected. Then started timer (in Treadmill mode as am at a desk indoors) and after a little while turned off broadcast on the 735. Very soon after the 935 showed — but only very briefly then came back straight away with a figure of 70 seemingly from my 935 OHR. This stabilised fairly quickly back to an resting value that I would expect. So looks as if you may get a brief period of nothing but may then be OK.

    • Jackson Cheng

      Thanks for carrying out the experiment for me!

  60. Rob

    On the UK’s leading online sporting goods retailer, the Fenix 5 is £499.99 and the 935 is £469.99, 6% less. You say ‘slightly lower priced’ but this is very marginal – not sure how many people will buy considering they may as well just get the Fenix 5.

    • Stephen

      I just bought mine from Wiggle in the UK for £413 – but that does include my 12% discount.

    • Benjamin G

      What is your discount code on wiggle please? 😉

    • Rob

      And the Fenix 5 would also be 12% cheaper, and there would still only be a 6% difference. My point is why would I not upgrade to the Fenix 5 better quality metal build for 6%? Interestingly I see some people commenting they prefer the 935 as it’s lighter and thinner so maybe it’s more of a personal preference thing – mine is for a metal build.

    • ekutter

      Precisely, personal preference thing. I’d take the lighter plastic body any day. The metal body has been one of the major things keeping me from getting a Fenix in the past largely because of weight. Personally, I actually like the looks of the plastic just as much, if not more, than the metal. All black is a bit less blingy. And have never had a problem with durability of the plastic watches.

    • Scott Hunter

      You can get the Fenix 5S/5/5X with 10% off at Cotswold Outdoor by entering a discount code, so it’s actually cheaper than the 935. They won’t sell the 935 though as it’s not strictly a hiking watch

    • And use Ray’s code at clevertraining.co.uk for 10% as well. Or Wiggle will sometimes haggle so ask them for 12% and see what they say 🙂

    • Anders

      I can’t find it at Wiggle UK. How did you manage to order it?

    • Tim Grose

      Bit like going into a running shoe shop/store wanting a pair of racing flats but coming out with a pair of normal day to day heavier trainers because the price was attractive and you preferred the look of them. Both serve a purpose but maybe not the exact same purpose. Depends what you want… Personally why pay more to carry around some dead weight.

    • Keith

      CleverTraining UK prices thou are more than the RRP so the 10% discount isn’t that effective

  61. John

    How does the 935 feel compared to the cheaper Forerunners? Are the buttons metal? The casing looks more heavy duty and solid, is this accurate? The Fenix has a good solid feel to it when pressing buttons and I’m wondering if this does as well. I have to say, on form factor and size I am actually very disappointed that this one is larger than the 5s, or that they didn’t release a smaller version in addition. I tried on the fenix 5 the other day and it is still very large and bulky for anyone who doesn’t have big wrists.

    • Scott Hunter

      The buttons look like the ones from the 630, which are indeed stainless steel, unlike the plastic cheap ones on the more expensive 735

    • Tim Grose

      Yes good analogy with the 630. 735 buttons do the job fine for me BTW but certainly aren’t as “nice” looking as the 935 ones. The 5S is still 18g heavier than the 935 BTW. Sounds like you should try on the 935 when you can but to me the 935 does not feel much different to the 735 on my wrist so works well.

  62. Lynn

    HR broadcast is still ANT+ only, no Bluetooth broadcast? i.e. any device/app receiving the broadcast must accept ANT+ signals (like iPhone requiring ANT+ adaptor?)

  63. Aldo

    Just to clarify: the Bundle version comes with the full QR kit to put on the bike or only the screwdrivers shown on the picture?

  64. Michael Coyne

    Well damn. I just “pre”-ordered the Fenix 5 a couple days ago (the day your full review on it came out), so it hasn’t even shipped yet and I’m behind the line of everybody there. I don’t own any sport watch yet and REALLY want to get going training with one so I can train smarter, and want the best watch for the job (thus why I got the pricey Fenix 5). But if this had been out when I ordered the Fenix 5, I don’t think I would have gotten it.

    On Clever Training it says it will ship early May… definitely considering changing my order. I’d have to wait an extra month… but with it being lighter and smaller with all the same features… If it had JUST been cheaper, but worse on other features in ANY other way I might not have.

    Even the bundle options are better… I just found out that the HRM-Tri isn’t made to hold up to repeated use in the pool because it’s not made for pool chemicals long-term, and was already considering changing my Fenix 5 bundle to a regular Fenix 5 order with just the HRM swim because of that. I was a little disappointed that then I’d lose running dynamics, but running dynamics 90% of my swim training. I want to ramp up my openwater training, but it’d be WAY better if I just had a strap that worked in the pool. Plus I already need more connectivity than ANT+ in my strap for use with treadmills’ HR cruise-control modes as well as connecting to my computer for overlaying onto Twitch streams, so the HRM-Tri wasn’t enough to be my “one strap to rule them all” anyways. And now with the running pod allowing me to add running dynamics to whatever chest strap/other setup I want… I just see very little reason to go with the HRM-Tri.

    There are still a few questions I have though:
    1) In your comparison tool, it shows the battery life as 24 hours in GPS-on (same as Fenix 5), but only 50 in Ultratrac (25 hours less than the Fenix 5). Does it have less battery then? Why the difference? Is it maybe recording less samples or something in the GPS-on spec, is the processor needed more during UltraTrac and the FR935’s processor less powerful? Or is that just a mistaken spec? I’m a bit confused on that.

    2) For the quick-release – will you be able to get the Optical HR while wearing it? If things are going well in the race, I would obviously want to be wearing a more dedicated HR sensor (either chest strap or otherwise), but it would be REALLY nice if the quick-release system allowed the 935’s OHR to be used in case those failed for some reason, or more likely in my case – I forgot and left them in transition or at home in the morning or something.

    3) For size – is the display itself the same size as the Fenix 5 (not resolution, but physical dimensions)? Just wanting to make sure since the device itself is a bit smaller. I assume it probably is but just wanted to make sure – kinda grasping at straws to see if there’s any reason to keep my Fenix 5 order. A larger screen is always nice, but so is a smaller device/bezel, which was a huge part of why I got the Fenix 5 instead of the 5X – if the 5X’s display had been bigger than the 5 (rather than just the bezel), I might have leaned more towards it. But if it’s the same 1.2-inch display in both the standard F5 and the FR935…

    Otherwise the only other reason I can see to continue with my Fenix 5 order instead of changing orders is that the Fenix 5 looks prettier. Which I do appreciate certainly – if the Fenix 5 looked prettier AND was the same size (albeit just a smidge heavier) I probably would have kept the order, but the 935 definitely looks thinner (which is actually a bigger factor of watch comfort IMO). On the other side of things – if the 935 won on size but NOT but such a big margin on price (more difficult to fit it in a smaller package), then I might have still kept my Fenix 5. Same goes for if it won on those two, but not on battery life. Given that it seems to win on 3/4 though (losing only on pretty-ness), I can’t see much reason to not change my order, although I will be kinda sad given I don’t have any sort of fitness watch yet and will miss out on a month’s worth of training with one. So:

    4) Are there any other reasons to keep my Fenix 5 order you can think of? I’m very torn between saving money and getting what is honestly a more appropriate product for me vs that month of training with the Fenix 5. I know it’s just a month, but it makes me feel like I’ll just always be in pre-order land and will never actually get a damn watch lol.

    • Michael Coyne

      Nevermind on being stuck in pre-order land. I just was watching your videos and re-read the review and found out if I don’t get the bundle, then I may even get the 935 before the Fenix 5 gets here due to how late I ordered the Fenix 5 vs how early I ordered the 935. So I’m going to try having both for a short period, and then return one. I’m thinking I’m going to return the Fenix 5, but we’ll see.

      Obviously I miss out on the bundle then, but since I already think I’ll prefer to have the running pod thing instead of the HRM-Tri, the only thing I would miss in terms of saving money would be the quick-release. Currently I’m not signed up for any races till July, so not a big deal unless it’s a huge price difference or the line is SUPER long for people who didn’t pre-order the bundle.

      Do you have any idea how much the quick-release kit alone will cost? Thanks.

    • John B

      FYI, REI has had the Fenix 5 in stores since last Saturday.

  65. tim

    Ray —

    Across the Garmin devices I have used I seem to feel that the volume of the audible alerts and the perceived vibration strength seems to vary widely. I would argue that my fenix 3 is barely felt at times (for lap alerts at 1 mile), although I can usually feel (and hear the motor) for phone notifications at my desk.

    Do you have a rough feeling or comparison of the latest watches? Are any obviously stronger or louder than others? (maybe the lighter watches feel vibration better due to the watch’s mass not dampening the motor?)

    Specifically I wonder:
    vs… 310xt or 910xt?

    I recall the 310 being great, f3… less so. I can’t recall my opinion on the 920xt since I updated to the f3 fairly quickly.

    Secondly, maybe answered in the f5 review (?), but I assume the performance metrics assume that all activity is recorded with the same watch? I’d love to have it somehow include Edge 520 rides (in the cloud) and then use that data in the 935 training load metrics.

    If it can’t include the Edge data… does it include an activity that is recorded on the 935, but discarded at the end (not saved or synced)? Doing it this way seems to show recovery time on an f3… but prevents duplicate recordings.

    • rickNP

      Tim, I obviously can’t speak to the 935, but as far as the f3 vs f5 goes, the fenix 5 is a breath of fresh air for vibration alerts. It reminds me of the newer motors that apple uses over the last year or two; very acute, very noticeable, compared to the Fenix 3 or even my FR920 & 620. I haven’t gotten much of a sense, yet, on audible alerts, though, so that suggests not much change in volume there.

  66. A million geeks just sighed and shouted “thank $DEITY”. Congrats to Garmin for finally moving towards one platform and multiple form factors. This is a good thing. Now, if we can just push that code base all the way through the range and accept that battery life and size are the differentiators rather than arbitrary feature removal they’ll get the biggest kudos in history. I can accept a black and white screen to save money, but removing a sport mode that works exactly the same as all the other sport modes is just ridiculous 🙂

    Are you watching Suunto/Polar?

    • Michl

      honestly this is still going to be the case with Garmin. Once a successor for the 235 is announced it will miss a few functions and try mode. The 935 and Fenix 5 just share the same core because both are at the very high end of Garmin watches.

  67. Phil S

    Thanks Ray
    Am I right in assuming that the option HR will be blocked by the Quick Release kit?

  68. Tyler

    Is there any chance that you could show some of the daily use features in more detail – like how a text message and calendar events display, or how easy it is to navigate between those non-sport smart-watch features?

    I didn’t see what I was looking for in the menu overview video.

    I’m fairly confident Garmin will nail all of the sports stuff; I’m looking to see if this fits the bill for daily non-sports wear, as well.
    Longtime Garmin user across many models.
    I’m currently wearing the original vivoactive, which I think is a nearly perfect smart watch. However, the font was never great for the texts/calendar stuff, and they botched it even worse with a software update.

    • Yeah, I took some better photos this afternoon of the smartwatch features. For whatever reason my photos I had taken earlier looked like crap – so I snipped them out. Should have them in shortly!

    • Tyler

      Thanks, Ray.
      Appreciate your dedication, responsiveness and level of detail, as always.

  69. Thanks as always Ray. Two questions for you:

    1) I have a 630 with the original HRM-Run strap (v1) which had a firmware update to make it a v2. How much of the functionality from this strap would work in the 935 (outside of the HR which I presume would work anyway)

    2) More a comment about my 630 but could be applicable to more watches. I’ve noticed when doing track sessions that it’s pretty inaccurate even with per second and GPS+GLONASS enabled. My reference point is a colleague’s FR310xt which pretty much nails the distance. To confirm we’re running in the same lane and covering 800-2000m per set and thus the distance is known. The 630 is measuring about 10% more than the 301xt (and reality). Seems odd that a newer device would give a worse result by this sort of margin, and it’s repeatable.

    My question is whether anyone else has observed this and also any similar experience with the 735/935 in terms of their accuracy on a track. Away from the track the 603 is pretty good distance wise.

    • Eric

      For what it’s worth, my 310xt also consistently measures 5-10% more distance on a track than what I actually ran (using every second recording). So you colleague might be getting better performance than the average for a 310xt. My guess is that this overestimation is true for most/all watches, since there are so many tight turns on a track.

      As an example, here’s a recent 10x 400m workout from my 310 link to connect.garmin.com

    • Scott Hunter

      I also have a F630 and it overestimates distance on the track by a similar margin. I guess even with 1 sec recording, the GPS struggles to keep up with the runner on the bends, and this error is repeated every 200m.

    • Su-Chong Lim

      Don’t want to miss something obvious, but you know that distance on a track is calculated as though you ran exactly on the inner lane marker. If you run in the middle of the lane you are covering a further distance than intended. Maybe your footpod is more accurate than you think. (I assume you are saying it is accurate when measured over a non-track course. If it is still measuring 5-10% over distance on a non track course then the pod needs calibration in the watch settings.)

    • Spas


      Does anyone know if 935 or Fenix 5 supports Galileo (European GPS) in order to be more accurate here in Europe?

      Thanks in advance!

  70. Dave

    Is it possible to have different units in different profiles?

    Example: I track my runs in miles, but i do my workouts in metric. Right now (920) there is no easy way to toggle, other that going into the system settings and setting it globally each time I want to change. What would be ideal is if this was a per-profile (app? activity type?) setting, so that the Run app would be imperial and then I could create a custom Workout on that was metric.

    • Timothy F.

      Dave, on one of the videos he shows how you can now have different units for each field. For example he now has elevation in meters and distance in miles.

    • Dave

      Thanks! I always forget to watch those vids 🙂

    • Tim Grose

      You can’t have different units per profile for the same metric. However they are some handy CIQ data fields (e.g. link to apps.garmin.com ) that allow you to always be in one or the other. I tend to use these on a treadmill at my gym which only seems to do metric but I generally “think” in miles. So have this CIQ one in metric to compare with the treadmill and my normal one in miles.

  71. Lynn

    Will the QuickFit 20 (Fenix 5S) bands still fit ok, just a tad small (with a little play in the pin connection)? Or do those bands not work altogether? As a woman, I prefer the QuickFit20 band colors.

    • Tim Grose

      I seem to recall reading it has to be the standard Fenix 5 ones.

    • Lynn

      Yes, I read that, but am looking for more detail. Understand the smaller ones won’t fit perfectly, but looking to see if they will fit good enough with some wiggle room on the sides.

    • yasmin wadhai

      I bought the Fenix5 band for my garmin 935 and it wasnt as tight as the original black 935 band (I have tiny wrists). Sadly I have to return the Fenix5 band and stick with the boring black band until Garmin releases more holes on the bands! I am scared to make my own hole and ruin the $50 band!

  72. Marklemcd

    Will it actually stay connected to an Android phone?

    • Ryan M.

      Connection issues with Android are usually the fault of the manufacturer and their implementation of the bluetooth stack. Not much garmin can do there.

    • Marklemcd

      Then why does EVERYTHING else i connect to it maintain connectivity perfectly besides my Fenix 3? Wahoo elemnt, headphones, car, tacx vortex, everything. Except my Garmin product.

    • Blake

      This may sound weird, but are you sure you’re on the latest firmware? When I first got my Fenix3, it wouldn’t stay connected ever. But for the past while it’s been consistently connected to my phone as long as I’m in range. Also make sure your Android isn’t killing off the Garmin app in the background, since that’s what actively connects to the watch.

    • marklemcd

      Everything is up to date. I can restart my watch and phone and it connects…for a couple hours then it loses it.

    • Molly G

      Go into Garmin Connect Mobile > Menu > Garmin Devices > Fenix 3 – tap and hold until menu appears and choose “Update Connection.” This is system level bonding and it will ask you to pair again with a pin number but should work better for you after this.

      I used to have constant problems with my Huawei Honor 8 and 735xt not reconnecting and this solved the problem. I don’t know how much Garmin is advertising this setting.

    • Molly G

      since I can’t edit my previous post, here is the FAQ for Update Bluetooth Connection

      link to support.garmin.com

    • marklemcd

      Tried that before too. It sucks. Thanks for trying though.

  73. Herman

    So why would I buy the fenix 5 vs the 935? Seems like 935 is a better choice, lighter, thinner, cheaper.

    I didn’t get the 735xt since it doesn’t have the barometric altimeter.

  74. R Lightfoot

    As an original Suunto Ambit 1 user since it was first launched and now ready to upgrade my watch, I’m honestly confused by Garmin. First off, I am fairly certain I want a Garmin watch as my upgrade, it looks like Suunto have wandered off what was a great roadmap up to the Ambit 3 while Garmin have clearly driven the Fenix line hard these last few years.

    What confuses me, though, is the seemingly odd price-pointing and feature sets of the 935, the Fenix 5 and 5 Sapphire. (these are basically my shortlist)

    I have to either pay £90 more than the £499 Fenix 5 to get the sapphire glass & WiFi or pay £20 LESS to get WiFi and a quick release but no sapphire or metal body.

    I don’t really need WiFi but would like to have it, and sapphire would be nice but I’m not very rough with my watches so it’s not essential… My point is, while I’m overall more drawn to the 935 it sort of feels like why wouldn’t I pay £20 more to get what’s likely a much more durable product? I guess that just comes down to how much I want the quick release…

    Like I said, weird.

    • Chris Benten

      The 5x also comes Maps with the extra (pound symbol)90.

    • R Lightfoot

      The 5x is £70 more than the sapphire 5. So it’s £160 more than the standard 5 and £180 more than the 935.

    • Scott Hunter

      You missed the point entirely that the 935 is a watch designed primarily for runners and triathletes. The weight difference between the two watches is significant, and it would play on your mind in a competitive race. Having said that, £470 for a plastic watch is too expensive; I don’t know why Garmin don’t use aluminium or titanium in their high-end running watches to maintain a premium feel whilst keeping the weight down. Apple managed it.

    • Mark

      What I don’t understand is the price difference between models regionally. Fenix 5 is $600 US and £500 UK, which I’m fine with as this is due to exchange rate, duty, etc.

      But the 935 is $500 US and £470 UK.

      So the difference between Fenix 5 and 935 is $100 US and £30 UK which is a massive difference percentage wise.

      I guess it’s up to Garmin regionally to set prices as they see fit and at a level they think the market will stand, but doesn’t stop me feeling like Garmin are being a little cheeky. I’m sure Brexit will sort all this out. 😉

      In the meantime, I’ll stick with my 910 until it dies (again).

  75. Blake

    Hey Ray,

    Enjoy the reviews. I was wondering if/how things might have changed from the Fenix3 to the FR935/Fenix5 as far as activities timing out when paused. I feel like my FR220 would go like 20 minutes in pause without timing out, but my Fenix3 times out after about 5 minutes (and does so with no warning). This drives me bonkers sometimes, and I didn’t know if Garmin had addressed this at all.

  76. ekutter

    Looks like everything I wanted to replace my 630, except the touch screen. I’ll take lighter weight plastic any day over the Fenix. I know a lot of people don’t like the touch screen, but I’d have a hard time giving it up, especially for my personal CIQ apps. couple questions:

    1. so the interface is the same as the Fenix. Do you know if the actual innards are the same, ie same processor running at the same speed? So does it have the same performance?

    2. With the 630 effectively being discontinued, do you know if Garmin is giving up on touch screens for the higher end running watches? If so, I’d probably get this watch. If there’s a chance they’ll come out with the 935 equivalent with a touch screen, I definitely wait.

    3. Have the Fenix / Forerunner teams effectively merged now at this point?

    • Dan S

      I’m in the same boat as another of the few fans on the touch screen … this is everything I was looking for minus the touch screen ..

      I have a 935 in my shopping cart as a backup/enhancement for my 630, but afraid to pull the trigger and have an updated touch screen model appear down the road …

      Although, reading between the lines may be hints of the permanent demise of the touchscreen sports models …
      – (since it’s basically what people wanted in a fabled FR635)
      – On the flip-side, runners will likely be happy since they’ve now got an upgrade option for those that want all the fancy features in a slimmer running focused unit.
      – and the 620/630 now only shows up on the “Previous Models” section of the Garmin website

      I suppose it’s time to begrudgingly head back to the buttons for the new features …

    • ekutter

      noticed that the5krunner.com in his quick review responds to a comment with “there *IS* a 635 soon”. What that means is anyone’s guess. Unfortunately I fear it might be a Fenix 5S in a plastic body to reduce size and weight. Not sure I’d be willing to go to the slightly smaller screen than the 630 in order to get the touch screen. Also, no guarantee it would actually have a touch screen. That would be a pretty big change, software wise, from the Fenix line.

      I’m wondering if an announcement could be just around the corner with the Boston marathon coming up.

    • You know I’m on the fence with the touchscreen. When it’s working fine it seems to be the natural interface to work with. But on more than a number of occasions I find myself stabbing the screen with my index finger trying to select the correct training option. Nothing at all! And then I wonder if there was a way to use the buttons instead just in case the screen didn’t work……

      So there’s my dilemma, a working touch screen is good, but I hanker for the ability to use the definite press of a hardware button when it’s refusing to behave. If I got the 935 I’m not sure if I’d miss the touchscreen of the 630.

      I can’t say I get that excited about the Wi-Fi option (in both 630 and 935). It never seems to transfer the data before I’ve done the bluetooth sync with the phone!

    • Funky D

      An interesting spec from the appelmoessite blog that first leaked the info of the FR935 back in January… this is from that January post, but it makes me wonder if a smaller FR635 (comparable to the Fenix 5S) targeted toward women is in the works:


      Forerunner 935 Black/Black
      Forerunner 935 Yellow/Black

      Forerunner 635 Black/Gray
      Forerunner 635 Marsala/White
      Forerunner 635 Purple/White”

  77. Scott Buchanan

    Ray, is there likely to be any clarity on the future for Garmin’s high end pure running watches i.e will there be an FR640 or will we be expected to move to the multi-sport line of watches?

  78. Jim A

    I bought my 735 on Amazon 10 days ago……..
    Time to click the ‘Return Item’ button lol

  79. ekutter

    Looks like the quick release kit might snap on/off the watch pretty easily with the new strap connection. So it’d be just a few seconds to swap between a regular strap for day to day use and the quick release/bike mount for cycling. My beef with past quick release’s has been the extra stack height when using it just as a watch. Does this seem correct?

  80. Kirk R

    Any news on Garmin introducing a more running focused/cheaper watch (e.g., 235 replacement) with some of the updates from these new releases?

  81. Ray,

    Well I am really disappointed that this is the same form factor as the Fenix, The round vs square is one thing you pointed out (less screen for data junkies) plus there is one less button on the Fenix vs the 920xt and the menu is a bit goofy. I was helping someone change the pool length on a 3HR and was difficult to get to the correct spot.

    I usually don’t recommend a device that someone has to watch a few youtube videos to understand how to navigate the watch.

    Question for Ray. My 920 looks like it went through a tumble just wearing it around and would the fenix hold up better? If it is functionally the same I might be better off getting a Fenix 5 with the sapphire displace. It seems like there is a few differences between the two (935 vs F5) but not really material.

  82. Jeff

    Have you done any testing on the connection range of HRM sensors to the watch? I used a Rhythm+ on my arm for volleyball with my phone courtside. Would the watch maintain this connection so that volleyball games would be included in recovery tracking, etc.?

  83. Ryan

    Hey Ray! Thanks for getting this up today. I was hoping for a picture comparing the 910xt-920xt-935, any chance of that getting added? Cheers!

  84. I have a major problem beleiving this statement:
    It also means that going forward, it won’t end up an orphaned product since it’s tied like a conjoined twin to the hip of the juggernaut in Garmin that is the Fenix product lineup. Sometimes there’s safety in numbers.

    That is what was said back when the Fenix 3 and Epix was announced. They said the Fenix 3 was based on the 920xt but with added navigation and the Epix added maps onto that. But we all saw what happened, the Fenix 3 kept getting new features (for example Row Indoor App, and all the other new sports in 6.5 of the firmware) that were never added to the 920xt. The Epix was basically dropped.

    Why should we assume the same thing won’t happen this time around? Sure the 935 has lots of the same functionality as the Fenix 5 now, but down the road? Garmin’s own site says nothing about it keeping up with the Fenix 5: link to garmin.com

    I’m not saying it will be orphaned like the Epix, but will not get the latest new features.

    • You can’t really predict the future. But you can look at where things are headed. I suspect one thing that impeded the Epix dev is the form factor – which meant that it wasn’t round like the Fenix series.

    • Its not about predicting the future, its assuming things won’t change unless they say they are changing things and they haven’t publicly said anything about changing.

      I guess the first public indicator that the 935 is planning to be the same as the Fenix 5 is how the Connect IQ sdk will look when they add the 935 to it. The 935 has the same buttons, screen, memory, and cpu as the Fenix5 so should be the same platform from the SDK perspective. So will the SDK consider them the same? Its obvious from how the SDK treats the Chronos as a Fenix5S that they want to keep the number of unit types to a minimum.

  85. gijom

    My reaction:
    – This watch looks actually better than the Fenix 5 and it’s mostly because the lug to lug distance is now reasonable for a wrist like Ray’s…
    – Battery life is the same as the excellent Fenix 5. Great!
    – Water-resistance 5 ATM vs. 10 ATM for the Fenix 5. Should we be worried?
    – Garmin website says screen is glass (as it said for the 735XT too). But I was convinced the 735XT screen WAS NOT glass but plastic. Which is true for the 735XT and the 935?

  86. Richard Owen

    Well, as I’m still waiting for the Garmin UK website to actually make the Fenix 5 available (30% Vitality discount) I have the option of choosing the 935 to replace my 920XT – when it makes it to the site.

    The key differences for me vs Fenix5 are:

    1. £30 off – not a lot really
    2. WiFi – Handy but I always have my phone with me anyway and the Garmin Connect app is actually quite reliable these days
    3. Much lighter and more suitable for exercise

    The Fenix does win out on looking more like a ‘proper’ watch though and the interchangeable straps will look better. It also looks more expensive and I suspect may hold value better.

    It’s not a surprise that choosing between the two is so tricky as they are virtually the same watch. Also given the minimal price difference in the UK it comes down to how the watch looks rather than performance. Still not decided.

    • Tim Grose

      3 is why I have these things. 935 half the weight of an F5 it seems and also seemingly does exactly the same things.

  87. Eric

    Hey Ray (and others)

    You mentioned wanting a summary page of lap averages; I’ve been trying out the “Laps” data field from Connect IQ, and it seems like it might be what you want. It won’t show up during the lap alert screen, but it’s easy to scroll to mid-activity. Is that the functionality you were thinking about, or did you want something else?

    Here’s the one I’m talking about: link to apps.garmin.com

    There’s also “LapHistory” although it doesn’t work as well on a rounded screen: link to apps.garmin.com

  88. Michl

    Clever Training EU fucked something up….

    F5 (non-S): 579
    935: 585

    hahaha wtf
    i thought it’s 499 and that would’ve been ok, but 580??? really Garmin?? I’d buy it in an instant for 399, I am certainly not paying more for it than for my phone

  89. Sean

    I thought one of the main reasons for still using a chest strap based HRM was because the optical sensors couldn’t measure HRV data needed for some of the advanced running dynamics. Is this no longer the case?

    • Some metrics still need a strap:
      Wrist-based heart rate might be an easy choice when you want to move without restrictions on race day, but Forerunner 935 gives you the option to tap into much more data with the addition of a compatible heart rate strap. A chest strap heart rate monitor (like HRM-Run™ or HRM-Tri™) unlocks advanced features such as Lactate Threshold and the HRV (heart rate variability) stress test.
      link to firstbeat.com

    • Raoul Valdez

      Interesting but you’ll probably get the same result on Android from Elite HRV (free) or HRV4Training

  90. Bob Kowalski

    $$$ Garmin has the $500+ market cornered now!

  91. Yal

    Hi! Do u know what’s happened with battery life in UltraTrack mode, today just after they realized 935, they slide battery life in specification tab (garmin website) for fenix 5 from 75 to 60 hours and 5X from 50 to 35?

    • Hmm, interesting. Perhaps in their latest round of testing they’ve found it doesn’t hit those numbers. I’ll poke.

    • Michael Coyne

      I’m also curious as to why the FR935 has only 50 hours listed for UltraTrac when it supposedly has the same innards as the F5. Just trying to make sure it doesn’t have a less powerful/high end processor causing that or something…

    • Karl

      link to buy.garmin.com and link to buy.garmin.com now both list the same for battery life.

      Battery life
      Smart mode: Up to 2 weesk
      GPS/HR mode: Up to 24 hours
      UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 60 hours without wrist heart rate

    • Sam

      I was going to post the same question. I purchased the 5x but once I saw the battery life comparison on garmins website I am thinking of returning it for the 935. On the surface, there does not seem to be any reason for such a dramatic drop in battery life in Ultratrac mode. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  92. John

    Hi Ray. Will you do a comparison of this and the Suunto Sport wrist HR? Both are $499 and it seems like a logical comparison.

    • I’m working on a review of the Suunto Sport Wrist HR. You can see quite a bit of that data within the data accuracy tables actually.

      Which…is why I’m also working with Suunto to figure out what’s going on…

    • Josh

      What’s your confidence level on Suunto and Valencell getting this worked out?

    • Josh

      Also, I noticed on RIZKNOWS review of the spartan sport whr, he feels the valencell OHR is superior to Garmin’s elevate and is usable for biking and weight training. Thoughts?

    • We’ll see. They’re analyzing the package of data I gave them today (basically what you see in this review in the data tables section, with a bit more clarity).

      I’ve been trying a few different positions/etc… Though typically speaking optical HR sensors tend to work pretty well on me.

    • Josh

      It’s interesting to say the least. I have tried just about every Garmin version of elevate to no avail, like as in major BPM off the mark compared to my Garmin chest strap. This evening I just did a test on the elliptical with the Spartan Sport WHR (mine arrived this evening) against my garmin 230 with chest strap and the OHR was almost spot on. Ive never had OHR respond in the fashion this one did. It was actually even more accurate against the chest strap than the Scosche Rhythm + which I also used on the opposite arm. In typical OHR fashion it took an extra couple of seconds to catch up during the cool down, but compared to my previous experiences was quick to catch up. I’ll be very curious to see what your further testing shows. Thanks for everything you do!

    • Josh

      As a quick follow up, this morning’s side by side test provided much less impressive results. I look forward to the arrival of my 935 from CT.

  93. Doug Olson

    Thanks for the review, Ray.

    My 910XT is well… begging for retirement so I am glad the 935 has come out now. However, one question. With regards to using the HRM-Tri or HRM-Run, do they automatically take precedent over the optical sensor when paired? This would be similar to the GPS speed/distance taking precedence over speed/distance sensors.



    • Eric

      Yes, any strap takes precedent over the built-in optical heart rate sensor. If you have an external HRM paired and your watch finds it during an activity, it’ll turn off the built-in optical monitor. If you take off the external monitor, it’ll eventually turn on the internal optical monitor again.

    • Will

      I suspect the answer is no, but… is it possible to use the HRM-RUN for Running Dynamics only (say, clipped to your waist) while using the watch for optical heartrate?

    • Alex

      Does the watch notify the wearer as to which sensor it is using during an activity?

      I’m getting notified that my HRM-Tri is connected before my run, but if I select Download Heart Rate after the run my TE values change quite dramatically – wondering if it is losing the connection during the activity somehow (previously ran with no issues using a 610 and the HR strap that came with that, confused a bit by the 935 and its strap).

    • Alex

      So I tested this out: I manually disabled the wrist heart rate sensor, paired and connected the HRM-Tri, and went for a run.

      Upon completion of a run I save the data and see one set of results for calories, training effect, time in heart rate zones etc.

      If I then choose Download Heart Rate, it changes all of the above.

      Looking at the actual recorded HR data, they are subtly different, despite the watch only using the HRM-Tri during the run. Either the watch isn’t getting a full stream of data from the HRM-Tri (no gaps in the data though), or perhaps the processing that occurs when you select Download Heart Rate is smoothing or altering the raw data in some other way. Regardless, at present, the HR data before and after using Download Heart Rate on a run activity is different on my watch (seen this on v6.10 and 6.83 f/w).

  94. Patrick

    It appears from the product comparison tool that the 935 has the same backlight as the fenix 5 (and, consequently, better than that of the 735XT)? One strike against the 735XT for me is the weak backlight, which makes it less than ideal as an everyday watch when indoors.

  95. Emiliano

    Does the RD Pod replace the the standard footpod?

  96. Alex-Hat

    Ray, thanks for your deep review, it’s great as always.
    I have got a question that I haven’t found in both this and Fenix5 post:
    Does the new training load/stress consider the other data I put on Connect through my Edge?
    I use my wrist device to swim/run/strenght but I always use my 520 while riding indoor/outdoor…in that case I assume that the Load/Stress parameters couldn’t be so realiable.

    Thanks 🙂

    • chris noland

      this is something that I don’t think Connect does today is sync recovery or stress data… I use a 920 and an 820 today and it doesn’t seem like that level of information is shared based upon what I have seen.

      If ray can add any color to this it would be great.

    • Alex-Hat

      Thanks Chris, so I guess the only way to have a reliable Training Stress Score is to record the ride also on the 935 on the wrist, even if we’re using an Edge on the bike….just to have all the data.
      Garmin should make every device connect in a two-way with their cloud, check new data from other units and upload the more recent workout

  97. Does the Bluetooth connectivity on the 935 allow it to read cadence from a RunScribe pod?

  98. Ruddy

    How does screen ‘real state’ compares to Fenix 5 ? Is it bigger, smaller or the same ?

  99. Leonardo

    Any hints on where to purchase the 935 online for a quick/prompt delivery in Barcelona-Spain?!

  100. Nick in MN

    Hi Ray,

    I’m a Garmin 735xt and Connect user with a question about sleep tracking on the 935. Does the Garmin Connect “Sleep Details” functionality change at all for this unit? I would love to adjust my middle-of-the-night “Awake” time – not to be confused with my “Wake Time” in the morning. As a parent of an infant and someone who sometime struggles with sleep, I’m often up in the middle of the night. As such, my Total Sleep time is frequently inaccurate. It would be fantastic if I could edit the pink colored bars (i.e. Awake Time) to more accurately reflect my actual sleep time, not including the time spent awake, in-bed in the middle of the night.

    Thanks for all of your detailed reviews!


    • Chris Noland


      You should be able to edit on the connect app on your phone the total sleep time… Actually can see the movement increase and line it up fairly well… I do it all the time

  101. Vossi

    Hi Ray

    Thanks for the great review!
    I’m thinking to switch from my Polar V800 to the Garmin 935.
    Do you think it’s a worthy successor?


    • David

      I have an M400 and looking for a new watch with 24/7 HR. I’m giving polar still 6 months to come up with a successor … Otherwise I’m switching too, but I’ll wait till December to decide.

  102. Raul Valdez

    Haven’t seen that screen on the F5’s link to media.dcrainmaker.com ? Is that new on the F935 ? Is that the only difference with the F5 ? Thanks.

    • Clint

      Ray mentioned that screen is the newly tweaked pre-activity screen, so it’s likely to follow on the F5. Go into activities and the watch immediately searches for GPS/HR/etc…, before selecting a specific activity. The logic is, get to a lock on sensors as quickly as possible.

  103. Andres Sierra

    DC, do you know if the quick release kit is compatible for 735?

  104. Shara Maddox

    I know you mentioned the Fenix 5S bands are too small but is that for the connection or just the wrist size?

  105. Felix Rahm

    I’m a runner and I am training quite while with running power (Stryd). So my question, is at the FR935 a power integration in the running mode, like Suunto have at their models?

    • Tim Grose

      You need to use the Stryd Connect IQ data field or app so there is not “native” support for power when running but the data field (which I use) works pretty well and records all the data for later analysis and allows display of the power value as you run.

  106. MacBeth

    It looks like it defiantly is not actually available today… every site online say “pre-order” or order and get in May…

    • Michael Coyne

      If you choose the non-bundle version on Clever Training it says “Early April.” When I talked to a Clever Training rep they said they were already on their way from Garmin to Clever Training, and that as soon as Clever Training gets it (which should be within a week they said), they will send them out. So you’re looking at 2 weeks tops assuming that’s correct.

    • It’s correct, a pile of them arrive either later today or tomorrow, but it’s a small pile. The major shipments arrive over the next week or two at worst.

      Note that bundle will not arrive for anyone till late April. It’s simply being held up by the quick release kit.

    • Michael Coyne

      Any word on what that slowing-down-release-quick-release-kit would cost on it’s own?

      Also the bundle doesn’t come with the new bod-pod right? I’d rather have the HRM-swim and the new bod-pod than the HRM-swim and HRM-tri. Then I can get those running dynamics with whatever chest HRM I want, or even none.

  107. Jeremy

    So is this Garmin’s succesor of the Forerunner 920xt?

  108. Chris Koboldt

    Is the 935 band material the same material as the Fenix 5 band? Or is it more akin to the 920xt (which is more stiff).

  109. Wyatt

    Looks like you missed a link to the video in this section:
    “In addition, you’ll see other pre-loaded apps like Strava Segments, which allows you to race Strava Segments in real-time. That works identically to how the FR735XT works, which I covered in this video.”

    I was thinking up updating to the 920xt from my 910xt (which I’m about to replace for the second time in less than 2 years…) with the presumed price drop it will receive with the release of the 935, but it’s sure tempting to go straight to the 935. It’s too bad it’ll probably cost a ridiculous amount in CDN after conversion :(.

  110. Ken

    24 hr GPS & barometric altimeter; never understood how the 735 was a tri watch when it’s battery wouldn’t last for an Ironman (mid-to-late finishers), let alone ultra runners. Glad I can consider this one.

    question about the step counter – I have both an old Vivofit (love the once-a-year battery replacement) & a 920XT; the 920XT consistently comes up approx 5% less steps, even when the two are worn, touching each other, on the same wrist. Was there an algorithm change along the way? How do other products stack up on step count; is that something you’ve ever looked at?

  111. Didofreims

    Very strong review ! FR935 seems to be very interesting

  112. rb

    What is the actual pixel count on the 935? The specs say 240×240 (57600 pixels), but the watch-face is round… hmmm….
    Is the display 240 pixels at the widest portion (pi*r^2 = 45239 pixels)? Is it possible to inscribe a 240×240 pixle square into the circular face? newfangled variable-width pixels?

    • Blake

      Pretty sure round smartwatch face dimensions are widest dimensions, so basically the diameter of the watchface is 240 pixels.

  113. Gene Zweben

    Any issues with pairing with the stages power meter? I currently use the 910xt which gives me incorrect readings with a lot of dropped signals. When looking at the chart in garmin connect I see many gaps where it didn’t read the sensor. Do you know if that is corrected in the 930?

    • Scott

      I’m hoping so too. The 520 head unit didn’t suffer from the same problem, so I’m hoping they took a page from that book. Also, the 935 now has BT support; hopefully BT pairing would be more reliable.

    • Lynn

      I’d like to know if Stages power meter connection can be improved. My Garmin Edge has no trouble with it, and the 935 seems to keep connection with the Stages on my road bike ok. But on my aerobars/TT bike where my hands are out in front, the Stages/935 connection is terrible. Any thoughts?

  114. jay d

    when is this going to be released? I just bought the 735xt in december

  115. Scott Hunter

    I don’t understand why people are comparing this to a Fenix 5. The Fenix series was designed as a premeium hiking and multisport watch. This watch, like the 630 and 735 it replaces, is designed for athletes who will use it in training and competition. It’s made of plastic for a good reason: because plastic is light – in fact it’s half the weigh of the Fenix 5. It’s designed to be functional, not a piece of jewellery – but that doesn’t just make it a cheap Fenix, it just makes it a perfect running watch.

    • Clint

      Umm, because it’s the guts of a fenix 5 in a different wrapper? I’d say that’s a pretty darned good reason to compare the two. Besides the FRP bezel, this is more fenix than any of the Forerunner line that precedes.

    • Eduard de Vries

      Like most people, I am trying to decide between 5S and 935. I have a 630 with a large scratch on the display, so am tempted to go to 5S with Saphire screen.

      Should still look good while wearing my work suit.
      Just wondering if I will regret the incremental weight since I only run.

      Does anyone know, is the material for the display on the 935 as soft as on the 630, i.e. easily scratched? That is the key decision point for me right now

    • Paul Voorend

      You can get screen protectors for the 935 which don’t take away from the look at all, can’t even tell it’s on there.

  116. gijom

    Ray, about “(…) compasses, which are lacking in the FR735XT”, you certainly have seen this comment already: The 735XT does come with a compass as can be verified with compass connectIQ apps and widgets.

  117. Jim

    Hmmm… This is lighter and slimmer than my brand new F5… And cheaper. The F5 may just go back…

    • gijom

      Haha. I think a lot of us are going through the same thought process. The shorter lug to lug distance also makes it sit more nicely on the wrist IMHO. Still waiting for my Fenix 5 Sapphire to be delivered to decide though…

    • Greg

      I had the 735xt and, while it was light, I like the F5 much better. It’s a good looking, durable, all day watch that also seems to have a better screen. I guess it’s a personal preference, but the feel of these two watches is very different and my guess would be similar to the F5 vs 935.

  118. bh

    Can you explain a little about the “indoor row” sport mode?

    Will it interface to my Concept2 rowing machine like my Garmin 210 does today using the Ant+ Fitness Equipment (FIT) profile?

  119. Thomas Harte

    It appears that one of the big draws of the Fenix would be the visaul GPS but you forfit the quick release for triathlon… how much more is the Fenix with all the option the 935 has plus the Visual GPS?

  120. Niklas

    Ah, finaly the Garmin sports division went over to the Garmin outdoor division and learned how to make navigation functionality.

    Does the 935 support Tempe?

  121. Drew

    When will Garmin start including music storage on their watches? I feel like this is where the iWatch has quite the leg-up on the brand.

  122. The Real Bob

    Great review.

    What must be funny for you is that a few of us were complaining about how the 5s and such were too heavy last week, and why not build a 735 with all the features of the fenix. And you sat there knowing that the 935 was there waiting,

    Nice job containing your laughter.

  123. Just as a random item as I’m cleaning out my e-mail box tonight, a few people were asking for clarity on the quick release kit and associated bundle with quick release kit. Previously I noted it as ‘Late April’, which is true. But there was actually a very specific date – April 28th. Given that falls on a Friday, it’s likely fair to say folks won’t really see things till early May (May 1st is a Monday).


  124. JB

    Nice review Ray.

    One question about the “RUNNING DYNAMICS (VERTICAL OSCILLATION, GROUND CONTACT TIME, ETC…)”. You have listed on the comparison chart that he 935 has this but the Fenix 5 only had it with WITH HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR).

    Is this something that could be added to the 5 series through firmware or is it a hardware difference between the two units that makes it available on the 935?

    Thanks for all the work you put into your reviews and answering questions.

  125. Mike Cooper

    Hey Ray, according to the comparison table, the 935 does Running Dynamics by itself? Or is that with the Running Dynamics Pod add-on?

  126. Just as an FYI – I’ve added a full presentation from FirstBeat into the post on how the new features work. This is sorta of behind the scenes type material. 23 slides of detail. It’s both downloadable as a PDF, or you can just click through using the little image viewer thingy in the gallery.

    It’s found at the very end of the Training Load & Stress section: link to dcrainmaker.com


    • KeithW

      Good info in the FirstBeat presentation, thank you, Ray!

      I appreciate the great reviews you publish, I continue to benefit from your work, and have had nothing but good experiences from your Clever Training partnership. This review was what I was waiting to see after the excellent Fenix 5S review to make a decision between the two, I placed a FR935 pre-order with Clever Training earlier today from your link, thank you again.

    • Thanks Keith for the support and comments!

    • Sam

      Hi Ray, without having the Hrm-swim to record HR during swim training, how valid are any of the Training Load metrics? Currently with ‘intensity minutes’ I find the cumululative totals useless as it records zero for all my swims, would Training Load suffer the same way and be thrown way off by a lot of unaccounted swimming effort?

    • Ray and team: thanks for another kick-ass review (this and the Fenix 5). Also, thanks for posting that FirstBeat PDF.

      Any insight into if/when the updated Training load metrics and First Beat stuff may be back-ported into the Fenix 3? Or should I just accept that it will never make it in there and move forward into a 5 or 935? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately I’d focus on acceptance. I don’t expect to see any further feature updates to the Fenix 3.

  127. Jim

    Ray, other than looks, is there a reason to favor the Fenix 5 over this new 935? If I understand correctly, this is lighter, slimmer, $100 less expensive than the non-sapphire version, does everything the Fenix 5 does, supports the quick release bands, adds wifi and has a quick release kit available. Are there any functional advantages the Fenix 5 has? I realize the 5x does the maps and the 5s is smaller, I’m think just the straight up 5.


  128. lc

    wow, so much to think about now. f5, f5 sapphire or 935…

    any rumors of Polar coming out with a new watch?

    thanks for the reviews Ray!

  129. Joseph Ferguson

    GREAT REVIEW AS ALWAYS! this is always my first (and usually only stop) to find what i need.
    Quick release kit…
    I don’t want to “assume” but with the kit will the watch be able to mount in the “typical garmin” bike mounts? Like the 920 could?

  130. Chris

    Thought Process….

    Fenix 5X – $699 – I’ll wait that’s a lot of money
    Fenix 5 – $599 – So want this, but that’s still a lot of money
    935 – Oh hell – purchased…

    ha ha ha

  131. Andrew

    The new running pod sounds like a good idea for those who use the optical HR and still want the running dynamics. Is there any plan to offer as part of a bundle? I understand during a triathlon you’d use a strap to cover the swim portion, but not all workouts leading up to the triathlon will entail swimming.

  132. Michael

    Great review!! If you want to wear your 935 while riding your bike (so you get the benefit of the total training stress information from FirstBeat), but you like having a dedicated bike computer like the 820, will the workout from both the 935 and 820 automatically upload to Garmin connect (effectively doubling and duplicating the workout)? Any way to avoid duplications pushed to Garmin connect (and thereby to Strava, etc.)?

    Keep up the awesome work!!

  133. Happy Runner

    Does the radar integration include alerts — i.e. Vibrate upon detecting approaching car, whereas the head unit beeps?

  134. François Delorme

    Are the maps on the 5x only for the US? Does it work for Canada? I was trying to find out from your review but you did not show a Paris map from the 5X in your review!

  135. Dudek

    Thx for the review Ray. As alwas very informative . You done direct comparison with F5 after stating its basicaly same functionality minus the build. Is it possible to make a comparison with 735xt (with TRI band). Not a criticism just I see it more relevant.

  136. Kyle Polansky

    Yay, Finally another device with a quick release kit! Too bad the screen isn’t as bit as the 920XT for use far away on the bike.

    Any chance you could get some 920XT and 935 comparison pictures? Maybe some on the bike/without the bands once you get the QR kit?

  137. Debbie

    Do you think this will ever be part of the 10% off through Clever Training?

  138. Michael Coyne

    To all those complaining that the 935 is disappointing because the round screen doesn’t allow you to fit as many data fields as the square one from the 920xt did, this: link to buy.garmin.com

    Seems to indicate that using the actual display sizes (not the sizes of the watches themselves, which include bezels), you would nearly be able to fit the square display of the 920xt inside the circle of the 935. You’d be short on the diagonal by about .1 inches, or 2.5mm. But considering that you can fit some stuff in the round parts too, I really doubt you’d miss much in reality. It might still bother you a lot of course.

    I personally think it’s a bit odd that neither the Fenix 5 nor any of the round-faced watches seem to have a custom data field for them which uses the numbers on the bezel for relevant metrics, which could be indicated by small colored circles on the outside of the data field using the bezel numbers. For example, when biking, you aren’t likely to break 60mph, and while you might break 60kph, you probably wouldn’t do so deliberately in most endurance races often. The same for power, but just multiply watts by 10 – yes a good deal of people here probably can break 600 watts, but that’s probably not sustainable for them by any measure, so it would probably be fine and save lots of space whilst also giving a much quicker readability at a glance since you could just see where it was on the circle and know instantly rather than having to read the numbers.

  139. Steffen

    Thanks for the great reviews Ray.

    One question, how do I get the screen with the HR for the last 7 days, including the resting HR? I only seem to have the screen with the one for the last four hours…

  140. Jon

    Morning Ray,

    First of all , congratulations for the very good job you do describing perfectly this kind of devices.

    My question is quite simple: ¿Does the kick release (935) fits with the common support I use for example in my mtb with the garmin 520?

    (sorry if my English is not enough good)

    Thanks in advance

  141. Piet

    Thanks for the brilliant review.

    I just dont get one thing comparing the fenix 5 to fr935: Why does the fenix stack up that much more in height (2,5mm). Shouldnt it be the other way round, considering the higher strength of the metal housing? That is, if internals are identical…
    Does anyone have insight on that?

    I am opting for replacing my fenix 3, because I have always felt it to be too bulky and heavy, but still wouldnt want to miss out any functionality (and dont like the square 920…).

  142. memyselfandi

    Missing the photo of the watch lying on the wight scale.What wheight is it please?

  143. Heiko

    I am very interested in all these training-state related features. My main problem is that i use my triathlon watch for all my runs, but not while on the bike (there its a Edge 520) and only partially for swim workouts (when swimming in a squad, i don’t use it – but i could change that.
    Does Garmin allow any kind of synchronization between devices? My Edge should know that i ran yesterday and the other way around. Any other opinions on how useful are training metrics if the device doesn’t cover all workouts? What about cardio/strength stuff in the gym, should this also be included?

  144. Olly

    Hi Ray,
    thx for your detailed review! I was focused on Fenix 5 as I was expecting FR 935 wouldn’t have barometric altimeter and would miss some features of F5. Well, as now can be seen my concerns have gone 😉
    Do you have any information from Garmin and/or Firstbeat whether new Training metrics will make it to (newer) Edge devices? I don’t see why it’s shouldn’t be possible (licensing issues put aside).
    And as Heiko mentioned, it would be great if at last on GC platform data would be consolidated to give the big picture. Maybe two activities on a FR935/F5 and Edge would have a positive impact on each, in combination it could be negative. And of course for overall training load and recovery time data need to be consolidated. Any information on whether this is planned?

  145. Alex Masidlover

    Given that there is _still_ no way to set-up the screens etc. via phone or web is there at least a way to backup the settings like on the edge 520 (just copy using a file browser)?

    I notice the comparison tool says there is no way to export settings on either device; so not sure what that line in the table means.

    Also is there a review of the Edge 520 or Quarq DZero coming – have bought both based on your sage advice in the first look posts Ray, but the in depth reviews often reveal features that the manuals don’t…

    Thanks for the hard work!

    • Tim Grose

      Yes – just take a copy the FIT files in the SPORTS folder for the data field settings and the one in SETTINGS for general settings. You have been able to do this on Garmin watches for some years now. Indeed for “backup” just take a copy of the entire file structure.

    • Adrian S.

      It amazes me that Garmin allows those files to be exposed like that. What happens if they get corrupted for whatever reason or the user deletes them by mistake? Does the watch handle that gracefully?

    • Tim Grose

      Should revert to defaults then.

      By the same token you could say goto into the Windows folder on a PC and play merry abandon. Actually that may not come out so well…

    • Adrian S.

      Not quite the same is it… Windows permissions will get in the way if you try that. And data corruption on removable file systems is not exactly unheard of .

  146. Steve

    So when can I buy this on garmin.com? The website still says to put in your e-mail and you’ll be notified when’s it’s available. And I’m referring to just the watch. Not the bundle.

  147. Mirko Surf&Run

    The run of the 4 march in DCanalyzer brings to a wrong link (the same link of the openwaterswim of the 7 march).
    Can you correct?

  148. Scott Hunter

    I know a lot of people are comparing this watch to the Fenix 5, but only the 5S comes close the weight of the watch (67g for the 5S vs. 49g for the 935). For competition use, I simply think the 5 is too heavy. As to whether you are willing to carry another 18g on your wrist for the premium build quality and appearance of the Fenix 5S is probably down to personal preference. I am sure most serious runners just want a running watch that is lightweight and functional.

    What I would like to know is if the 935 is larger than the Fenix 5S as that might sway me towards the 5S. I currently own the 630 which is the perfect size for my small wrist, and I know the 5S is similar in size.

  149. Bernd

    Hi Ray,

    great review. However I have some questions left:
    1. You said that the quick fit bands of the F5 are compatible to the 935. But can we indeed take advantage from the quick release or do we have to use the screws anyway?

    2. For me as a developer is important that the watch also increases the datafield limt from 16 to 32 kB. Is it though?

    3. You wrote that the watch is searching for GPS at once you enter the app’s menu. How does the watch behave if you enter an app or sport which has GPS disabled – just stops searching for GPS signal?

    • 1) The quick fit band still attaches to a screw/pole, so it’s just leveraging that screw – sans-strap.

      2) I specifically asked for the numbers for the FR935 from the product group, that’s what they came back with.

      3) Correct, it’ll basically just turn off GPS if the app/sport doesn’t leverage it.

  150. Rob


    How does this watch compare size wise to the FR235/the oreo test you did on the FR235 review, I have smaller wrists than yours (15cm….) so wondered if it would be too big!


    • Tim Grose

      It is a little bigger than a 235 but I don’t notice this as it is still very light. If the 235 was borderline OK for you then this may not be ideal. If however the 235 feels fine then should be OK.

  151. Another great review. I ordered from clever training from your link today and I will use my 64 points to order the pod.

  152. Jared

    How is the 935’s durability compared to the fenix 3hr and 5 models? Plastics vs metal face? Did you notice any wear and tear that makes the price difference worth it to go up to the fenix 5? I know some of the cheaper multi-sport models (vivoactive hr) shows wear and tear quickly from day to day wear.

    • Tim Grose

      I think this a lot to do with how careful you are. Walk into a wall for instance and anything is unlikely to be OK. I’ve had all the recent Forerunners, never used a screen protector and been fine touch wood. I don’t however store them in a bag and/or on top of anything else etc etc

  153. Thomas Jones

    The barometric altimeter has failed multiple times on my 910XT and 920XT. This would be ok if there were an option to use GPS elevation on these devices. I see the 935 will also have barometric based elevation but no mention of an option to use GPS. Any word on if Garmin addressed the long standing barometer issues?

    • tim

      Longstanding is a tricky term in this case. I recall the issue with 910xt being pretty common, maybe I lost touch with the 920xt when moving to the fenix 3.

      Still I don’t remember seeing any issues in this area for the fenix 3, and given this is based on the fenix 5 I’d hope it was more like that product line than the 910xt and 920xt family was.

    • David

      My 920xt barometric altimeter failed in January – 3 weeks outside of warranty. All my activities except swimming now occur at 22,614 ft. This causes my VO2 max to no longer calculates. No way to get the 920xt to just use GPS altitude. Tried cleaning, soaking, reset, no response. Garmin helpfully offered to replace my unit for $100, which is about all I would get for it if it worked and I could sell it, so a complete waste of $$$.

      Garmin Connect has no way to fix the elevation. Strava and SportTracks both are able to fix this.

    • Bubbles

      In the five years I had my 910xt I never had an issue with the baro alto, though that might be because I always rinsed the watch after every activity under luke warm flowing water.

    • KeithW

      “Garmin Connect has no way to fix the elevation.”

      I apologize if I misunderstand, for example if the website elevation correction is not applied to the VO2 max calculations, but on the Garmin Connect website there is an option for “Elev Corrections”, under the device listing on the right side of the page for a specific activity, right above the gear list.

      It is disabled by default for my Fenix 3, since my device does have a barometric altimeter, but I have toggled it to be corrected by the “professional survey” data.

      link to i.imgur.com

    • David

      Until mine broke, it worked fine too.

    • David

      Well I sure missed that! I had seen it, but because it’s light grey, and all the other text around it is black – including next to it where it says “disabled” – I never clicked on it. One more manual process for every activity.

      The VO2 max occurs on the watch, however, so I think that will remain hosed up.

    • Thomas Jones

      Longstanding in that I purchased the 910 XT some 5 years ago and had the problem. I am on my 2nd 920XT, I returned one after the failure and the replacement failed after a year or so this January.

    • I’d be interested in knowing this too – have Garmin “beefed up” the protection/waterproofing or whatever around the barometric altimeter? I had two failed 910XTs and my second 920XT has just failed, and Garmin are refusing to replace it (it’s outside the 1 year warranty, but this is a known issue) – and this makes me very worried they won’t have fixed it in the 935. Normally I’d buy new Garmin stuff in an instant, but I don’t really have confidence they’ll support their product any more.

    • The 910XT will be 6 years old this fall. Companies, including Garmin, have learned a lot since then about dealing with barometric altimeter holes.

      It’s simply not a common issue these days, nor has it really been to be honest. While I occasionally see failures here and there, most of them to be totally honest seem to be clustered with certain people. Which isn’t to blame a given individual, but rather, some wearing pattern/etc tends to cause more issues than others. For example, I remember one person who killed 4x910XT’s, then 2-3xAmbit2-3 units, all altimeter readings. At some point you step back and ask: What the nacho cheese hell are you doing?

      Just my two cents…

    • Thanks. Do you (or Garmin) have any theories about what the cause might be? Evidently I’m one of the individuals (4 failed Garmins so far, including two 920XTs – they seem to last about a year). Not a heavy swimmer (1-2x/wk) which I’ve heard is one theory. Watch is worn for activity and otherwise sits on my bedside table (or locker at work). Unfortunately if Garmin are just blaming individuals, I’m probably best just sticking with a broken watch rather than risking more of my money – and hoping they add an option in the firmware to disable the altimeter for those of us affected by this.

    • My bet is primarily salt. Either ocean swims or some people may be very heavy sweaters. Salt can eventually build up and block ports. Same with sports gel in certain scenarios. Having a quick release kit can make it worse too, depending on which model you’re looking at (i.e. 910XT).

      Things like showering with the watch daily helps, as it clears it out.

    • Sounds plausible – though I get the impression it’s more an electrical fault/failure than a physical blockage. The “fix” for the 910XT in a lot of cases appears to just damage the barometer further so the watch accepts the data are “invalid” and starts to take elevation from the GPS instead (at least in my case, and from the descriptions of others who state that after the ‘fix’ the elevation reads “–” until GPS is locked).

      In quite a few cases with the 920XT the faulty reading appears to include temperature gauge – mine is presently reading 293 (presumably celsius); the last one that broke was reading 83. If it was just a blockage I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue.

      I guess from a personal point of view I’ll watch the Garmin 935 forum over the next few months to see (and see how Garmin respond to further 920XT failures, which isn’t looking good so far). If anyone from Garmin is reading this and wants a “heavy sweater” or whatever I am to test their 935, I’d be game!

    • Mark

      I had similar problems with my first 910 which was out of warranty. Garmin replaced mine for a small fee, £75 IIRC, so worth contacting them?

      My replacement is having the same fault now, elevation showing as 20km and slowly working it’s way down to zero, then starting again. After ready about salt and chlorine build up I soaked it and washed the ports with a toothbrush and it’s resolved the issue.

      However, the vibration tones are now about twice as long as they should be (same problem as I had with the last unit), so it looks like I’ll be talking to Garmin again soon and see if the can take care of me when it dies.

    • Thanks – I’ve contacted them, they’re claiming it’s not an issue with the 920XT like it was with the 910XT (though it certainly seems to be happening to quite a few people, and this is my second). Bizarrely today they’ve said they’ll only cover it if it happens in the first six months of ownership – they’ve definitely lost me as a 935 buyer if that’s true!

    • Mark

      Thought they would have been more helpful. Mine was well out of warranty and they were able to provide a refurb unit for £75 so worth trying again to speak to someone different.

  154. joubex

    I used a fenix 3 (wo HR) with a cardio strap or more often with a scosche rhythm+.
    I wonder if upgrading to the forerunner 935 worth it?

    • Tim Grose

      Maybe not. Depends perhaps on whether you might want a lighter watch with a few additional training features.

  155. Joe Kennedy

    Great review as always Ray. Keep up the great work. I haven’t seen any comments regarding the actual buttons of the 935. Do they feel more durable than the 920XT? I’ve had the 920XT for two years now and I have always felt like the buttons stick every now and then and have that cheap plastic feel.

    I just couldn’t resist….and placed my order today!

    • Tim Grose

      I’ve had the 920 since came out, the 735 since came out and now this 935 and plenty more besides and worn each one every day until moved onto a newer one with some parallel running. A button has never failed on me in a Garmin watch. That said the buttons look quite nice and much less of an obvious plastic look than say the 735. If you are really bothered about “looks” but don’t mind the trade off of extra weight and cost then suggest check out the Fenix 5 models as seemingly functionally (apart from maps of the 5X) they are all the same.

    • Joe Kennedy

      Thanks for the input Tim. I had the 910XT previously, and didn’t have any problems with the buttons. Perhaps the problem with the 920XT that I have is an exception.

      Looking forward to getting the 935!

    • Danny L

      I am actually on here doing some research in the comments to see if any others are having issues with their 935 buttons. I have been on Garmin Forums and suspect I am not alone. My down button is starting to stick and is less responsive than previously out of the box. I have been wearing the 935 for 5 weeks. This is not a good sign to durability. Coming from the Forerunner 630, I’m not as satisfied with the build quality and it’s not like the 630 is a Fenix.

  156. E Amaro

    The “Training Load” sounds like a bit like Strava’s “Fitness & Freshness”, but easier to read. The trending lines on Strava’s are nice but FirstBeat’s data presentation looks “just right”.

  157. Viel

    Does anyone know what is the battery size of 935 and Fenix 5 in mAh’s?

  158. David

    Ray, when I use the Comparison Tool, and select Watch then Tri, the 935 is not auto included.

    Also, have you taken any wrist photos with a 920xt and a 935?

  159. Mark

    Hi Ray,

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Your reviews are easily the best out there by a country mile. Keep them coming 🙂

    Now that the Suunto Sport HR is providing 24/7 HR, and when swimming, do you think Garmin will also enable this? I’ve read how inaccurate it can be – does Suunto’s chip solved this issue or do you expect it to also be wildly inaccurate?

    Lastly, I think you highlighted that you use a Fenix 3 (HR?) for most things in your gear list. Any thoughts if you’ll be switching to the 5, 935 or something else yet?


    • Tim Grose

      Actually just went to the Pool Swim mode and put HR on one of the data fields and it is showing up from OHR.

      Whether it “works” in the water is another matter though.

    • Mark

      Thanks for the reply.

      I read that it will show up but it won’t record the data. Hopefully it has for you..



    • Victor HOoi

      I’m also interested in optical heart-rate for swimming.

      According to your table – the Suunto Spartan Sport HR does optical heart-rate underwater – but this Garmin 935 does not.

      At the moment, I’m actually using a Mio Link next to my Garmin 920xt to transmit HR.

      Has Garmin said whether it will be available down the track on the 935xt?

  160. lauri

    Will this training load come to fenix3 /hr users ?

  161. Sam M.

    Ray, Great review! I own a FR630. Is theFR935 a replacement for the 630 or do u think there be a next generation advanced running specific watch coming down the road from Garmin?


    • Tim Grose

      There was a note that Garmin dropped the “XT” to indicate that this is a good watch for a runner as well as the more obvious target of a “triathlete”. That said, my main sport is running but I also cycle but I am not a triathlete per se (don’t swim much!) and the 935 from the brief time have had looks like will be great for me. I also am a golfer too and there is a golf app too…

  162. Another great review Ray! Thanks for all that you do for the sports tech community! A question that I haven’t seen asked yet is how tight do you have to wear the watch to get the optical HR sensor to reliably read pulse? I hate (with the passion of 1000 burning suns) to wear a watch tight against my wrist, so I have a feeling that the optical HR will only be marginally useful. Is there any way to turn the optical HR lights OFF (saving battery life) and rely solely on a HRM strap during workouts?

    • Tim Grose

      If you can’t get good results worn “normally” (and that is common) then you do the need to try and wear it tight and up the arm a bit too. TBH I am like you and would rather just it normally and use a HR strap as I have done for many years – so am well used to it. OHR is great though the rest of the time and you can’t ever forget to bring it along like I do a strap sometimes so handy backup. No real need to turn off the OHR though – power consumption is minimal.

    • Eric

      If you pair an external HRM, it’ll automatically turn off the internal optical HR during an activity

  163. tony

    it the watch face glass or plastic ???

  164. Susan

    I have a question for the girl. I really appreciate the pictures of the Fenix 5 watches on her wrist. Can you get a picture of the 935 on her wrist for comparison and which does she prefer to wear? I have very tiny wrists and I while I’d prefer to go with the cheaper 935, I’m thinking the Fenix 5S might be better just because it’s a tiny bit smaller. I know both will still look big on me, but hopefully not quite as ridiculous as my 910xt.


    • Tim Grose

      I am not the girl (obviously) but if you can manage a 910 then the 935 will feel way smaller and lighter of course. Note also that the 5S is still significantly heavier than a 935.

    • Scott Hunter

      That depends if you think 18g is significant. You could always buy lighter running shoes to offset the difference 😉

    • Tim Grose

      Some Googling and the 910XT comes in at 72g and if that is “ridiculous” then “67g for the 5S vs. 49g for the 935” (pasted from another comment) might be well significant for Susan. I used to use a 910 so interesting to note those relative weights. I certainly would not care to wear one like the 910 now out of choice.

    • ekutter

      The weight difference, on the end of your arm can make a big difference to feel. It’s a bit more of a difference, but my normal watch is a 630 at 44g. Even after a full summer of using my Epix for trail runs, I can’t get used to the 80+ grams of it. It just gets annoying to me. And here’s another thought. Get a lighter pair of shoes as well. For a fitness device, lighter is almost always better.

    • Scott Hunter

      True; there is a reason why people spend over a hundred pounds on the ‘latest lightweight foam technology’ in their running shoes. When you are on mile 20 of your marathon the last thing you will be thinking is how pretty stainless steel looks compared to plastic.

    • Anna

      I’d be interested to know this too as I’m currently trying to decide between the 5S and the 935 for the same reason. Which watch did you go for in the end?

  165. Hezi

    Dear dc rsinmaker
    1st thanks for this grrat review.
    Is therr an analog mode for the faily basisi use?
    If so, can you please add a picture?
    Thanks, Hezi

  166. Hopefully they update the Vivosmart HR with this new sensor so they can get more meaningful all day heart monitoring as they are here.

    • Ryan M.

      Unfortunately don’t think that will happen. Ray responded in the Fenix 5 review when somebody asked about the 235 getting an update to have better all day tracking and he responded

      “Unfortunately it’s actually a new/different physical sensor, with a much lower battery drain profile.”

    • Tim Grose

      Logical to assume though that this latest OHR hardware will trickle down the line to new iterations of existing products in due course.

  167. jswts

    Can you get R-R HR interval to import into First Beat Athlete like you can with the 920XT. The 920XT didn’t/doesn’t do it out of the box, but there is process to turn that feature on. I use FirstBeat Athlete a lot, so before I jump to a new watch I’m hoping it’s possible with this.

    • Tim Grose

      Just come across a Log HRV option which presumes records HRV into the FIT which sounds like what you need. Anyway isn’t Firstbeat Athlete obsolete? Some older software like this won’t be primed up for the new FIT file format needed to record developer data like say with a Stryd. That said you could probably use something like FIT File Repair Tool to produce a compatible FIT file if need be.

    • Karl

      link to support.firstbeat.com hasn’t been updated since January, but given that it has 735XT and Fenix3, I can’t imagine this wouldn’t also be on Fenix5 and 935.

      Somebody should let First Beat know that they’re a bit out of date on this page. 🙂