• REI

Garmin Forerunner 165: The Complete Beginners Guide

Here’s your complete Garmin Forerunner 165 Beginners Guide, which covers everything you need to know about how to use the watch day to day. This is a bit different than my review videos (or the Garmin Forerunner 165 In-Depth Review itself), in that I’m focused more on ‘how’ to use the product, rather than things I do or don’t like about the product. As such, it’s packed with tips and tricks for not just the Forerunner 165, but also tons of general Garmin watch tips/tricks as well.

As always for these guides, I’ve got complete YouTube chapters in them, so you can skip around as you see fit to find the section that’s most interesting to you. These are available within the YouTube window itself (just scroll along the bottom timeline), or just by tapping the links down below:


0:00 Quick Overview
0:26 The Hardware Basics
1:54 Watch Faces & Display Settings
4:52 Widgets & Widget Glances
6:13 Sleep & Nap Tracking
10:33 HRV Tracking Explained
12:56 Body Battery & Factors
14:06 Morning Report
15:00 Flashlight & Controls Menu
16:59 Sport Modes & Settings
26:48 VO2Max & Performance Metrics
27:58 Sensor & Accessories Pairing
28:54 Music (Spotify, Amazon, etc…)
31:56 Garmin Pay Contactless Payments

With that – thanks for watching!

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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.

If you're shopping for the Garmin Forerunner 165 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you shop with TPC (The Pro's Closet), you'll save $40 on purchases over $200 with coupon code DCRAIN40! The Pro's Closet has been a long-time partner of the site here - including sponsoring videos like my cargo bike race, as well as just being an awesome Colorado-based company full of good humans. Check them out with the links below and the DCRAIN40 coupon!

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others being the Polar H9/H10). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

Seriously, this will change your life. $9 for a two-pack of these puck Garmin chargers that stay put and stay connected. One for the office, one for your bedside, another for your bag, and one for your dog's house. Just in case.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.

This wifi-connected scale will track your weight and related metrics both on the scale display and in Garmin Connect (plus 3rd party apps like TrainingPeaks). It'll also then sync your weight to your watch/bike computer, to ensure accurate calorie data.

The HRM-PRO Plus is Garmin's top-end chest strap. It transmits dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, but also transmits Running Dynamics & Running Pace/Distance metrics, stores HR data during a swim, and can be used without a watch for other sports. Also, it can transmit XC Skiing Dynamics as well.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

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  1. Bryan H

    If I don’t sleep with a watch on, are HRV, recovery, etc still useful or is sleep such a core component that they become flawed statistics without that data. Thanks.

    • No, the HRV features on this watch are pretty much only at sleep. Sure, you can do an HRV spot-check, but it’s not used for anything except recording a data point.

      For recovery, it’ll roughly work, but won’t accelerate/etc if you’ve not got sleep data there.

  2. Mel

    I didn’t see it mentioned in the video, but does FR 165 have support for hotkeys or not? FR265 does have those and they are very useful. It seems that hotkey support is missing from FR165 though, which would be a shame.

  3. Ken

    Im already certain I know the answer, but does this watch do breadcrumb navigation? Can you import routes and maps?

    This is currently only featured on the 945 series and up, but I want to be sure before I spend more than I have to.

    • Doug

      Excellent question…does anybody know the answer?

    • Yes, it does course/route navigation, breadcrumb style. I briefly touch on it in the video. The key difference to the higher-end Forerunner’s is those also have maps on the device, whereas this doesn’t.

      Maybe I’ll add a quick little section into the post. There’s some other minor differences around things like how the compass/etc works, but you’ll see those in a post on the FR165 vs FR265, maybe in a few hours. Post is fully done, editing video now.

  4. Willy

    Hi Ray!

    How likely is an update to the 965 series this year? Do you think it is worth waiting, since I kinda fell for the 965 🙂

    I really hope that Garmin will soon integrate some cellular / LTE options to their premium models.

    • I certainly wouldn’t expect a FR975 or such, as that would mark a big shift in Garmin’s Forerunner refresh cycle to be annual vs every two years. No idea though if they’ll throw down a LTE variant.

  5. Dusan

    Hello! There is typo in your product comparison for FR 165: PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT DATE and ACTUAL AVAILABILITY/SHIPPING DATE is in year 2024 (not 2023).