Garmin Forerunner 35: Essential guide to the budget GPS running watch

Everything you need to know about Garmin's entry level Forerunner
Garmin Forerunner 35 guide

Garmin has unveiled a new running watch, which brings optical heart rate monitoring to the wrist for a wallet –friendly price.

Significantly cheaper than the Forerunner 630 and the Forerunner 235, Garmin still manages to pack in a whole lot of features into the Forerunner 35.

Wareable verdict: Garmin Forerunner 35 in-depth review

We've had a proper play with the Forerunner 35 now, but if you want to get a quick lowdown on what to expect, read on for the ins and outs of Garmin's latest running watch.

Garmin Forerunner 35: Design

Garmin Forerunner 35 guide

While Garmin's wearables are getting better looking, we're not sure you'll be able to say that about the Forerunner 35. Available with black, blue, green or white straps, the watch case strongly resembles the one featured on Garmin's Vivoactive smartwatch.

It measures in at 13mm thick and weighs just under 40g so it's not a bulky number. But with its thick black bezel surrounding a not so super sharp 128 x 128 resolution monochrome screen, it's every bit a sports watch without any hint of style.

Read this: The best GPS running watches

On the plus side, it's been slapped with a 5ATM (up to 50 metres) waterproofing rating so you can take it for a dip in the pool. It just won't track swimming sessions like a Fenix 3 or the Vivoactive HR.

Along with Garmin's own proprietary Elevate optical heart rate sensor on the back of the watch, there's also four physical buttons to activate the 35 with a dedicated music button (a first for Garmin watches) to control music playback from your phone.

Garmin Forerunner 35: Run tracking

So here's the important part, what the Forerunner 35 can deliver on the run tracking front. There's GPS of course to track runs outdoors while the accelerometer on board delivers indoor run tracking as well.

While it hardly matches the dizzying heights of the Forerunner 630 for deep running metrics, it still offers pace, distance and time data, as well as a real-time readout of heart rate and heart rate zone.

You still get the great virtual pacer feature from other Garmin running watches and the ability to set up interval training. It also offers both auto lap and pause modes. It's all the basics even accomplished runners need.

Away from running, it's also a cycling-friendly watch too letting you pair it up with additional bike power/speed cadence sensor to track outdoor rides.

Garmin Forerunner 35: Activity tracking

Garmin Forerunner 35 guide

The Forerunner 35 inherits activity tracking features from the likes of the Vivofit 3 and Vivosmart HR+ trackers so it'll count steps, adjust step goals automatically depending on your progress and can automatically monitor sleep.

It also packs in Garmin's great Move Bar feature that indicates how inactive (lazy) you've been and will give you a vibrating buzz to prompt you to get up and moving again.

With the heart rate monitor included, you'll also be able to monitor heart rate activity continuously 24/7 giving you a better insight into health trends over the day.


Garmin Forerunner 35: Smart notifications

Garmin Forerunner 35 guide

As with all Garmins you also get notifications on the wrist, and as we've often repeated, Garmin's smarts are some of the best in the game – with full messages displayed from pretty much every third party catered for. Essentially, if it pops up on your phone it will appear on the watch.

So what don't you get? Anything more advanced than simple pace and distance data is out – and there's no Garmin Connect IQ. Of course, all runs and activity data will be shared into the Garmin Connect app.

Garmin Forerunner 35: Battery life

Naturally, the watch doubles as a fitness tracker and you get 9 days of battery life in non-GPS mode, and 13 hours of tracked running. To put that into perspective, the Forerunner 235 offers 11 hours of tracked training and 9 days when using all of the features to the max. So it's impressive figures.

Garmin Forerunner 35: Price and release date

Starting at $199.99 the Forerunner 35 is hardly a budget watch. It's an upgrade to the Forerunner 25, which enjoyed bargain basement prices online (you can currently bag one for under $100) and represents one of the best budget running watches money can buy.

But it's the cheapest way runners can get their hands on a Garmin GPS running watch with a built-in optical heart rate monitor. It's expected to debut in "Q3 2016", so expect to see it land in the coming months.


Shop for recommended running watches on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 235
Garmin Forerunner 235
$329.99
TomTom Spark 3
TomTom Spark 3
$225.00
Polar M600
Polar M600
$251.08
Fitbit Surge
Fitbit Surge
$249.95

Wareable may get a commission


1 Comment

  • Stefanus says:

    Hi! Thanks for the post. Is there any official release date for this in Australia? Any chance it will be before 11th of October?  

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.