Garmin 235 Review

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The Garmin 235, showing the display of heart rate.

I had remarkably high hopes for the Garmin 235. I was naïve enough to think that it would be like the Garmin 225, but with better optical heart rate monitoring, better GPS Accuracy and adding in Connect IQ to boot. Sadly, the GPS accuracy is even worse and the optical heart rate monitoring is still not viable. The 235 has some cool novelties, but if you look at the four basic questions I use to evaluate the foundational capabilities of a running watch, it comes up short.

  • How far did I run? This is the most basic question, and sadly the 235 has distinctly grim GPS Accuracy. Even with my low expectations of recent Garmin devices I was rather disappointed. It's possible that the variants of the 235 that lack the optical heart rate monitor (230/630) might do a little better, but I wouldn't expect a huge improvement. Of course, the error that you'll see will depend on the nature of your route. On straight lines and with a clear view of the sky it should do okay, but in tree cover and on twisty courses it's likely to be pretty ugly. How much this will bother you is likely to depend on how what you're using the watch for and the nature of your personality.
  • How fast am I running? Knowing how fast you're running can be a nice to know, or it can be vital for your training or race performance. Because of the nature of GPS, watches that rely on GPS signal alone tend to have serious problems with current pace. Thankfully, Garmin has added support for the display of current Pace From A Footpod while getting all other data from GPS. (This was added in the 4.70 firmware, released June 2016.)
  • Where am I? The 235 has extremely limited support for navigation, but it's better than nothing.
    • Back To Start. This is a simple arrow point to your starting point, so it won't help you backtrack. However, knowing where your hotel is in a strange city or where you parked your car is immensely valuable, especially if you're running a circular route.
    • Back To Waypoint. You can mark a location and use the arrow to point to it later. Again, this is a simple "as the crow flies" pointer.
    • Connect IQ Apps. It's possible to add more navigation by installing a Connect IQ app. Connect IQ application take over the role of the display and recording of your activity, so while they can add some navigation they may not have the functionality that you'd expect from a running watch. I tried dwMap (V1.4.0018b) and it will give you navigation, but you have extremely limited options for displaying other data, with just four predefined fields shown.
  • What's my cadence? Cadence is one of the most critical and often overlooked aspects of running. If you get your Cadence right, many other things naturally fall into place. . There is support for Cadence from the internal accelerometer, though I find that's not as accurate as the Footpod which it supports. While the 235 has alerts for heart rate, pace, distance, and time, it lacks an alert for Cadence which would have been the most valuable.

The 235 is not a good choice for ultrarunners, as its battery life is too short. You can charge the 235 while you're running, but I'd recommend getting a watch with a longer battery life so you don't have to charge it so often. See Watches for Ultrarunning for more details.

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Buy Garmin 235 at Amazon.com

1 Garmin 230/235/630

Garmin produces three similar watches; the base 230, the 235 that adds Optical Heart Rate Monitoring (OHRM) to the base 230, and the 630 that adds extra functionality to the base 230. I don't see that the additional price of the 630 is worthwhile, so if you don't want the OHRM then go for the 230.

Garmin 230 Garmin 235 Garmin 630
Upload Bluetooth/USB Bluetooth/USB Bluetooth/USB/WiFi
Battery Life 16 Hours 11 Hours 16 Hours
Running Dynamics No No Yes (with Run-HRM Strap)

2 Garmin 235 Pros

  • Connect IQ allows the 235 to include rich apps to extend its core functionality. For instance, the ActiFace app makes the activity monitor far more inspiring.
  • Garmin has added support for displaying your current Pace From A Footpod while getting all other data from GPS. For situations where pacing is critical, such as running a marathon, this is a must have feature.
  • The 235 is a nice size, looking more like a watch than a brick. I find it a lot more comfortable than the Garmin Fenix 3, [{Garmin Epix]], or Garmin 920XT, though I have rather tiny wrists.
  • The color display is bigger than the Garmin 225, though it is neither square nor circular, but flat on the top/bottom and round on the sides, which is odd. Some of the screens end up with the edges cut off, which can make the graphs confusing.
  • Like many other recent running watches, and the 235 will act as an activity tracker. I found this is an area where Connect IQ really shines, providing rather more sophisticated visualizations and motivations than other manufacturers. As noted above, I particularly like the ActiFace watch face that displays a graph of your activity level over the last week, and adds badges for things like reaching double your step goal. The 235 will automatically detect when you go to sleep and wake up, rather than having to be told. This makes the sleep tracking a lot more convenient, as I tend to forget. I didn't find the sleep tracking to be as good as the Basis watches, but in the 235 does an acceptable job for casual usage.
  • You can enable notifications from your smartphone, which relays the phone's notification messages, such as texts, calls, or other things you've enabled. For instance, it will notify me when someone joins my conference line.
  • The 235 has some Firstbeat features that normally require a heart rate strap, such as recovery time, training effect, and V̇O2max estimation. (See below for the issues with the heart rate accuracy that limits the value of this.)
  • The 235 can be charged while running, though the optical heart rate is turned off. This may make it slightly more viable for ultrarunning.
  • The 235 can be configured to alert you when a metric is out of range. The alerts include heart rate, pace, distance, and calories. You can also have time-based alerts such as a reminder to take a drink. However, there is no alert for Cadence which is probably the most valuable alerts you could have.
  • The 235 will cache the GPS satellite locations for the next few days to reduce startup time. The satellite cash is downloaded when you sync the 235 either via a USB connection or through the Bluetooth sync to a smartphone. I find the faster acquisition is particularly useful when travelling to a new location as older devices can take minutes to get a fix when travelling. I hate standing around on a street corner in the cold, dark, early hours of the morning waiting for my watch to tell me I can start running. I found that the satellite acquisition was on a par with other modern Garmin watches, which means it's extremely rapid when the cache is available, and relatively slow if the cash is expired.
  • The 235 will upload your workouts via a Bluetooth link to your smart phone. If you plug the 235 into a computer it will function as a flash drive, giving you direct access to your workouts as '.FIT' files. This provides compatibility with a wide range of software.
  • The 235 will record your personal best performances, such as fasted 5K or longest distance. These are a nice novelty, but for most people you won't be setting PR's on a regular enough basis for it to add much value.
  • The 235 has a surprisingly nice strap. I sometimes fear that Garmin has a department that specializes in unfriendly and uncomfortable straps. While the 235 is not anything like as nice as a Suunto, it's far better than most Garmin watches.
  • The Garmin Connect smartphone app and website are both excellent, and Garmin is continuing to improve them.

3 Garmin 235 Cons

  • The GPS Accuracy is terrible; see below for details.
  • See below for the details of the Optical Heart Rate Monitoring.
  • I love the idea of having continuous hear rate monitoring, especially to get things like Resting Heart Rate. However, the poor accuracy limits the value, and the continuous monitoring seems to add problems where the 235 gets "stuck" at a particular value. I'd expected the heart rate data to be used for calorie calculations, but it doesn't seem to have any effect.
  • The battery life is annoyingly poor, even for fairly casual running when the watch is used as an activity monitor. I find myself having to charge the 235 far too frequently and it seems to take longer than I'd like to recharge.
  • The 235 will automatically pair to a heart rate strap without being in a pairing mode. This means it will link to someone else's strap, which is mightily annoying.
  • The 235 includes an internal accelerometer to give you an idea of pace and distance while running on a treadmill without a footpod, but I found the accuracy was rather poor. I've yet to come across a watch that can reasonably estimate your pace from the movement of your wrist, nor does it seem likely that this functionality is practical.

4 GPS Accuracy

The Garmin 235 did a rather worse than even I expected, and I had remarkably low expectations. The images below back up the more rigorous statistical analysis to your find on my GPS Accuracy page. Given that the Garmin 225 did worse than the Garmin 620, and the 225 is essentially a 620 with Optical Heart Rate Monitoring, it's possible that the 230 or 630 might do a little better than the 235. However, even if those invariants are proportionally better, it's still a really grim level of inaccuracy.

You can see the 235 does terribly in the middle twisty section, which is a difficult section for most GPS watches. However, they rarely do quite this badly. The 235 also does quite poorly under the bridge, which counterintuitively is a section that most watches are able to handle without issues. You can see a few tracks where the 235 seems to get significantly lost, and the spread of the blue lap markers is further indications of some fundamental issues. If you compare this image with the equivalent on my Garmin 225 review, you'll see how much worse it does than even that rather mediocre watch. To show how the tracks should look, check out my review of the Polar V800 or Suunto Ambit3. (This diagram has tracks color coded with green indicating good accuracy through to red indicating poor accuracy, and the lap markers as blue dots.)
This close up section of a zigzag shows the 225 failing to track the shape of the trail, with far too many red colored lines, and the blue lap markers widely distributed. (This diagram has tracks color coded with green indicating good accuracy through to red indicating poor accuracy, and the lap markers as blue dots.)
Most GPS watches tend to show the tracks that have the green lines shifted slightly down and to the left, blue up and to the right. The 235 does not show this typical pattern, though it may be that the green lines are a little closer to the actual trail than the blue lines. It's not unusual for a GPS watch to be more accurate in one direction than the other. You can see the lap markers shifted based on direction which is also typical. (This image has the tracks color-coded for direction, with green coming from the right, blue from the left.)

5 Optical Heart Rate Monitoring

I'm currently re-analyzing my Optical Heart Rate Monitoring data.

6 What's Missing

While I don't consider these missing features as 'cons', it's worth understanding the features that are missing compared with other watches. You'll notice that the 235 has a rather short list of missing features ;}

  • Altimeter. GPS is far less accurate vertically than horizontally, so a barometric altimeter can provide a much better idea of your ascent and descent. It can also be useful for navigation if you're ascending or descending a mountain. In some races I've been far more interested in how much ascent is left rather than the distance to the top.
  • Navigation. The navigation capabilities are useful if there is a risk of getting lost. I've made good use of this feature when running in an unfamiliar city, or when running remote trails. (On a screen this small it might not be much use anyway.)
  • Extended battery life. Some porches can extend the battery life by turning the GPS reception off for short periods. This can dramatically reduce GPS accuracy, but it's a useful trade-off for some ultramarathons.
  • WiFi Uploads. While the automatic upload of workouts via WiFi is nice, the upload will typically only go to the manufacturer's web site.
  • Running Dynamics. Some of the newer Garmin watches support Running Dynamics that can show and record Vertical Oscillation (VO) and Ground Contact Time (GCT). (You can get this with the 630.)
  • Web Configuration. Some watches allow you to setup the configuration via a web site, and then download your changes. This is vastly easier than fiddling with the watch.

7 Visual Comparison

Garmin 235 top
Garmin 235 side
Garmin 225 top
Garmin 225 side
Garmin 620 top
Garmin 620 side
Suunto Ambit3 top
Suunto Ambit3 side
Suunto Ambit2 top
Suunto Ambit2 side
Polar V800 top
Polar V800 side
Garmin Epix top
Garmin Epix side
Leikr 1 top
Leikr 1 side
Polar M400 top
Polar M400 side
TomTom Cardio Runner top
TomTom Cardio Runner side

8 Comparison Table

I evaluate running watches in three distinct ways. Firstly, you can use a watch on its own, without any kind of Footpod. This is probably the most common way runners use their watch, but you miss out on a lot. The second rating is with a standard Footpod that is available quite cheaply. These Footpod's can be reasonably accurate once the calibrated, but calibration is a little tedious. The final evaluation is with the Stryd Footpod, which is vastly more accurate than any other type of Footpod, or and more accurate than GPS. The table below looks at the score, and the value for money of each watch for each of the three conditions.

Review With Stryd Score With Stryd Value for money With Footpod Score With Footpod Value for money Without Footpod Score Without Footpod Value for money Price at Amazon.com
Garmin Epix Review 47 4.5 31 3.9 23 3.4 Garmin Epix $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $174.95)
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 47 2.9 32 2.3 24 1.9 Fenix 5X $672.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 45 3.8 28 3.1 24 3 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $379.98)
Garmin 935 Review 45 3.6 30 3 22 2.4 Garmin 935 $499.95 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 40 4.9 21 3.8 17 3.8 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.00)
Garmin 920XT Review 39 4.4 30 4.7 24 4.5 Garmin 920XT without HRM $253.95 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $199.99)
Garmin Vivoactive Review 34 5.1 14 3.4 10 3.3 Garmin Vivoactive $127.18 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $87.99)
Polar V800 Review 33 2.8 26 2.8 22 2.7 Polar V800 without HRM $429.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 Review 32 3.9 25 4.3 21 4.5 Suunto Ambit2 $299.24 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 32 3.4 29 4.1 25 4.2 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $301.16 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 32 2.2 28 2.4 24 2.2 Suunto Spartan Ultra $649.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 31 2.9 22 2.7 18 2.5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 30 4 27 5.5 23 5.9 Suunto Ambit3 Run $299.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 30 3.5 23 3.8 19 3.8 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 235 Review 28 2.9 20 2.8 12 2 Garmin 235 $329.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $259.95)
Garmin 620 Review 27 3.8 24 5.1 20 5.6 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 26 3.9 26 6.1 21 6.7 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 25 4.6 24 8.3 18 10 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar M400 Review 25 4.3 15 4.5 11 4.9 Polar M400 without HRM $129.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $110.00)
Garmin 225 Review 25 3.8 13 3.1 9 2.9 Garmin 225 $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.90)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 25 3.3 8 1.6 8 2 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar M430 25 3.2 15 2.9 11 2.7 Template:Polar M430 Without HRM
Garmin 610 Review 24 3.3 20 4.3 14 3.9 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Leikr Review 10 1 20 2.5 14 2 Leikr ($380)
Epson SF-510 Review 4 0.7 4 1.3 4 2 Epson SF-510 $79.99 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-810 Review 4 0.6 4 1.1 4 1.5 Epson SF-810 $109.99 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.3 2 0.6 2 0.9 Garmin 10 $86.57 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $88.97)

The score is the sum of how well each watch can answer the four basic questions (how far, how fast, where are you, what's your cadence), plus some bonus points.

  1. The "How far you've run" will be based on GPS only for "without Footpod" and "with Standard Footpod", but based on Stryd if supported in the "with Stryd Footpod" table..
  2. How fast you're running assumes you're using a Footpod if it's supported, otherwise the rating is 0-2 based on GPS accuracy.
  3. The "Where are you?" is based on various navigation features such as back to start, breadcrumbs, and preloaded maps. For some watches, you have to turn GPS off to get the benefit of Stryd, so those watches have worse "where are you scores" with Stryd than without.
  4. The cadence score uses 1 point for an internal cadence sensor, 2 points for footpod support, 1 point for support from chest strap cadence, and 1 point for cadence alerts.
  5. I give 1-2 bonus points for application support, 1-2 bonus points for data upload, 1-2 bonus points for Optical Heart Rate Monitoring, and 0-1 bonus points for battery life.
  6. Value for money is the score divided by the price (at the time I last updated the table.) Your needs may be different, so you might weight the different aspects of the watches differently, or be basing your decision on different criteria totally. Hopefully this table will give you a good starting point for your decision.

8.1 Score Breakdown without a Footpod

Review Score Value for money6 How far did
you run?1
How fast are
you running?2
Where are
you?3
What's your
cadence?4
Bonus Points5 class="unsortable" |

Price at Amazon.com

Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 25 4.2 8 3 6 2 6 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $301.16 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 920XT Review 24 4.5 1 2 7 6 8 Garmin 920XT without HRM $253.95 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $199.99)
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 24 3 2 1 7 6 8 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $379.98)
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 24 2.2 8 2 7 2 5 Suunto Spartan Ultra $649.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 24 1.9 1 0 9 6 8 Fenix 5X $672.00 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 23 5.9 8 3 5 2 5 Suunto Ambit3 Run $299.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin Epix Review 23 3.4 0 0 9 6 8 Garmin Epix $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $174.95)
Polar V800 Review 22 2.7 9 4 3 2 4 Polar V800 without HRM $429.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin 935 Review 22 2.4 1 0 7 6 8 Garmin 935 $499.95 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 21 6.7 5 3 6 2 5 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 Review 21 4.5 4 3 6 2 6 Suunto Ambit2 $299.24 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 620 Review 20 5.6 3 2 2 6 7 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 19 3.8 4 3 5 2 5 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 18 10 7 2 4 0 5 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 18 2.5 1 0 6 6 5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 17 3.8 0 0 2 6 9 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.00)
Garmin 610 Review 14 3.9 3 2 3 2 4 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Leikr Review 14 2 5 2 4 0 3 Leikr ($380)
Garmin 235 Review 12 2 0 0 2 2 8 Garmin 235 $329.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $259.95)
Polar M400 Review 11 4.9 3 1 1 2 4 Polar M400 without HRM $129.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $110.00)
Polar M430 11 2.7 3 1 1 2 4 Template:Polar M430 Without HRM
Garmin Vivoactive Review 10 3.3 0 0 0 6 4 Garmin Vivoactive $127.18 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $87.99)
Garmin 225 Review 9 2.9 1 1 0 2 5 Garmin 225 $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.90)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 8 2 2 1 0 0 5 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Epson SF-510 Review 4 2 0 0 0 0 4 Epson SF-510 $79.99 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-810 Review 4 1.5 1 0 0 0 3 Epson SF-810 $109.99 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.9 0 0 0 0 2 Garmin 10 $86.57 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $88.97)

8.2 Score Breakdown with a Standard Footpod

Review Score Value for money6 How far did
you run?1
How fast are
you running?2
Where are
you?3
What's your
cadence?4
Bonus Points5 class="unsortable" |

Price at Amazon.com

Garmin Fenix 5X Review 32 2.3 1 4 9 10 8 Fenix 5X $672.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Epix Review 31 3.9 0 4 9 10 8 Garmin Epix $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $174.95)
Garmin 920XT Review 30 4.7 1 4 7 10 8 Garmin 920XT without HRM $253.95 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $199.99)
Garmin 935 Review 30 3 1 4 7 10 8 Garmin 935 $499.95 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 29 4.1 8 3 6 6 6 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $301.16 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 28 3.1 2 1 7 10 8 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $379.98)
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 28 2.4 8 2 7 6 5 Suunto Spartan Ultra $649.00 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 27 5.5 8 3 5 6 5 Suunto Ambit3 Run $299.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 26 6.1 5 4 6 6 5 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar V800 Review 26 2.8 9 4 3 6 4 Polar V800 without HRM $429.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 Review 25 4.3 4 3 6 6 6 Suunto Ambit2 $299.24 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 24 8.3 7 4 4 4 5 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 620 Review 24 5.1 3 2 2 10 7 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 23 3.8 4 3 5 6 5 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 22 2.7 1 0 6 10 5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 21 3.8 0 0 2 10 9 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.00)
Garmin 610 Review 20 4.3 3 4 3 6 4 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 235 Review 20 2.8 0 4 2 6 8 Garmin 235 $329.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $259.95)
Leikr Review 20 2.5 5 4 4 4 3 Leikr ($380)
Polar M400 Review 15 4.5 3 1 1 6 4 Polar M400 without HRM $129.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $110.00)
Polar M430 15 2.9 3 1 1 6 4 Template:Polar M430 Without HRM
Garmin Vivoactive Review 14 3.4 0 0 0 10 4 Garmin Vivoactive $127.18 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $87.99)
Garmin 225 Review 13 3.1 1 1 0 6 5 Garmin 225 $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.90)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 8 1.6 2 1 0 0 5 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Epson SF-510 Review 4 1.3 0 0 0 0 4 Epson SF-510 $79.99 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-810 Review 4 1.1 1 0 0 0 3 Epson SF-810 $109.99 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.6 0 0 0 0 2 Garmin 10 $86.57 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $88.97)

8.3 Score Breakdown with a Stryd Footpod

Review Score Value for money6 How far did
you run?1
How fast are
you running?2
Where are
you?3
What's your
cadence?4
Bonus Points5 class="unsortable" |

Price at Amazon.com

Garmin Epix Review 47 4.5 10 10 9 10 8 Garmin Epix $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $174.95)
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 47 2.9 10 10 9 10 8 Fenix 5X $672.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 45 3.8 10 10 7 10 8 Fenix 3 $449.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $379.98)
Garmin 935 Review 45 3.6 10 10 7 10 8 Garmin 935 $499.95 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 40 4.9 10 10 1 10 9 Garmin Vivoactive HR $. at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.00)
Garmin 920XT Review 39 4.4 10 10 1 10 8 Garmin 920XT without HRM $253.95 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $199.99)
Garmin Vivoactive Review 34 5.1 10 10 0 10 4 Garmin Vivoactive $127.18 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $87.99)
Polar V800 Review 33 2.8 10 10 3 6 4 Polar V800 without HRM $429.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 Review 32 3.9 10 10 6 0 6 Suunto Ambit2 $299.24 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 32 3.4 10 10 6 0 6 Suunto Ambit3 Peak $301.16 USD at Amazon.com
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 32 2.2 10 10 7 0 5 Suunto Spartan Ultra $649.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 31 2.9 10 10 6 0 5 Garmin Fenix 2 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 30 4 10 10 5 0 5 Suunto Ambit3 Run $299.00 USD (new) at Amazon.com
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 30 3.5 10 10 5 0 5 Suunto Ambit2 R without HRM $249.00 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 235 Review 28 2.9 10 10 0 0 8 Garmin 235 $329.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $259.95)
Garmin 620 Review 27 3.8 10 10 0 0 7 Garmin 620 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 910XT Review 26 3.9 10 10 1 0 5 Garmin 910XT without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Garmin 310XT Review 25 4.6 10 10 0 0 5 Garmin 310XT without HRM
price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar M400 Review 25 4.3 10 10 1 0 4 Polar M400 without HRM $129.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $110.00)
Garmin 225 Review 25 3.8 10 10 0 0 5 Garmin 225 $199.99 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $175.90)
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 25 3.3 10 10 0 0 5 TomTom Cardio Runner price not listed at Amazon.com
Polar M430 25 3.2 10 10 1 0 4 Template:Polar M430 Without HRM
Garmin 610 Review 24 3.3 10 10 0 0 4 Garmin 610 without HRM price not listed at Amazon.com
Leikr Review 10 1 5 2 0 0 3 Leikr ($380)
Epson SF-510 Review 4 0.7 0 0 0 0 4 Epson SF-510 $79.99 USD at Amazon.com
Epson SF-810 Review 4 0.6 1 0 0 0 3 Epson SF-810 $109.99 USD at Amazon.com
Garmin 10 Review 2 0.3 0 0 0 0 2 Garmin 10 $86.57 USD at Amazon.com
(Referbished $88.97)

8.4 Basic Features

Review

Released GPS
Accuracy
Weight (oz) Size (CM3) Display (mm) Resolution (Pixels) Waterproofing Heart Rate
Monitor
Cadence Data Upload
Garmin Epix Review 2015 6.2 3.0 48 29 x 21 (609mm2) 205 x 148 (30.3K total) Good (50m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 2017 5.6 3.5 36 30.5 (round) (731mm2) 240 diameter (45.2K total) Good (100m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 2015 6.2 2.9 33 30 (round) (726mm2) 218 diameter (37.3K total) Good (100m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin 935 Review 2017 5.6 1.7 24 30.5 (round) (731mm2) 240 diameter (45.2K total) Good (100m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 2016 4.9 1.7 19 21 x 29 (609mm2) 148 x 205 (30.3K total) Good (50m) Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin 920XT Review 2014 6.6 2.2 35 29 x 21 (609mm2) 205 x 148 (30.3K total) Good (50m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin Vivoactive Review 2015 5.4 1.3 13 29 x 21 (592mm2) 205 x 148 (30.3K total) Good (50m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Suunto Ambit2 Review 2013 7.6 3.1 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (100m) Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 2014 7.9 2.9 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (100m) Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 2016 7.1 2.7 38 32 (round) (804mm2) 56 x 32 (96K total) Good (100m) Yes Internal (Limited Footpod) Yes
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 2014 5.7 3.2 32 31 (round) (755mm2) 70 diameter (3.8K total) Good (50m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 2014 7.9 2.5 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (50m) Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 2013 7.6 2.5 30 29 (round) (661mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (50m) Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Garmin 235 Review 2015 4.9 1.5 19 31 (round) (755mm2) 215 x 180 (38.7K total) Good (50m) Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod Yes
Garmin 620 Review 2013 7.1 1.5 20 25.4 (round) (507mm2) 180 diameter (25.4K total) Good (50m) Yes Internal/Footpod/Heart Rate Monitor/Alert Yes
Garmin 910XT Review 2011 7.5 2.5 49 33 x 20 (660mm2) 160 x 100 (16K total) Good (50m) Yes Footpod/Alert Yes
Garmin 310XT Review 2009 7.5 2.5 63 33 x 20 (660mm2) 160 x 100 (16K total) Good (50m) Yes Footpod Yes
Garmin 225 Review 2015 6.2 1.5 24 25.4 (round) (507mm2) 180 diameter (25.4K total) Good (50m) Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod Yes
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 2015 6.0 2.2 30 22 x 25 (550mm2) 144 x 168 (24.2K total) Good (50m) Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod Yes
Polar V800 Review 2014 8.0 2.8 31 23 x 23 (529mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (30m) Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Polar M400 Review 2014 6.6 2.0 24 23 x 23 (529mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (30m) Yes Internal/Footpod Yes
Garmin 610 Review 2011 7.3 2.5 41 25.4 (round) (507mm2) 128 diameter (12.9K total) Fair (IPX7) Yes Footpod/Alert Yes
Leikr Review 2013 7.3 2.4 25 41 x 31 (1271mm2) 206 x 148 (76.8K total) Fair (IPX6) Yes Footpod Limited
Epson SF-510 Review 2015 4.4 1.7 24 28 x 22 (616mm2) 128 x 96 (12.3K total) Good (50m) Yes Limited Internal Limited
Epson SF-810 Review 2015 5.5 1.8 28 28 (round) (616mm2) 128 diameter (12.9K total) Good (50m) OHRM Only) Limited Internal Limited
Garmin 10 Review 2012 3.8 1.3 33 25 x 24 (600mm2) 55 x 32 (1.8K total) Good (50m) No No Yes
Polar M430 2017 2.0 24 23 x 23 (529mm2) 128 x 128 (16.4K total) Good (50m) style="background-color: #63BE7B;" Yes (+OHRM) Internal/Footpod Yes



Review

Battery
Life (hr)
Tested Battery
Life (hr)
Extended
Battery
Life (hr)
Charge On The Run? Training
Effect
HRV GPS cache Sensors
Garmin Epix Review 24 17.6 50 Yes (with USB=Garmin) Yes Record Yes Ant+
Garmin Fenix 5X Review 20 23 35 Yes, but can't be worn Yes Record Yes Bluetooth/Ant+
Garmin Fenix 3 Review 20 22 50 Yes (with USB=Garmin) Yes No Yes Ant+
Garmin 935 Review 24 24.5 60 Yes, but can't be worn Yes Record Yes Bluetooth/Ant+
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review 13 13 Yes (with USB=Garmin) No No Yes Ant+
Garmin 920XT Review 24 19 40 No (terminates) Yes Record Yes Ant+
Garmin Vivoactive Review 10 10 10 Yes (with USB=Garmin) No No Yes Ant+
Suunto Ambit2 Review 15 50 Yes Yes Record Yes Ant+
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review 20 100 Yes Yes Record Yes Bluetooth
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review 18 17 26 Yes, but can't be worn Yes Record Yes Bluetooth
Garmin Fenix 2 Review 15 50 Yes (with USB=Garmin) Yes No Yes Ant+
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review 10 10.5 100 Yes Yes Record Yes Bluetooth
Suunto Ambit2 R Review 8 7.3 25 Yes Yes Record Yes Ant+
Garmin 235 Review 11 11 Yes, but no optical HR Yes No Yes Ant+
Garmin 620 Review 10 10 No (resets) Yes Record Yes Ant+
Garmin 910XT Review 20 20 Yes, but no display Yes Record No Ant+
Garmin 310XT Review 20 20 Yes, but no display No No No Ant+
Garmin 225 Review 10 11 10 No (resets) No No Yes Ant+
TomTom Cardio Runner Review 8 6.3 8 No (resets) No No Yes Bluetooth HR
Polar V800 Review 13 24 50 No (terminates) Yes Display Predictive Bluetooth
Polar M400 Review 8 8 Yes, but can't be worn No No No Bluetooth
Garmin 610 Review 8 8 Yes, but no display Yes Record No Ant+
Leikr Review 5 6.5 5 Yes, but can't be worn No No Yes (few hours) Ant+
Epson SF-510 Review 30 30 30 No No No Yes (few hours) Bluetooth HR
Epson SF-810 Review 20 26 20 No No No Yes (few hours) None
Garmin 10 Review 5 5 No No No No None
Polar M430 8 8 8 No No No Yes Bluetooth

9 Navigation Features

Review

Color Maps Breadcrumbs Courses To Waypoint Compass Reverse course Beeline to start Connect IQ Altimeter
Garmin Epix Review Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Garmin Fenix 5X Review Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Garmin Fenix 3 Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Garmin 935 Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Garmin Vivoactive HR Review No No No No No No No Yes Yes
Garmin 920XT Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Garmin Vivoactive Review No No No No No No Yes Yes No
Suunto Ambit2 Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Suunto Spartan Ultra Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Garmin Fenix 2 Review No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Suunto Ambit3 Run Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Suunto Ambit2 R Review No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Garmin 235 Review No No No No No No Yes Yes No
Garmin 620 Review No No No No No No No No No
Garmin 910XT Review No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes
Garmin 310XT Review No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No
Garmin 225 Review No No No No No No No No No
TomTom Cardio Runner Review No No No No No No No No No
Polar V800 Review No No Yes No No No Yes No Yes
Polar M400 Review No No No No No No Yes No No
Garmin 610 Review No No Yes Yes No No Yes No No
Leikr Review Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Epson SF-510 Review No No No No No No No No No
Epson SF-810 Review No No No No No No No No No
Garmin 10 Review No No No No No No No No No
Polar M430 No No No No No No Yes No No

For "navigation":

  • Color Maps gives you full color maps, rather like a smart phone, with roads and paths marked out.
  • Track Outline is a display of where you've run, rather like a breadcrumb trail. If there are maps, the outline is superimposed otherwise this is just the outline on its own without any context.
  • Course Outline is an outline of a route that can be downloaded. I've found this useful during ultras or in unfamiliar cities where I've needed to know where to go.
  • Back To Start is a simple arrow point to your starting point, so it won't help you backtrack.
  • Back To Waypoint returns you to a previously marked location using a simple arrow to point.
  • Compass. A magnetic compass can help you orient yourself or the map. Without a magnetic compass you have to be moving for the GPS to give you a sense of direction.


(Older Reviews: Polar RC3 GPS, Soleus 1.0, Motorola Motoactv.)