Garmin Forerunner 935: Fenix5 features in a smaller and lighter package

GPS, GLONASS, support for Bluetooth sensors and more

Hot off the back of Garmin announcing its new Fenix 5, the GPS giant has just teased another watch, the Forerunner 935.

The new watch slots in between the Forerunner 735XT, which was announced last year, and the Fenix5 range of watches, both in price and features. Garmin has scrapped the square face seen on the Forerunner 920XT for a round one with a plastic bezel and added a barometric altimeter and WiFi for instant wireless uploads to Garmin Connect.

Measuring 47 x 47 x 13.9mm with a 240 x 240px screen and a claimed to weight of just 49g, it’s lighter and a touch thinner than the Fenix 5 which measures 47 x 47 15.5mm with a 240 x 240px screen and is claimed to weigh 85g with the silicone band.

ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart

Most notably, Garmin has finally decided to embrace something other than its own ANT+ protocol and added support for Bluetooth Smart sensors and a connection to your smartphone.

The watch also adds Garmin’s Firstbeat educated guesstimate metrics, Training Status, Training Load and Training Effect that are also found on the Fenix 5, as well as Garmin’s Elevate Wrist Based Heart Rate sensor — which eliminates the need for a heart rate strap.

Loaded directly onto the latest Forerunner is the new TrainingPeaks app that allows users to download free workouts to their watch and view the workout in real time — complete with intensity targets and interval durations. Once you have finished your ride, the activity can be automatically uploaded back to TrainingPeaks to be picked apart with a fine tooth comb.

Garmin's new Forerunner 935 is feature packed

For those more partial to Strava, the 935 also supports Live Segments and allows users to see their results in real-time, including leaderboard rankings and how close you are to a PR. Starred Strava segments will automatically sync and tell you how close you are to stealing that KOM/QOM. It also supports Live Tracking through Garmin Connect too.

You also get full support for the Garmin IQ store, including data fields, SRAM eTap, Campy EPS and Shimano Di2 shifting support, watch faces, widgets and lifestyle apps like Uber ETA.

To achieve all this, the Forerunner 935 is equipped with GPS and GLONASS coverage, but a new addition is the ABC sensor (altimeter, barometer and compass). Unlike the Forerunner 920XT, the new watch doesn’t need to rely on GPS-based altitude, which isn’t always accurate, and the barometer can predict weather changes by showing short-term trends in air pressure.

Activity modes, apps, widgets, data screens, watch face and more

The Forerunner 935 gets wrist-based heart rate support for Bluetooth sensors and built-in ABC sensors
The Forerunner 935 gets wrist-based heart rate support for Bluetooth sensors and built-in ABC sensors

As with the rest of the Garmin watches we’ve seen, the Forerunner 935 has a huge range of activity modes on offer, including three bike models:  Bike, Bike Indoor, Mountain bike. With these you can set up different data screens and tell the watch to look for different sensors in each mode.

For the multisport athletes among us, Garmin has included the ability to transition between sports at the press of a button. It’s also compatible with Garmin's new Running Dynamics pod, which measures metrics like stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio.

The new watch is also compatible with the full line of Varia awareness sensors, the Index Smart Scale, Vector and ANT+ third-party power meters — it appears Bluetooth Smart support only extends to heart rate straps and speed and cadence sensors.

You also get point-to-point breadcrumb navigation, though there is no support for base maps at launch.

Should you want to customise the look of the watch, the Forerunner 935 is compatible with Garmin's easy-to-swap Quick Fit bands, which come in everything from multicoloured silicon to leather and high-end metals.

Garmin's new Forerunner 935 has the features of the Fenix5 without the price tag
Garmin's new Forerunner 935 has the features of the Fenix5 without the price tag

When paired with your smartphone the Forerunner 935 will automatically upload activities to Garmin Connect, as well as displaying notifications on the screen.

The battery life has been improved as well, falling in line with the Fenix 5 by offering up to 24 hours in GPS mode, 50 hours in Ultratrac mode and up to two weeks in watch mode.

Starting at £470 / $499 / AU$699, the Forerunner 935 offers almost everything the Fenix 5 does (£499 / $599 / AU$699), but in a more wallet-friendly package.

Available now, the new watch is also available in a Tri-bundle (£590 / $650 / AU$850), which includes an extra set of silicon bands, quick release kit, HRM-Tri Monitor and a HRM-Swim monitor.

Colin Levitch

Staff Writer, Australia
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Colin now resides in Sydney, Australia. Holding a media degree, Colin is focused on the adventure sport media world. Coming from a ski background, his former European pro father convinced him to try collegiate crit racing. Although his bright socks say full roadie, he enjoys the occasional mountain bike ride, too.
  • Discipline: Road, mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Tarmac mountain climbs into snow-covered hills
  • Current Bikes: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, Trek Top Fuel 9
  • Dream Bike: Mosaic Cycles RT-1
  • Beer of Choice: New Belgium La Folie
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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