Is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT worth the money?

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Forerunner 735XT - Frost Blue, Standard Views, UNITED STATES

Product: Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch

Best Price: £332.98 (yes you read that correctly) from handtec

What Does the PR Say: Basically that all other GPS watches should kneel before their new God

This watch:

  • Tracks your performance over a multitude of sports using advanced dynamics
  • Uses the Garmin Elevate Optical Heart Rate sensor (no chest straps required)
  • Connects to all your Garmin Gadgets including the Varia Range
  • Connects to Connect the Garmin platform that allows you to customise the watch and your experience
  • Is a smartwatch that notifies you of social media alerts, emails, weather and even allows you to answer (or not) a mobile phone call

Reviewed by: Howmanymiles

There are GPS watches and then there are Multisport GPS watches. The activity tracker and smart watch market is more volatile than an angry Scot reading a Daily Mail piece on obesity (that would be me) with Fitbit, Apple, Samsung, Tom Tom and Garmin bringing out new lines every quarter. They all do a variation of the same thing and all have their own followers and fanboys.

I am a Garmin Geek (my disclaimer) who owns watches, scales (read my review), bike equipment (watch out for my reviews) and now the Forerunner 735XT.

For the purpose of the review, I was sent the Tri-Bundle Pack, which is the normal Run pack with extra chest straps and which costs an extra £60. The observant among you will be saying: “Wait, up there it says ‘No chest straps required’. Why does it now suddenly need chest straps?”

Well, the Forerunner 735XT doesn’t only measure your heart rate, speed, distance, stride length and VO2 rating. With the chest strap, it can measure your Functional Threshold Power and Lactate Threshold. Whatever they are!

Another reason is that the optical sensor doesn’t operate when wet, which is a major stumbling point for traithletes and swimmers.

Neither does it mount on bikes, which is a major fumbling point for triathletes and cyclists, who are quite keen on reading their data without taking their hands off the handlebars.


However, what it does do exceptionally well is track you over a multitude of sports, including rowing, indoor cycling, open swimming and even Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding. It doesn’t track snow sports unfortunately as it tracks altitude via GPS and not a barometric altimeter, which you do find in the much cheaper Garmin VivoActive HR. This also means that it doesn’t measure your floors climbed, which those Fitbit fans seem to love so much.

Unlike other Forerunners and Fenix watches, it does connect with the Varia Vision, Radar and Light bike range which means you don’t need to splash out on an Edge (this will make sense to all of our Fat Lad At the Back riders)

It is super easy to use and the data screens provide an array of information that I never knew I needed to know, but which I now realise I can’t live without. I love the 24/7 monitoring of my heart rate and I can be seen checking my heart rate at every opportunity. In an old Man v Fat thread we discussed weighing ourselves pre and post poo. Well, I went there.

It’s plastic casing make it light and it has taken 3 months of me dropping it and standing on it without any damage (it was for a durability test, not because I am a clumsy oaf..honest). The battery lasts 14 hours in full Triathlon race mode and this should be enough for most with the exception being the slower Ironman participants (watch out for a post from me soon). In 24/7 HR and notification mode with a quick run or cycle it lasts about 2 days and it charges very quickly.

Should you buy it:

No. Wait, yes you should, but only if you will use it to its full potential. I love it and begged Garmin to sell me one, I have used it kayaking and hiking and as I intend on cycling and swimming more, I know that I will make use of its performance tools.

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is probably the best GPS Multisport watch currently available and if you are a triathlete or even a Try-Athlete, like me, you will love this watch.

However, for the majority of users I would instead suggest that the Gamin Forerunner 235 and Vivoactive HR make for cheaper alternatives. In fact, go for the brand new Garmin Foreunner 35 if you are not too bothered about tracking your swimming. It is waterproof and it deserves a post on its own (Admin get someone to review it) as it looks like a great entry level GPS watch (yes, I get over excited about new Garmin products).


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