Garmin Forerunner 735XT Tri-Bundle Watch Review


The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is the best triathlon watch the company has to offer. However, besides that, it is also an awe-inspiring investment for those interested in cycling and running. It is both a powerful device and full of all the features one looks for in a model as exclusive as this one.

With extensive battery life, a sleek design, an integrated heart rate monitor, it surely has every single feature that we are looking for. Now, the question is, is it the right watch for you?

How Is The Design And Screen?

One of the things we appreciate the most about the 735XT is that it is a sleek device packed with many features inside. If you’ve taken a look at the 920XT or the 910XT, you must be well aware that the old triathlon watches from Garmin have been too bulky to wear on your wrist. Garmin has somehow managed to figure out how to include all of that technology in a simple, rounded, and thin model. 

It is available in two colors, frost blue, and black. The rubberized straps are very cozy, too, even while tied tightly to your wrist to help with the heart rate monitoring.

Using a transflective screen, it uses the available light to ensure that you have clarity during your runs. You don’t have to raise your wrist, which is a major comfort, and the illuminating light is readily visible at night. 

Another good thing – unlike most fitness watches, the straps can be fastened with ease and wide enough to fasten quickly. The screen has a lower resolution in comparison to a few other smartwatches available. Still, at the very least, it is visible and legible in all conditions. So, if you want to go out for a run in the darkness, this watch will be there by your side, recording every single step you take. 

How Useful Is It While Running?

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is one of our favorite watches to run around with. It is both extremely accurate and is really user-friendly too.

We have used the Forerunner 630 in the past, and its touchscreen feature was a bit frustrating. This isn’t an issue with the T35XT – it is all button, so you can use it without being concerned about finding the right button on the screen to save an activity or end a race. Hence, it has precisely the kind of convenience you are likely to be looking for. 

The accuracy is brilliant, and is without a doubt, our go-to watch for a race if we wish to benchmark another device. The accuracy of the GPS is on-point to the extent that we might even begin to be skeptical mile markers in races. What makes it even handier is that even with all the GPS/GLONASS tracking, the battery life doesn’t take a major hit.

The GPS is also extremely fast, strangely enough, even better than the Garmin Forerunner 935, which has better specifications and is costlier.

Another small feature we appreciate from the watch is the heart rate variability (HRV) tracking. It helps you understand your body a lot better – you can monitor if you feel exhausted at the beginning of the run. You can also keep a check on the point when you transition from aerobic to anaerobic running. This knowledge and the fact that we found that it quite accurate in our marathon training, means that you can finish a long race while ensuring that you don’t go beyond your lactate threshold and start reaching into oxygen deficit. It is a cool feature, and Garmin has perfected it in its range.

The running dynamics are exciting too, but we aren’t sure if everyone would benefit a lot. Only one of them is really useful – the ability to monitor if you’re landing harder on the left or the right foot. You will also need to utilize the add-on heart rate strap to get this information.

The data screens customization is great too. You can always know what to expect from two clicks up or down while running without needing to take a break to be sure. 

Unfortunately, the heart rate monitor below isn’t as accurate. It usually takes a while to begin working and gives false readings at the beginning of most runs. It works well when it works – but isn’t without its flaws.

We won’t elaborate on everything you can do running with the 735XT, but it is safe to say that it takes care of everything you want. You can drop in training plans from the internet, it has pace/heart/lap alerts you can easily customize and virtual pacing. To summarize, it has everything you can need from a watch. 

How Does It Fare With Other Sports?

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT isn’t just for running. You can go swimming and cycling with it too, as there are a bunch of metrics you can look out for.

When it comes to cycling, you can’t really hold the Garmin Forerunner 735XT accountable as it provides you all the required metrics and also gives you the option to connect to Bluetooth accessories and ANT+. This means that most turbo trainers and power meters are compatible with the device, and your activities can be uploaded easily.

The only slight annoyance is that the watch doesn’t have a strap extender. So, it is a bit difficult to tie it into your handlebars, as it is to quickly read your stats.

For swimming, we discovered that it is a great option for the drill-based swimmer. It has a dedicated drill mode, and to make it even cooler – you can set in rests, which can be found in the application later. It is an excellent choice to help with tracking the details of your swimming routine.

The buttons are very easy to press in the water, and the screen is really visible underwater too. The stroke detection went well in our testing. All the data collected was very simple to investigate towards the end. 

However, we noticed that the length counting accuracy wasn’t always spot-on – a flaw to be found all across the Garmin range. It isn’t a huge issue and doesn’t occur every time, but it means that you need to be skeptical of the accuracy of the length counter.

It could also be possible that we aren’t pushing off the ends the way we should be since that is what the watch requires to accurately track the transition from one length to another. But it was still irritating. 

In summary, even though the device might not be completely accurate all the time, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT is very handy for someone swimming – especially if they are putting together drills. Even though we didn’t test the device in open water, if it is as capable as its predecessor (and it should be fair to assume that this would do a better job in comparison), it has great tracking skills. Stroke detection alongside GPS tracking is highly accurate.

How Is The Battery Life?

The battery life of the Garmin Forerunner 735XT is excellent. You can use it for at least five days, and this way, you can add up a lot of quality sleep tracking information too. Even while the device is linked to a smartphone, battery life performs very well. It is basically capable of pulling off an ultra-marathon.

On a full charge, it only loses 30% battery over 31.1 miles, an incredible feat. Normally, there would be concerns regarding doing 100 miles off one charge, but through the use of the Ultra-Trac mode, you can easily make your way through.

It might not be super accurate, but you can go throughout a week on just one charge with the Garmin Forerunner 735XT.

What Is The Interface Like?

Once you get used to it, the interface of the Garmin Forerunner 735XT is quite simple to use. You will also need to spend some time, in the beginning, discovering the secret functions you can enable by pressing various keys at different times.

The sleep tracking is a bit basic and lacks the kind of insight you can find on other competing platforms. Still, generally, it provides a good picture regarding your motion at night. It is slightly more sensitive than other platforms such as Samsung Health.

It is easy to work with at pace, a dream come true for runners. We managed to adjust our virtual pacer in the middle of a race, and it only took up a few moments.

Another great thing is how the notifications appear on this watch – while connected to your phone, you’ll be able to see enough of a preview to understand if you need to check your phone, or if you must take the call.

The Garmin Connect application is a bit of a controversial platform. We like that the application is capable of a lot, but sometimes it can be overwhelming.

However, even with that in mind, the recent upgrades have improved the insights being offered. You can now see if you’re ahead or behind your normal level of activity, activity levels, sleep levels, and even your calorie intake (if you sync the device to other applications, such as MyFitnessPal, for example).

What Is Our Final Verdict?

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is an amazing watch for many sporting activities but is easily at its best as a triathlon watch. With its price dropping recently, it has become a competitive running watch as well. So, think about it, is it really possible for you to be able to say no to this device?

It has a clear screen, fantastic accuracy, amazing battery life, and the capability to provide a number of deep insights into various aspects of your fitness life. This is the perfect companion for a marathon.

Should You Buy It?

Considering the recent prices at which it is being offered, it is definitely a bargain to invest in. It is an excellent, sleek watch with a lot of very useful functions. And hey, it’s always exciting to have a stylish watch on your hand too. If anything – you can simply buy it for the way it looks. 

Last update was on: October 4, 2020 9:24 pm

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