Garmin Forerunner 735XT review: DesignConventional round designNo touch support5ATM waterproofing44.5 x 44.5 x 11.9mm; 44gThe…
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The Garmin Forerunner family is definitely a company favourite with those people who are a little more seriously interested in their sport. Usually the device of preference for runners and triathletes, there’s now a broad collection of watches to track your every movement, whatever your activity.
The Forerunner 735XT was created with those multisport athletes at heart. It represents a good choice in the line-up, particularly if you can’t stretch to the considerable price tag of the brand new Forerunner 935, which is, admittedly, the better overall device when you can afford it.
We’ve been training with the Garmin 735XT to see accurately what it provides and where it fits in to the Forerunner lineup.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT review: Design
Conventional round design
No touch support
44.5 x 44.5 x 11.9mm; 44g
The Forerunner 735XT swings in as a sophisticated sports watch, slotting right into a position above the 600 series devices. The 735XT was the first Forerunner device to provide Garmin’s Elevate wrist-based heart-rate tracking – and saw a significant shift from the chest-based heart-rate tracking that had dominated Garmin’s previous devices. This is a huge change in direction for Garmin, moving to contend with emerging rivals on a practicality level.
Compact and reasonably slim, the 735XT offers both sporty looks with a amount of conventionality. Pick the black model and it’s really rather discreet, but for many who want a bit more pomp with their sporty watch, there exists a blue version with a strap that is clearly a turquoise colour.
Measuring 44.5mm in diameter, the 735XT isn’t too chunky, although people that have smaller wrists will dsicover it just a little on the large size. However, it isn’t big with regard to being big – you will need that display space – and it’s really not overly thick, at only under 12mm. We have been wearing it for approximately a month and it’s really some way taken off the thickness of older Garmin devices, so it is a fairly easy watch to live with.
There are buttons around the 735XT’s circumference and we’ve found we’ve triggered the start/activity button once or twice unintentionally – it’s simply a little too simple to depress. Otherwise the buttons offer easy navigation through an individual interface, although the hierarchy of the pages isn’t always the most logical.
For example, to gain access to the menu you need to enter the experience area first and scroll down; however, there’s another “options” menu area accessed with an extended press on the up arrow for music control and clock options. That is one area that’s dissimilar to the Forerunner 935 – that includes a more logical navigation to the interface.
Waterproofing is up to speed the 735XT, with 5ATM protection meaning you can wear the watch when swimming. Although if you wish accurate heart-rate readings when swimming you will need the HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri accessory straps.
The 735XT’s provided watch strap is comfortable, simple to change to the proper tightness and, causeing this to be Forerunner an excellent watch to wear both for sports and for all-day tracking of your present activity.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT review: Features and performance
GPS and GLOSNASS
Compass & accelerometer
Wrist-based heart-rate sensor
The hardware proposed by the Forerunner 735XT offers you a full selection of activity support. From the essential all-day activity tracker functions like step tracking and resting heart-rate reading, it’s actually the sports functions that you ought to be buying this watch. With profiles for a complete selection of sports like running, swimming, cycling and more, the “XT” in the 735’s name is a reminder that is a device designed especially for multi-sport athletes, with support for triathlon, duathlon and even brick support, to create your racing and training simple to track.
During use, tapping the trunk button throughout a multi-sport event will mark that stage as complete, wearing down swim-transition-bike-transition-run into pieces when you keep carefully the timer running. The largest challenge may very well be remembering going to the button on T1 when you experience lots of other activities to think about.
In conditions of hardware, it is the addition of the compass that sets the 735XT apart from the Forerunner 235 model. This adds the opportunity to have significantly more accurate navigation, providing you point-to-point and real-time breadcrumb trails, together with the option to navigate back again to the beginning of your route.
There is absolutely no barometer, thermometer or gyroscope in the 735XT, which is what sets this watch a step down from the flagship Forerunner 935. There are a few other features absent, like accumulated training load. You get yourself a recommendation for recovery time on the 735XT, but it isn’t as regarded as this feature is on the 935. Having less barometer for accurate elevation changes may be the biggest downside because of this device – and the matter that cyclists will miss, as you will be reliant on GPS elevation change measurements.
The Forerunner 735XT can acquire plenty of data and present it in a meaningful way, the main being the display during sport. Without touch supported, you’re left to utilize the along buttons on the watch’s left side to scroll through the screens, with all the current important information easy to get at – speed, distance, time, pace, heartrate and HR zone – and laps automatically registered, or manually marked and all fully customisable.
Any doubts about the performance of the Elevate wrist-based heart-rate tracker could be dispelled, as that is a regular and reliable wrist-based system, with the BPM averages falling in to the expected lines and readings matching our manual measurement of heartrate.
As we mentioned, the watch also supports heart-rate chest straps from Garmin. We used the soft strap from our old Forerunner 610 and the performance if so was seamless. In addition, it supports ANT+, so could be paired with a variety of accessories for your swim or cycle, for instance, so you could put in a cadence sensor too.
The Forerunner 735XT also avoids a number of the shortcomings we’ve seen on other wrist-based HR models: it reacts quickly to a change in pace and doesn’t may actually have problems with spikes that produce extraneous results that we’ve seen from some.
GPS route tracking is accurate, with the distances recorded falling close enough to the expected or map-measured readings, while GPS acquisition is fast, too – even on a cold start. Sometimes you may lose GPS reception under thick cover, but that’s common to many devices.
What we just like the most is that away from home you can obviously start to see the information you want and these screens are customisable. There’s support for a variety of training options, with the watch offering intervals (that you may edit) and targets (speed, distance, pace or combinations – eeek – like time and distance), meaning you can attempt yourself at predicted race pace, or hit training targets.
You may also create workouts on the Garmin Connect iphone app and send these to the watch, with in an easier way control offered via the app’s display. If there’s a particular type of interval you want, it will likely be better to create that in the iphone app than via the watch.
Additionally you get the performance condition feature, which measures your performance towards the beginning of your activity against your baseline averages and lets you know how you are feeling. We love this, since it tells you you are not feeling at the top form which run will probably hurt. Importantly (specifically for multisport athletes who want to overtrain), it’s an excellent indicator that you may need to adapt the intensity of your training. Sure, you can tell you it, but why don’t we remember that rest can be an essential part of any training programme.
With regards to battery life, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT will kick smartwatches to the dirt. The watch will continue to work as an over-all activity tracker in daily use for easily over weekly, while it offers you 14 hours tracking with heartrate and GPS. That’s almost enough to see you via an Ironman (admittedly, we haven’t tried this… yet).
However, with regular workouts between thirty minutes to one hour spread over the week, we’ve still only had to improve it once weekly. This is with a crocodile clip charger and charging doesn’t take long.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT review: Smart functions and app
Garmin Connect Mobile compatible
Connect IQ supported
Supports smartphone notifications
Garmin hasn’t ignored the looming spectre of the smartwatch, adding in a variety of smart functions to its devices as wearables have evolved. The Forerunner 735XT will support smartwatch notifications and, once paired with an Android phone, this consists of the entire run of regular notifications – regardless if you can’t do anything with them. Unlike an Android Wear watch, you can’t answer messages or anything like this, but you are in least alerted in order to read those messages.
You do have the choice to answer calls, but this is absolutely for many who have headphones on, because otherwise you would be answering your phone in your pocket. You can supposedly control music (although we didn’t have the ability to get this working) that may remote control music from your own phone, instead of from the watch. That is clearly a downside of the Forerunner in comparison to something similar to the TomTom Spark 3 – there is no substitute for load it up with music and hook up your headphones.
Garmin also supports a variety of Connect IQ software you could access through the Garmin Connect software and install on your own phone. This won’t quite stretch to the wide support for software you’ll receive on Apple Watch or Android Wear, nonetheless it does mean you have significantly more integration with services or customisation options, which means that your Garmin isn’t stuck as you device with a static group of features.
The 735XT supports Garmin Connect Mobile, meaning the watch connects right to your phone, without needing to jump hoops through a PC (yes, TomTom, we’re looking at you). The iphone app holds your details and exercise history, that may then be shared and linked with other services, like Strava, if you need to be cross posting your workouts there.
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Garmin Connect Mobile is becoming increasingly refined in the last year, moving from slightly archaic to a lot more modern, partly because of the lifestyle device explosion in the Vivo line, and a the necessity to stave off famous brands Fitbit and its own easy-to-use app.
You can customise what you’re displayed in Garmin Connect Mobile, although data fiends will still want to carefully turn to the web site version to get greater usage of those big graphs and maps.
One thing to notice is that the info is syncing to the cloud and returning the leads to your watch, if you don’t possess a data connection on your own phone, you will discover syncing is frustrating. But at least you can run your Garmin PC-free if you wish.
Garmin Mobile Connect may also provide you with the LiveTrack feature – which is ideal for cyclists – meaning you can share your ride on social media, or let persons follow your progress. If you are heading out for an extended ride, this may give satisfaction to family who can easily see where you are, and never have to phone or message you.
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT can be an expensive device, but one that’s tailored to aid multisport athletes, so it is packed with functionality for a demanding band of users. Even if you are not really a triathlete, then this watch has some appeal over the lower-spec Forerunner 235, by supplying a wider selection of functions, without hitting the ultra-expensive Forerunner 935’s price.
The Forerunner 935 is a slightly better device, however, supplying a wider feature set and more hardware sensors for more data, and also a far better visual display and more refined interface. Which makes the 935 the better daily wear device, but also for the extra £70, you may question whether that refinement is vital along with the solid core that the 735XT offers.
That’s the important things about the 735XT: it’s fully-featured, offering modern convenience features like smartphone support, masses of data on your own performance and condition, and it syncs reliably to Garmin Connect (if you can sync).
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT has been designed for time and the good thing about that is now you can pick one up for just a little over £300, rendering it a tempting proposition. You will find a large amount of choice in the sports watch area, but if you are enthusiastic about performance and functionality, then this Garmin is difficult to beat.