Garmin Forerunner 35

8.3 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.3)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 8.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Garmin Forerunner 35 Review Facts

The F35 is the cheapest running watch with the wrist heart rate monitor in the Garmin Forerunner lineup. It is the 425 without the optical heart rate sensor. It is for the casual runner, someone who runs two or three times per week under five miles at a time, but also wants basic daily activity metrics like steps, calories burned, etc.

It’s a runner’s watch first. Garmin has added a few extras features that testers feel are interesting. Forerunner 35 retails at $199 which testers think is a bit high. A price tag of $150 to $175 is believed to be a more appropriate price.

It is nestled between the Forerunner 25 and Vivo Smart HR. If they can get over the price, it is the running watch with everything the average runner needs. The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a GPS running watch that allows users to stay connected when they share their fitness progress.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring
  • Long battery life
  • Tracks interval training
  • User controlled music playback with a phone
  • Waterproof
  • Heart rate monitor accuracy
  • Phone compatibility issues
  • Problems with GPS


Though it is best suited for running, since the watch does have GPS and can be used for cycling to track speed, distance, heart rate, timing, VO₂, and route. The FR35 has built-in tracking modes for cardio, indoor and outdoor running, walking, and cycling. Runners can track daily training workouts, marathons, and triathlons. It is certified waterproof for 50 meters but doesn’t track swimming.

Basic Features

The basic features are tremendous for runners who have begun to track fitness goals. They appear on the screen after time. The device tracks steps taken toward the daily goal, the distance traveled in a day and the length of the entire workout.

On the underside is an optical heart rate sensor. It is the same used in other Forerunners. The device is not on par with the chest strap heart rate monitor for strength workouts, or anything that is dynamic, but for running it is pretty good, and the fault is the function of technology, not Garmin.

For workouts, there are a few basic sports profiles - running, indoor running, cycling, and cardo. None of those are advanced features. Users do not get the hardcore features available in the Garmin Forerunner 230 or 235. Customers get the essentials - distance, pace, speed, routes, timing, cadence, and heart rate. The stats are used for personal information or shared with competing individuals.

Accuracy ratings are different among the features. Accuracy is similar to comparable brands. GPS is very accurate but sometimes takes a few minutes to access. Pacing is also accurate. The heart rate monitor accuracy is not high.

Averages seem reasonable, but current hear rates tend to be low or high at times. When worn overnight, the sleep tracker tracks sleep well. When the watch is not worn, the sleep tracker registers as peaceful sleep which is not accurate

Advanced Features

There are a lot of customized options to choose from compared to previous and low-rent Garmin models. Run/Walk mode is used by running for 30 seconds then walking 30 seconds. Vertical Pacer is used to keep on track during a run. Intervals is a feature used to run for a predetermined time then rest for a predetermined time.

There are vibrational alerts, that can be customized for time, distance, calories, and heart rate. Interestingly, the pacing rate is not customizable. The data fields can be customized. There is Auto Pause in case the user stops for some reason such as talking to someone during a workout.

Auto Goal is a feature testers liked the previous day’s statistics determines that. It is not a static goal. A Move Bar is displayed at the bottom of the home screen as well as activity reminders to prompt the user to get up and move. There are also music controls that stream and store music. Live tracking allows family and friends to monitor and watch a run if a smartphone is taken on the run.


It has GPS, not GLONASS. The signal is pretty good and connects relatively quickly. Satellite connectivity reports differ among testers. Some felt satellite connection occurred quickly. Others reported trouble connection to GPS initially.

It can be connected by an ANT+ heart rate monitor if desired. Regardless, the sensor runs all day and night and during workouts, so the user gets a complete picture of daily metrics. Garmin Connect uses Bluetooth to enable sharing data with others.

It syncs via USB and Bluetooth to the Garmin Connect app. Unfortunately, it charges via proprietary clip cable which disappoints some testers. They would prefer a micro USB. To upload data, receive notifications, and listen to music the app has to be connected to a wearer’s smartphone.

Smartphone notifications include the basic texts, calls, emails, calendar alerts as well other three-party apps when in range, which is about 30 feet. Connectivity allows participation in competition with family and friends. Weather data such as hourly rain chances, daily highs and lows, and current weather can be pulled up when connected to a smartphone.


Garmin Connect is a free app which can be downloaded on Android and iOS smartphones. Bluetooth is used to connect to the unit. The app allows the wearer to view data such as sleep, goal progress, calories, maps, elevation, heart rate, pace, timing, and speed. Stats are broken by activity or by day. Some testers reported software compatibility issues. Most seem to have no problem. The interface of the app is easy to navigate, simple style.


The soft, silicone band of the watch is extremely comfortable compared to other fitness trackers. It has a watch style locking system. The device is extremely lightweight, soft, and easy on and off. It doesn’t grab arm hair. There are holes for adjustment to different size wrists. It stretches to accommodate movement and in-between sizes.

The band is both flexible and durable. Wearing it for an extended period can be done comfortably. The lightweight band does not roll around the wrist or weigh down the user. Buttons on the sides are easy to use and comfortable to press.


Overall, the Forerunner 35 is pretty sleek. It reminds a tester of the Pebble Time smartwatch or a Game Boy product. A large bezel and a considerable logo adorn the watch. It has a new high-resolution display, but the screen is nothing special. It’s just black. This watch is easy to view in direct sunlight.

The square face is small. It has a black bezel that surrounds the not-so-sharp screen. Reviewers appreciate the available colors for the band. They include white, black, green and blue. Different tastes are accommodated. Most people like the style, but some feel the display and shape are ugly.


It will collect some scratches over time, but nothing out of the ordinary. It is waterproof down to 50 meters. There is no issue showering or in the pool. The durable and flexible strap can be worn comfortably without worry of deterioration.

The buttons and face are durable also. Finger smudges that appear on the face may from time to time need to be wiped off. Cases and covers are available for additional protection. Two- and three-year warranties are offered by vendors of the protective items. The software and app have automatic updates to repair compatibility issues and bugs.


The FR 35 is not a touchscreen. Some testers prefer it that way. They would much rather have physical buttons to cycle through the various data screens. An updated digital display works well in outdoor sunlight and lower lighting indoors. It is keen for all activity settings a potential user may want to take advantage. The face has a glass lens. It is 1.4 inches longs, 0.5 inches wide, and 1.6 inches high. The size of the screen is 128 X 128 pixels.

That resolution is not very sharp when compared to desktops, tablets, and phones. There are four convenient and user-friendly buttons, two on each side of the screen. In terms of activity, tracking only displays numbers on a screen. Though it is not a touchscreen, it is prone to fingerprint smudges. Wearers should exercise caution to avoid touching the face.


The band is similar to other Garmin watches. It fits any size well due to the bit of stretch it possesses. Testers say the soft silicone band is very comfortable. It is a one-size-fits-all watch. It is a stretchy, adjustable band with holes that allow sizing for large or small wrist sizes. Testers having small wrists felt the watch looked a bit chunky due to the face size but agreed the watch was comfortable and fits well.

Ease of Use

A few testers reported trouble updating software to sync with smartphones and problems with GPS working correctly. The Forerunner 35 vibrates and beeps after each milestone or lap. It does not have a touchscreen, but the four buttons located on the sides are easy to use to navigate through the stats.

Preserving the battery, different tracking modes, and backlight for nighttime visibility are operated with a button on the top left. Cardio, outdoor or indoor running, walking, and cycling tracking modes are selected with a button on the top right.

Alarms are set, setting adjustment, access to tracking pages and milestones, and the back function use a button on the bottom left. Scroll through previous workout data, weather, heart rate and notifications with the button on the bottom right. It also controls smartphone music playback. The user’s heart rate is monitored with the Elevate heart rate sensor on the back of the watch monitor.


A lithium ION battery is used to power the Garmin Forerunner 356. Batteries included in the package. They have a long life. The battery life is 13 hours in training mode with the GPS and heart rate monitor running and nine days on regular watch mode.

The average user gets between six and seven days of battery life for someone who runs once or twice per week. Everything depends on how much a user works out. Battery life can be preserved by turning off the backlight and turning the watch off when not being used.


The retail price of the Garmin Forerunner 35 is considered to be in the low to mid-range. Cheaper watches with fewer features are available. More expensive watches have similar characteristics.
The loss of the heart rate monitor reduces the price by $90. Connect IQ add ten dollars to the cost. The addition of Strava suffer score, advanced dynamics, and a lactate threshold would double the price of the watch.


Several accessories such as cases, covers, apps, cables, adapters, and fitness sensors are available. They help improve accuracy, allow connection to devices, and protect from scratching damage or accidental dropping.

Apps allow the wearer to track milestones and activities, compete with friends, and upload data. A heart rate strap is compatible with the watch for those who need more accurate heart rate monitoring than provided by the FR35 alone. Cyclers can use a footpad and cadence sensor with the watch.

Key Features

* Built-in GPS acquires satellite to track location, speed, and distance with using a phone
* Garmin Elevate technology provides heart rate monitoring that monitors the user’s heart rate around the clock without the need for an extra strap
* High-resolution works well indoors and out
* Reminds the user to move, tracks activities all day, calories, intensity minutes and counting steps
* Smart connectivity automatically uploads Garmin Connect data
* Vibrations notify the wearer of the progress of virtual pacing, running prompts, activity milestones, and smart notifications

Bottom Line

A chest strap is not necessary because the unit tracks heart rate with the use of the runner’s wrist pulse. It also provides smart notifications and vibration alerts, allows user control of music on the phone, and automatically uploads data.

A phone is not needed to track distance, speed, and location. The high-resolution display works well indoors and out. It is on constantly to track intensity minutes, calories, and steps throughout the day. The device notifies users when it is time to move. The Forerunner 35 is perfect for runners who want activity tracking, GPS, and heart rate monitoring. Runners new to fitness tracking find the Garmin Forerunner 35 to be a great watch.