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Garmin FR265/265S and FR965. AMOLED becomes popular


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Garmin announces today the new Garmin Forerunner 265/265S and Garmin Forerunner 965Its main novelty? The AMOLED screen comes to the "big series".

As I told you a few weeks agoAMOLED display is going to be the big trend for 2023 not only for Garmin, but also with all other manufacturers. So get ready for the coming invasion in the use of this technology.

Why AMOLED and why now? Because it is already a mature technology, so the price of the screen is not an extra cost to the manufacturer (even if it sells it more expensive). That is the main reason, but let's not forget also the autonomy. Processors and chipsets are now much more efficient so that with the same battery size you can get more hours of use. It is no longer a problem to demand the battery consumption of an AMOLED screen.

There are three models presented by Garmin. On the one hand, the Forerunner 265 familycomposed of Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 265S, as well as the model from which they start in two different sizes, 46mm and 42mm. That leads to different screen sizes and difference also in autonomy. Both have music playback, there is no version without this option.

The third model is the top of the range, the Garmin Forerunner 965. It also departs from the 955, adding a 1.4″ AMOLED display, which makes it grow slightly in size. In this case it adapts a titanium bezel, instead of the "all-plastic" design of the 955. This is to be welcomed, considering the price of the watch.

But apart from the display technology, there are few new features that were not already in the previous models. Let's take a look at the specifications.

Garmin Forerunner 265

Buy Garmin Forerunner 265

Garmin Forerunner 265, this is how it works

What is a Garmin FR265? Basically an FR255 Music with the addition of the AMOLED display. There are two sizes available: the standard 46mm and the smaller, 42mm in diameter.

  • 1.3″ (FR265) or 1.1″ (FR265S) AMOLED touch screen. Same as 255 and 255S
  • Diameter of 46.1mm and 41.7mm respectively, slightly wider than the transflective display model
  • 47 grams and 39 grams for the Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 265S, almost the same as the others.
  • New design of the main button, which is no longer round but has grown in size
  • Garmin Elevate V4 Optical Pulse Sensor
  • Multi-band satellite reception with SatIQ option for smart selection (reached 255 after upgrade)
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Up to 20 hours of GPS-only use on the 265 (30 on the 255), or 24 hours of GPS-only use on the 265S (26 on the 255S).
  • Same morning report functions, pulse variability tracking, training status, etc.
  • Running power estimation, now directly from the wrist (reached 255 after upgrade)
  • Advanced running dynamics directly from the wrist (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc). Previously required external sensor, now optional if you want more accurate data. Coming to 255 via update.
  • Triathlon and open water swim profile
  • Garmin Pay
  • Available colors: 265 in black, white or turquoise. 265S in black, white or pink.
  • The price goes up to 499€.

Garmin Forerunner 265

Buy Garmin Forerunner 965

Garmin Forerunner 965, this is it

The same can be said of the Garmin Forerunner 965, which also does not receive too many changes with respect to the model from which it departs, beyond the new screen and yes, in this case a bezel of nobler material.

  • 1.4″ AMOLED touch screen, larger than the 955's 1.3″ screen.
  • 47.2mm diameter; 0.7mm larger than 955
  • Titanium bezel
  • Same weight of 52 grams despite the larger size and the titanium bezel
  • No solar-charged version available
  • Garmin Elevate V4 Optical Pulse Sensor
  • Multi-band satellite reception with SatIQ option for smart selection (arrived on 955 after upgrade)
  • TopoActive maps of Europe and possibility of downloading worldwide via WiFi
  • 32GB memory capacity
  • Up to 31 hours with GPS-only use (42 hours on the 955), and up to 23 days in smartwatch mode
  • Same metrics and morning report, with pulse variability and training bias monitoring
  • Training load ratio metric
  • Running power estimation, now directly from the wrist (arrived on 955 after update)
  • Advanced running dynamics directly from the wrist (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc). Previously required external sensor, now optional if you want more accurate data. Coming to 955 via update.
  • Available colors: black, white or yellow
  • The price goes up to 649€.

Garmin Forerunner 965


Few new developments

As you have podido check there are few "real" novelties beyond the use of the AMOLED display. At the software level Garmin "officializes" the new features that have come to models with transflective display: power estimation directly from the wrist, SatIQ for satellites.

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Obviously the user interface suffers a slight update to take advantage of the features of the new screen, but the tone is very similar to what we had before.

In terms of design, the main button changes slightly, which is now no longer round and becomes somewhat more elongated with an inscription inside. But the essence of the design is exactly the same in both models.

The only thing left to talk about is the battery, but it is quite complicated to establish comparisons. Because it all depends on whether we enable the always on mode or if the screen remains off until we turn the wrist.

The official Garmin data is not helpful either, because it is quite chaotic and in theory there will be a more complete table, but for the moment this is what I can offer you:

Autonomy Garmin Forerunner 265

  • Smartwatch mode: up to 13 days
  • GNSS mode GPS only: up to 20 hours
  • GNSS SatIQ mode (automatic selection): up to 16 hours
  • GNSS mode (all systems) and multi-band: up to 14 hours
  • GPS-only GNSS mode with music: up to 7 hours
  • GNSS SatIQ mode (automatic selection) with music: up to 6.5 hours
  • GNSS mode (all systems) and multi-band with music: up to 6 hours


Garmin Forerunner 265S Autonomy

  • Smartwatch mode: up to 15 days
  • GNSS mode GPS only: up to 24 hours
  • GNSS SatIQ mode (automatic selection): up to 18 hours
  • GNSS mode (all systems) and multi-band: up to 15 hours
  • GNSS mode only GPS with music: up to 7.5 hours
  • SatIQ GNSS mode (automatic selection) with music: up to 7 hours
  • GNSS mode (all systems) and multi-band with music: up to 6 hours


And now you may ask... Why does the smaller model have more autonomy? Well, because the screen is much smaller (1.1″ vs. 1.3″) and therefore has lower power consumption. That is, it no longer depends on the size of the battery but on the consumption of the screen.

Now let's go to the data of the Forerunner 965.

Autonomy Garmin Forerunner 965

  • Smartwatch mode: up to 23 days
  • GNSS mode GPS only: up to 31 hours
  • GNSS SatIQ mode (automatic selection): up to 22 hours
  • GNSS mode (all systems) and multi-band: up to 19 hours
  • GNSS mode only GPS with music: up to 10.5 hours
  • GNSS SatIQ mode (automatic selection) with music: up to 9.5 hours
  • GNSS mode (all systems) and multi-band with music: up to 8.5 hours

I recall that, in any case, all these figures are with the screen on mode with the turn of the wrist. If we use the always on screen mode the autonomy will be drastically reduced (especially in terms of use as a smartwatch).

Charge ratio (Forerunner 965 only)

There is a new metric, Training Load Ratio. It compares two other metrics that are present on the clock, Acute Training Load (ATL for those of you who are used to Training Peaks) along with Chronic Training Load (CTL for those same PT users).

Garmin Forerunner 965 - Training Load Ratio

What is each one? Well, I'll explain it to you by copying from the guide on how to use Training Peaks.

  • ATL (Fatigue)Acute Training Load: Acute Training Load (short-term). It is the average TSS of the last 7 days. An ATL of 100 assumes that the average daily TSS of the last days has been 100TSS in each training (which can be varied, but in total it would add up to 700 divided by 7).
  • CTL (Fitness)Chronic Training Load: Chronic Training Load (long-term). It is the average TSS of the last 6 weeks of training. Same as ATL, but takes into account the TSS of the last 6 weeks and divides by 42.

Garmin does it a little differently, but basically compares the short term load (7 days) to the medium to long term load (28 days) to give a ratio and tell us if we are ramping up the load reasonably without big jumps in our training. Those that lead to overtraining or injury.


These two new models are simply an update to the 21st century of the two flagship models of the Forerunner range. A higher quality display, which is what the market demands. Or at least part of it.

Obviously the Apple Watch is doing damage, not only because of its screen technology but also because they are turning more and more towards endurance sports (running, cycling, swimming, triathlon...). Until now Garmin felt somewhat protected because it saw no threat from "a simple smart watch".

Clearly the numbers have squared after the launch of the Epix 2 and Garmin has podido determine that the public wants AMOLED display.

In a way it is an easy move for Garmin. They start from a base that is already developed with the 255 and 955 on the market from a few months ago, where they have already been polishing the sofware. Add an AMOLED display and they already have new models on the market.

In terms of software there is hardly anything remarkable. Running dynamics directly through the wrist (which is ultimately part of power estimation) is coming soon to the 955 (in fact it's already in beta on the Fenix 7. And the new training load metrics are coming too.

So in a few months the 955 and the 965 will be identical in terms of software, with the only difference being the screen and what it entails in terms of autonomy.

And until I post the full analysis after the watch test... Thanks for reading!

Eduardo Mateos

I've been surrounded by electronic devices of all kinds for more than 25 years. Using them, testing them, taking them apart and dissecting them. Long distance triathlete: I swim, run and cycle for a long time. Maybe too much.

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  1. That looks good that screen, to those who no longer see very well up close I think it is a major improvement, the 955 I use is quite dull and it costs me a lot to read in race, waiting for your review, thanks.

    1. Hello.
      Well, I disagree. I have the 955 and I am delighted. Transflective technology is ideal for the day, which is when we do sports. Also the more light hits it the better it looks, and it is true.
      I like amoled screens, but for sport I'm not convinced.

  2. I hope they lower the prices of those that are replaced, because sometimes the prices stay the same and it doesn't make much sense.

      1. Those who already have garmin with amoled (the venu series), we see that for outdoor sports are impractical, since nothing is seen, so I do not understand that garmin put amoled to 955 (965), unless it is another type of amoled that is seen with the sun.
        Although knowing garmin you can't expect any wonderful changes either.

        1. I had no problems with the Epix 2 at the time. But it is true that in bright sunlight the transflective screen looks very good and that is where the AMOLED is harmed. But in all other situations the truth is that it is far superior.
          Where I miss that screen the most is in the pool....

  3. Another nail in the coffin of Suunto. It is a pity that this company is finished, just like Polar.

  4. Hello.... I "died" suddenly the Fenix 3 ... And now I hesitate between the FR 955 or the Fenix 6 ... With the arrival of the Amoled 965, do you think it will lower the price of the 955 ? Without testing the 965, NOW, do you still think the 955 is a very good choice ? It's in case I wait a bit for the 955 heh heh heh heh Thank you very much for your Blog.

    1. I don't think the 955 is going to drop in price. The 965 is a "parallel" model, it does not replace the 955, which is also a watch that is selling very well.

      Of your two choices, without a doubt the 955 seems to me to be a much better option unless you want to save some money and wait for the Fenix 6 offers.

  5. does not suppose an extra cost to the manufacturer (even if he sells it more expensive) <- let's see... this sentence... new more expensive technology that is not more expensive but the watch is much more expensive. I was expecting an evolution and not a new step above 255, hence the change of only one number in the nomenclature, no? Or should they call it 355 if they intended to open a new range?

  6. Hola, no conocía esta web y me encanta por todos los detalles que das de cada reloj que analizas

    Llevo idea de cambiar mi Garmin 235 por algo mas avanzado y me estoy volviendo loco con tanta comparativa y tanto video, aunque viendo la tendencia del mercado creo que voy a esperar a que Coros saque un Apex 3/3 pro con pantalla amoled, o Garmin un 965 pro con mas autonomia ¿Sabes si hay alguna noticia al respecto?

    Solamente echo en falta que analizaras algún modelo de otras marcas como Amazfit (Cheetah, Balance, GTR4, T-Rex 2, T-Rex ultra) o Huawei (Gt3 o GT4) que aunque quizas no tengan la calidad de otras marcas creo que pueden cumplir perfectamente para los usuarios que somos menos profesionales

    1. No hay previsión de APEX 3 a corto plazo, y de momento no estaban preparando nada con AMOLED… Aún no tienen claro si van a buscar ese segmento o no.

      Las otras marcas que indicas son relojes inteligentes con pequeñas funciones de deporte, pero no son especificamente de deporte.

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