Garmin Forerunner 735XT, new triathlon watch with optical pulse sensor


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The full review is now complete, so if you're interested in all the details of the Garmin Forerunner 735XT, I recommend reading the full review by clicking here.

As already you could read a few days agoThe new Forerunner 735XT replaces the 920XT (which will remain on sale but will no longer receive software updates) and, of course, comes with new features.

At Garmin they are on a roll and have been totally unstoppable in terms of introducing new models for a few months now. Basically what they are doing is combining some things and others from different models within the range to create a new model. In this case, Garmin has put the Forerunner 235The Forerunner 630 and the Forerunner 920XTAnd after a lot of shaking, what has come out is this new Garmin Forerunner 735XT.

Garmin Forerunner 735XT, new

The Forerunner 735XT is aesthetically similar to the FR235. Same display, same external size and virtually the same weight. They share the same optical pulse sensor, the Garmin Elevate that was released with the Garmin Vivosmart HRIt can be used during any activity except swimming and will serve to monitor your heart rate throughout the day.

From the FR630 it receives all the specific functions that it presented a few months ago. Some were already present in the 920XT, such as the new advanced running dynamics; but others, such as the calculation of the lactate threshold, the stress score or the FTP calculation in cycling are new in the 735XT (although they were already available in other watches such as the Fenix 3).

Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Here's a quick look at all the new 735XTs (compared to the 920XT):

  • Garmin Elevate Optical Pulse Sensor
  • Pulse monitoring throughout the day, also recording highs, lows and minutes of intensity
  • Smaller size than 920XT (a relief underneath the neoprene sleeve)
  • Less weight, at the cost of some battery life
  • Lactate threshold calculation, automatically or manually
  • Stress Score Calculation
  • Cycling FTP calculation (power sensor required)
  • New Strava Suffer Score application (but can also be installed on the 920XT)
  • Compatible with swim training (new coming today, but also compatible with the 920XT)
  • Compatible with Varia Vision and Various Radar
  • Lose the barometric altimeter and WiFi connectivity

Some of these features are new to the range, meaning that they were not present on the 920XT. But there are some others that are totally new and are being introduced on this 735XT.

Strava Suffer Score

After the inclusion of Strava's live sectors, the mutual collaboration continues. I was hoping that with the 735XT the live segments would reach the clocks, but maybe it was too much to hope for.

Strava Suffer Score is an algorithm that analyzes the heart rate of the training and the marked HR zones. From there it indicates, in a numerical way, which is the hardness of the training. The more time in zone 5, the higher that score will be. A concept very similar to TSS that you can also see in the activity analyses It is a feature of Strava Premium (if your account is free you will not have it in your activities), but you can have it on your watch for free.

Strava Suffer Score


This is an additional field that can be added to any of the data pages you set up, and although it's included for the first time on the 735XT it's not unique to it, any Connect IQ-compatible clock will be able to install it from the application store.

Swimming training

As well as advanced running and cycling training, the 735XT also makes advanced swimming training official. You can schedule your pool training session in advance, avoiding having to carry a paper with the different exercises you have to do to leave it soaking at the edge of the pool and consult it every time you finish a length.

Swimming training

Creating these workouts is similar to running and cycling. You can select duration in meters, style (back, freestyle, butterfly, etc.) and add equipment (paddles, fins, pull-boy, etc.) You can set the duration of breaks, repeat sections of the same workout, etc. What you cannot select is a pace or heart rate target.

As I say, it's more of a guide to what you have to do in terms of exercises than a workout where the clock warns you if you're going over or under your target. But in my opinion it's in the pool where it makes the most sense to be, because that's where we usually do the most variation of workouts.

These trainings are not exclusive to the 735XT, you can also send it to the Fenix 3 and 920XT. At the moment it is not compatible with other watches that have swimming application such as the Vivoactive or Vivoactive HR.

My opinion

The new Garmin Forerunner 735XT is not a major revolution. It has few new features, and in fact everything that software allows can be done by other models, such as the Fenix 3 HR. Compared to the 920XT it replaces (although it will continue to sell, of course) there are hardly any unique features beyond certain software features.

Perhaps the most important new feature is the reduction in thickness, being one centimeter thinner than the 920XT (even with the optical sensor) which will allow it to be worn more comfortably under the sleeve of the neoprene. But in exchange we lose the two upper buttons that had already become a classic of Garmin's multisport watches. And I think that on the bike they will be missed. It also reduces the range and loses the barometric altimeter.

There doesn't seem to be much reason to move from a 920XT to the new 735XT and even if the price difference is high, Forerunner 920XT may still be the most reasonable choice, but until I test it I don't want to give a definitive opinion. I have a couple of triathlon trials coming up in the next few weeks that will be the ideal test bed for this model. If Garmin makes a unit available before then it will be the perfect test bed.

Garmin Forerunner 735XT, availability and pricing

The new Garmin Forerunner 735XT will be available in just a few weeks. Two colors will be available, black/grey and a combination of light and dark blue. Despite including the optical pulse sensor, there will also be packs with traditional pulse sensors, in order to have advanced running metrics (with the HRM-Run 2 sensor) and pulse measurement in the pool and open water (with the HRM-Swim and HRM-TriThese are the prices:

  • Garmin Forerunner 735XT: 449,99€
  • Garmin Forerunner 735XT with HRM-Run 2 sensor: 499,99€
  • Garmin Forerunner 735XT with HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim sensors: 599,99€

And with that... thanks for reading!

Support this siteYou can do this by purchasing your Garmin 735XT through Amazon.

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. Good afternoon.
    If the pulse is looking for it in the wrist, can't it be put in some coupling for the bike?

    1. At the moment it does not have a quick release kit, it can be mounted on the handlebar in a universal bracket and use a chest pulse sensor with ANT+ connectivity

  2. With only the wrist pulse sensor you get all the dynamic running data? What is the advantage of adding the Rum chest strap, beyond the reliability of this system over the new (and not too tested) Elevate wrist sensor?

    1. The HRM-Run or HRM-Tri sensor is required for the stroke dynamics.
      A chest sensor is also necessary for the calculation of the lactate threshold (optical sensors, at the moment, do not measure pulse variability).

  3. Do you know anything about a possible Fenix 4? So much news, could it mean that the next thing is a Fenix 4? I'm thinking about buying an F3 and I wouldn't like to find an F4 after two days...

    1. No, I doubt that a Fenix 4 is being considered for release at the moment. The Fenix 3 is working very well (and receiving a lot of updates). I recommend that you take a look at the article from a week ago with the

  4. For me more than replacing the 920XT complements the latest forerunners with swimming. Since it will not allow quick release straps, it loses the front start and lap buttons (very practical for the series) ... and anyway, it is a 630 "unlocked" (identical!!! Same dimensions, weight, size....)
    Garmin's policy of "capping" its equipment by software to remove features and have an illogical product portfolio, is gaining more and more weight:
    - The fenix3 does it all, but for day-to-day use it's a stub. Not to mention sleeping with it and using sleep statistics.
    The Vivoactive is great, a brutal smarwatch with GPS, but basically it lacks swimming (in open water, because in pool allows what!? And well other free cuts typical of the house garmin (racing dynamics, potentiometers, etc ...)
    The 920XT is rather ugly, plastic, big and price for price better a fenix3
    The latest forerunners are very cool, but they are not suitable for multidisciplinary activities.
    Anyway, I think there are 200 garmins in the catalogue and they still don't have the final product. The 735XT is coming, but they've already taken away the barometer and I'm sure some mountain functions. Not to mention that with a touch it would win in its entirety. And its price compared to a Vivoactive HR, disproportionate.

    1. Oh, not even close... for color tastes, for pahar 400y, get another fenix 3 hrm... personal opinion

    1. Unless you specifically look for the optical sensor and lighter, it's not worth the change. As for software at the moment they offer the same features, and on the way you lose the barometric altimeter and autonomy.

      1. Thanks a lot!
        What made me doubt the most was the design.... But well I don't find the fenix3 very annoying either. And the sensor from what I've heard they have to improve a lot to overcome the band of a lifetime.
        A salute!

  5. It's going out of control..., instead of getting a 635, hr..., new model..., to pay that money I'm going to the fenix, mega complete..., serves for the day to day..., and most importantly, for training..., from head to back..., in short it falls fixed...,.

    1. I'll take a few months with me and I'm very happy! The only thing is the size that being a girl with a small doll... Besides, if I change again I'll lose some money.

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