In this post
- The full review is now complete, so if you're interested in all the details of the Garmin 935, I recommend you read the full review by clicking here.
- Garmin 935, more Phoenix than Forerunner
- What's New in the Garmin 935
- Garmin Forerunner 935, availability and price
- Help the site
- My opinion
From the very day of the presentation of the Forerunner 735XT There has been speculation about the possible introduction of a Garmin 935XT. The 735XT is a great watch, but there were two fundamental aspects where it did not reach the level shown by the 920XTThe following are some of the most important factors: battery life and barometric altimeter.
The 735XT, being based on the Forerunner range, could not inherit the altimeter from its younger siblings, and the addition of the optical sensor reduced the total range which, given the small total size of the watch, is not something that stands out either - something that for the vast majority of users is not a reason to discard, but which can be a serious problem for those who want the watch to participate in Ironman tests.
I insist, this does not mean that the 735XT is a bad device. Quite the contrary. But the most demanding user was asking for a little more.
Has this been solved in Garmin's new top-of-the-line triathlon? Well, let's see.
Garmin 935, more Phoenix than Forerunner
If the 735XT is based on the Forerunner range, it is clear that the 935 is based on the new Fenix 5 range (of which you already have the complete proof, you can click on the link to read it) presented just three months ago. You don't have to be an expert to notice it either, it's something you can see at a glance. Everything in it reminds of the Fenix 5.
This situation is very normal and we have seen it before in the case of Garmin. They invest in the development of a platform and then adjust it according to the requirements of each segment; but always sharing the base, thus spreading the development cost over more units. It is pure economy of scale.
So the 935 gets the two things that were missing most in the 735XT: a barometric altimeter and greater range, so you can now track the meters climbed in the three mountain passes you've ridden with the bike; and you won't have any problems when facing an Ironman, whatever your level, because the 935's range reaches 24 hours with GPS use and up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode.
You're wondering... so, 935 is the same as the Fenix 5? Yes, but no. Although they're all very similar, there are some key aspects that differentiate them.
To begin with, the materials used are different. While the Fenix 5 is a more "premium" product, making use of stainless steel and with sapphire crystal versions, the 935 is entirely made of "fiber-reinforced polymer". In other words, a plastic that feels good to the touch. Garmin's response to my question about the differences between the two (and I quote), "the 935 is focused on the serious runner or triathlete, while the Fenix 5 is more of a "lifestyle" product with a focus on premium materials such as metal or sapphire crystal in some versions."
But don't let the "plastic" thing scare you. In fact it is the same material of the case of the Fenix 5, the only difference is that the latter has bezel and back cover in steel and versions with sapphire crystal (the 935 does not have this option available). There is also another reading, the absence of "noble materials" allows to reduce the price and especially the weight, remaining at an impressive 49 grams.
The 935 is also thinner, making it more comfortable to put on and take off a wetsuit. In this image you can see, from left to right, the new 935, Fenix 5S, Fenix 5 and Fenix 5X. You can see at first glance how the Forerunner is even thinner than the Fenix 5S.
If you prefer the cold numbers, the thickness of the 935 is 13.9mm while the Fenix 5 is 15.5mm. The size of the dial is practically identical in both: 47mm of the Fenix by 46.7mm in the 935, although the anchorage of the pins are shorter, about 2mm on each side, so the print on the wrist is somewhat more compact.
However, this new Forerunner 935 is not just a triathlon-oriented watch - it's the new top of the Forerunner series, not just for triathletes but for advanced runners as well.
But let's see what else the new model brings.
What's New in the Garmin 935
The new Garmin 935 receives the same software innovations that came with the Fenix 5. New algorithms created by FirstBeat (i.e. not developed by Garmin) and have been in their professional range for some time now. They have years of study behind them, so they're not just artifices for adding new features. Or so I'd like to believe.
The training diary is a collection of information about your training, including your training goals, your performance, and the results of your training.
In the image you will see that there are two arrows, separating and differentiating your physical level from your training load. In that specific case your exercises are making you increase your physical capacity while maintaining a constant training load, and therefore being productive.
Next we have the training load, which is part of the function described above. It measures the volume of training done in the last 7 days, adding up the records of COPD The watch will indicate whether the current charge is low, high or correct, allowing you to maintain or improve your fitness.
The optical range is based on your particular data and past workouts, so the information it displays will depend exclusively on your present and past workouts.
Finally, the Training Effect function that was shown at the end of the workout and gave a figure to catalogue how it was (which was also originally from FirstBeat), is now split into two separate pieces of information: aerobic benefit and anaerobic benefit. This way every time you finish a workout you will know how it will affect your fitness, with the series sessions specifically to provide anaerobic benefit and the long pulls for aerobic. But now you can see it on the screen, and also when synchronizing the workout, with more useful information about it.
The optical pulse sensor built into the 935 is the new version premiered with the Fenix 5. In the short time I have had with this one, the accuracy in exercise is very similar to what we already knew from previous models with the Garmin Elevate, but where there are significant changes is in the recording of heart rate throughout the day. Previously, the data was taken in a variable way and depending on movement, from seconds to even hours could pass between each FC shot.
The new sensor is much more energy efficient, allowing for constant recording every 1 or 2 seconds. If you turn the clock over, the sensor is always active, no matter what activity we are doing. Now the data and graphs it provides look better as there are many more points recorded. And above all, the data is more reliable.
Just compare this graph with the 735XT a few months ago.
And compare it with the graph obtained this Sunday with the Fenix 5.
The 935 also comes with a new pre-installed TrainingPeaks app. It will allow you to download free TrainingPeaks workouts (or those prepared by your trainer) directly to your watch, receiving the indications on the screen. And of course, after synchronisation with Garmin Connect, they will also arrive in TrainingPeaks. It is a Connect IQ app, so it is not exclusive to the new model.
Other functions that were novelties in the case of the Fenix 5 are not so much in the 935 as they were already present in the 735XT. For example the Strava segments, which were premiered in the little brother being the first watch to offer this function.
To be able to synchronize segments to the clock you need to be a premium user on Strava, although the clock includes a 60-day trial so that you at least have a general idea of how it works first.
Of course other functions like FTP calculation, VO2Max in cycling, GroupTrack o compatibility with more ANT+ sensors (such as lights, Varia Radar or Varia Vision) are also present in the 935, as it could not be otherwise. And also the advanced racing metrics, for which there is a new accessory.
Running Dynamics Pod
Together with the FR935, Garmin has introduced a new accessory. This pod offers the same functionality as the HRM-Tri or HRM-Run pulse sensors: race dynamics data. The same data that is recorded with these advanced sensors is available with the new accessory.
Now that the optical sensor is a feature in all watches (in Garmin it is already "standard" in all ranges), the use of the pulse sensor on the chest is becoming more and more marginal and reserved only for certain workouts.
This is where Garmin wants to fill the gap with this new sensor, offering the same advanced racing dynamics data but without wearing the sensor on your chest. The location for this new sensor will be on your waist. Although I still think that the data it provides is not particularly informative beyond mere consultation, as there is no further information from Garmin on how you can improve your running.
Quick Release Kit
And another novelty that is presented with the 935 is the availability of a quick anchorage kit. It is the first watch with an optical sensor to have this accessory officially, since the 735XT never had this possibility nor was it present in the Fenix 3 HR.
This accessory allows you to quickly move the watch from your wrist to the bike mount, so you can follow all the race data on the same watch screen. If you are a racer it is not something you will value at all, but I am sure more than one triathlete has been thrilled to read it.
In short, these are all the features of the new Garmin 935:
- 46,7mm diameter
- 49 grams of weight
- Glass, but not sapphire. Probably polycarbonate.
- Higher resolution and quality screen: 240×240 pixels and 64 colors
- Support for the latest version of Connect IQ (although the 735XT already offered this)
- Up to 24 hours of GPS use, or 50 hours with UltraTrac mode
- Submersible to 50 meters (Phoenix 5 to 100 meters)
- Altimeter, barometer and magnetic compass
- Gyroscope to enhance the UltraTrac function
- WiFi (on the Fenix 5, only available on versions with sapphire glass)
- Training Load
- Training Status
- Training Effect 2.0
- Route navigation (same as Fenix 5)
- Strava segment support for cycling and running
- New TrainingPeaks application (which will also be compatible with other models)
- New Garmin Elevate sensor with constant heart rate monitoring
- Compatible with the new Running Dynamics Pod for advanced running metrics recording without chest pulse sensor
- Compatible with many external sensors, both ANT+ and Bluetooth, as well as Various Radar, Varia Vision o Varia Lights
- Availability of Quick Release
- Compatible with Quick Fit straps
- VO2Max calculation for cycling (already present in the 735XT)
- Group Tracking
- More sports profiles, including Golf (not available on the 735XT)
- Controlling the phone's music player (cannot store music)
Ufff... A lot of things. And that I have left out the most basic things because I consider it "standard equipment".
Garmin Forerunner 935, availability and price
The 935, in spite of being practically a Fenix 5, is cheaper than this one. The watch with the black strap can be obtained for 549 ?, 50 ? less than the Garmin that is more focused on mountain use. Why the lower price? Because of the materials used, dispensing with the stainless steel that in addition to reducing weight, also reduces the price tag. In spite of that the 935 does have WiFi, something that in the case of the Fenix 5 is exclusively reserved for the models with sapphire crystal.
A sensor pack is also available. This tri pack will consist of the 935 in black (with yellow details), the yellow strap you see in the pictures, HRM-Tri sensor, HRM-Swim sensor, the Quick Release Kit and an additional black strap. The price of the complete pack will be 699 ?.
Although it seems like a pretty high price, it's not a bad deal for everything included. Only the sensors already cost 160So that 150 euro difference gives you a QuickFit strap (the new quick strap change system) and the new Quick Release Kit.
As for the Running Dynamics Pod, it will be priced at £69.
And when will you be able to start planning the season with the 935? From now on, because it is available from today (or so I have been told by Garmin), at least in the USA.
Help the site
Would you like to help run a marathon? You can do so by purchasing your Garmin Forerunner 935 through the links I provide. You will be able to get the best price for your new watch and, at the same time, help with a small fee so that I can continue to run the tests I perform.
Without knowing your opinion yet, I believe that this time Garmin has succeeded with its new triathlon proposal. It covers the shortcomings of the 735XT, which will now remain as a mid-range triathlon watch, and offers all the features that any amateur triathlete may need. And not only triathletes, but also advanced runners, who are also looking at Garmin with this new model.
My experience with the new Fenix 5 (with which it shares software) is still very short, but the initial impression is positive. Not only does it provide more information, but the information it offers is useful and can be understood and therefore used to improve performance.
I think this 935 meets all the expectations placed on a top-of-the-range triathlon watch, which I can't think of anything else to put beyond the price, but which we all knew wasn't going to be cheap.
What I'm not sure about is whether it leaves room in the range for a replacement for the 630 with an optical pulse sensor or whether it will definitely be the end of the range for high-end, race-specific watches.
In fact, I don't know if you've noticed so far... but he's lost the XT designation. Clearly Garmin isn't selling it exclusively to triathletes and wants to go further.
My impression is that there's no more room, but when it comes to Garmin, I wouldn't put my hand in the fire.
And with that... thanks for reading!