BIGGER FACE, BETTER TRACKING
Garmin Forerunner 235
Back in February, we took a look at Garmin's vivosmart HR fitness tracker, and even took it for a spin at our leisure. Compared to most fitness trackers, the vivosmart HR showed us just how accurate a heart rate monitor could be (step counts notwithstanding). This month, we'll be taking a look at the Forerunner 235, a device that stands out more as a watch than a fitness tracker.
Is the Forerunner 235 a smartwatch? Well, yes and no. The first thing that you will notice upon opening its packaging is that the display isn't touch-based. Instead, the controls, navigation, and functions of the Forerunner 235 are controlled by the preset buttons from the sides of the watch, just as you would a normal watch.
While it may seem unusual that Garmin would miss out on an opportunity to give this device a touch-sensitive face (especially when you consider the device's asking price), we actually see where the company was going with this when they designed it.
A touchscreen on the watch face would've simply been treated more as a mere luxury than a necessity, and considering the amount of sweat that we managed churn out during our workout sessions with this watch, we're kind of glad that Garmin didn't put in that luxury. Despite that, the display genuinely stands out with its vibrant colors and animated sections.
One of our judging criteria for a fitness tracker is in how accurately (or at least, as close as it possibly can be) it measures the number of steps a person takes, to which the Forerunner 235 suffers from the same problem as other fitness trackers: phantom steps being taken, even idle or not in motion.
Steps count aside, the Forerunner 235 does actually have a wide variety of tracking measures installed in it. If you connect it via the Connect app on your smartphone, the Forerunner 235's colorful display actually lets you see the distance you've traveled, how fast you were running, and even how well-rested you are throughout the week. It even gives you a colorful representation of your heart rate, along with your maximum heart rate at the height of your physical intensity.
Last but not least, the battery life on the Forerunner 235 can summarily be described as ever ready and long-lasting. On a full charge, this fitness tracker cum watch didn't even prompt to be charged until almost a week and a half later, and this was with Bluetooth enabled along with an active connection to our phone.