Garmin Forerunner 735XT: Price, Features and Review

Garmin Forerunner 735XT: Price, Features and Review
Image by the manufacturer

Are you an athlete looking to take your training to the next level? Here’s a watch that will interest you - the Garmin Forerunner 735XT. This is a slim, lightweight watch that’s equipped with top of the range features to track your running, swimming, and cycling, as well as, every day features to make it an incredible smartwatch. If you're looking for a smartwatch, running watch and fitness tracker all wrapped in one, then this is the watch for you.


The Positives

  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight
  • Optical heart rate sensor
  • Phone notifications
  • Interval training
  • Accurate GPS
  • Compatible with Garmin accessories
  • Tracks swimming, biking, and running
  • Superb battery life

The Negatives

  • Costly
  • No altimeter
  • Aesthetics could be better


Launched in May 2016, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT entered the market with a $450 price tag. The good news is that the price has been dropping with some stores selling the watch between the $300 to $400 price bracket in Black Friday deals.

Image by the manufacturer


The Garmin Forerunner 735XT’s battery is just outstanding. Capable of going up to five days of heavy use, the battery is strong and even if you're going for a four-hour run, you don’t need to worry about the battery dying out on you. Plus, it has an Ultra-trac mode which can take you for as long as 100 miles on a single charge.

Design and Appearance

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is far from a fashionable wearable. You’ll notice chunky buttons protruding from either side and not-so-pleasant rubber strap. It's not the slimmest smartwatch either and it comes in two colors; Blue/Frost Blue or Black/Gray. But where it lacks in looks it makes up for in functionality. It has a pretty accurate GPS that can easily be accessed via a one-inch color display. The Forerunner 735XT has a 5 ATM rating, which in simple terms, means you can go as deep as 50 meters underwater with the watch intact. This fitness tracker is strong and durable and can survive minor accidents in the gym or the field. The rubber straps are comfortable and easy to fasten compared to something like Samsung Gear Sport.

The watch is lightweight at 40 grams and is compatible with both iOS and Android. Display Surprisingly, the screen is not touch-enabled, and the buttons do all the controls. But, you still get a clear screen that’s mostly legible under any condition, thanks to the transflective technology that adapts the screen to the available light. The buttons are clearly labeled and designed to be used even when swimming. The placement of the buttons is also tactical and you can't push them unintentionally, say when lifting weights or cross-training. The display is home to loads of information, such as heart rate, a summary of your daily activity, and a summary of your last workout. Data, Accuracy, and Performance Once you're done with your workout and you save the routine, the Forerunner 735XT will give you a set of useful data, including personal records for fastest 5K, fastest 10k and your longest runs. It will also display an estimated recovery time based on the intensity of your workout.

You also get to view plenty of other useful information, such as calories burned and strides per minute (cadence). There is a feature called the ‘Training Effect’ number which tells you if your fitness level is improving or you're simply maintaining the same fitness level. In terms of accuracy, the Forerunner 735XT doesn't disappoint. The pedometer gives accurate results and you can rely on the total distance measured on your running route. This is a top performance watch and it delivers on everything that it says. There is no delay finding a GPS signal and you can record all your runs without a glitch.

Additional Features

You can view texts, social media messages, emails, and calendar events directly from the Forerunner 735XT clear display. Unfortunately, you’ll need your phone to respond to the messages. It has the option to turn off notifications by enabling the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. Another downside of the notifications is that your phone’s location has to be on all the time for the sync function to work. Garmin offers two types of bundles with the Forerunner 735XT. With the $499 Run Bundle, you get the watch and HRM-Run, which measures cadence, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation. The $599 Tri-Bundle gives you the watch, the HRM-Tri (great for biking), and HRM-Swim (great for swimming).

To Consider Before Your Purchase

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is the real deal for triathletes. Although it's quite expensive, it's worth it and will never disappoint. It's completely water-resistant whether you're on the beach, in the pool or shower. The watch has a multisport feature that makes it easy to switch between running, biking or swimming with just a touch of a button.

Our Notes

Garmin Forerunner 735XT: this watch packs loads of features that make it a fitness tracker to own. The screen is highly visible even in water and the long battery life should make your training easier.

What Do They Say on Other Sites

“I like this watch, but would not buy it again. By way of background, I am a 12 time Ironman finisher and reasonably tech-savvy endurance athlete Here is what it does well (and should at this price) - 1. It provides accurate pace (mile/minute) for running. 2. It provides heart-rate via a wrist-based optical sensor, which (however) is subject to wild swings in accuracy Here are the problems I have encountered - 1. Insufficient battery life. Garmin advertises this as a leading multisport (meaning triathlon) watch. This weekend I used it in the Ironman World Championships. I charged the device to 100% prior to the start. After a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 23 miles of running - the battery failed. It simply did not have enough juice to make it to the finish. Its frustrating to have your watch fail at mile 23 in the Hawaiian Ironman, to say the least. For that reason alone, you should not buy it if you wish to race Ironman with it. 2. Inaccurate heart rate. In training I experienced wild variation in HR using the optical HR sensor. For e.g., during a light jog the HR sensor would show 180 BPM, when my actual HR was 120 BPM. This inaccuracy seemed more prevalent in cool morning conditions. Much on the web has been written about this. 3. Poor sync tech. Garmin advertises easy data syncing with the Connect app. I have found syncing requires multiple manual attempts, and is inconsistent and unreliable For training, its OK. But you'd be better off with a far less expensive Garmin for basic pace data (and a chest based HRM), or another brand." (L. Woodside on Amazon)  

“GPS is spot on as you would expect with garmin. Very easy to use and the App Store is great. As is the Garmin Connect app. Met all my expectations as a wearable fitness watch with multisport” (Rob on Walmart