Its been a good 2 months since I received the Garmin Forerunner 235 to test out by Garmin Singapore. And I have to say I am extremely pleased with this FR225 upgrade. I have been using this watch daily for my runs and in fact, I used the watch in my recent race the the Rock and Roll Phoenix, Arizona Half Marathon. Feel free to check out the data here:
Firstly, here are some of the features that struck me when I first got to handle this watch.
- It has both GLONASS and GPS systems to track your waypoints during the run. GPS is the American system while GLONASS is the Russian system so you can imagine how much more accurate the details of you run will be in terms of the pace and distance covered.
- I was hesitant when Garmin wanted to make their own optical HR sensor but I am glad it turned out well. Compared to the FR225 where the sensor is almost flushed to the watch, requiring rubber seals to ensure readibility, the FR235 sensor was protruded out of the base of the watch, such that it pushes into your skin. The advantage was that I did not have to wear the watch as tight as I did with the FR225, making it much more comfortable on runs.
- This version also has smart watch features. Even though I do not use them, I find that with the widget platform, I was able to turn on bluetooth and press sync whenever I want to very easily. With the FR225, I had the bluetooth always on for convenience sake and basically just hope that sync will occus when my phone is in near proximity which sometimes does not occur and require some tinkering. With the widget system, I could turn on bluetooth, sync, turn off bluetooth with a few quick presses and I like it, making syncing time-efficient and battery saving.
- It comes with a spare strap!!! Even though my strap did not break on the FR225, the way I tighten it to ensure a good reading made me wonder how long this will last. I guess that’s why FR235 came with another strap of a different colour! But I guess now with the improved sensor, I am less worried of the strap breaking. But still its cool to be able to change the colour once in a while!
Let’s jump straight into the Q and A:
- The FR225 charging base was not very stable and had frequent poor connections. How does the FR235 fare in this area?
Well, im glad they have improved their charging system to a clip system. This ensures that the watch charging points are well aligned and when its in the clip, it is definitely charging.
- Some people complain about the poor backlight. Does it affect you?
No, not at all. I think it has served its function well in the early sunsets in winter here in Boulder, Colorado! Besides you should be looking at the roads not your watch when running along dark alleys! 😛
- Is the Heart rate optical sensor accurate compared to the FR225?
The FR225 was fantastic but required you to tighten your strap rather tightly. THe FR235 was much more comfortable but yielded about the same results. There are still moments that it may be off but I find this is mainly due to the cold here. I find that when I am wearing gloves, keeping my hands warm meant steady blood flow in my arms, gave me really good readings. On days when I find some inaccuracies, they mainly happen when the weather was not cold enough for me to wear gloves but my hand were definitely chilly and slightly numb. I think if you use it in SIngapore, you wont experience much problems.
The FR235 is a worthy update from the FR225 and showed that Garmin can make their own optical sensors well. I am excited for the optical sensor to be inbuilt to the rest of the line of Garmin watches as I won’t ever go back to wearing a chest strap anymore! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me on instagram @mokyingren or through this site 🙂
Just for fun! Trying out the poll function here haha