- Full color, backlit display
- GPS, GLONASS and Ultra-Trac mode
- 6-7 days of battery life
- Daily alarms and move reminders
- Durability concerns due to plastic casing
- HR sensor is not great for dynamic movements
- Music playback doesn’t work very well
FR735XT is the go-to device for triathletes – tracks everything you could ever need with the ability to connect an external HRM for improved dynamics.
The Forerunner 735XT is Garmin’s smallest triathlon watch to date. It’s basically the Forerunner 920XT but with an entirely new body and wrist heart rate sensor. Both of those items are important. The FR920XT was an awesome watch—definitely the best multisport GPS watch of its time—but the 735XT is now is the new top dog. Having a smaller case size means that it’s lighter and less distracting, which is a good thing for sports enthusiasts. Having the wrist heart rate monitor means that you can get your heart rate 24×7; thus, allows your workouts and your more casual runs to not require a chest strap heart rate monitor to gather your heart rate data. It’s a pretty good setup that a lot of people really like.
The 735XT is a comfortable, sleek watch, but unlike the fenix 3, it will always look like a sport watch. So, if you’re looking for something to wear to the office and the track, the 735XT is probably not the watch for you (unless you have as casual of a work environment as RIZKNOWS, in which case I’d say it’s good to go). With that said, it’s a killer triathlon watch and here’s what it tracks, as far sports are concerned:
- Running (indoor/out) — route, distance, pace/speed, calories, cadence, timing info, heart rate (also ground contact time, vertical oscillation, GTC balance, stride length, and vertical ratio while wearing either the HRM-Tri or HRM-Run)
- Cycling (indoor/out) — route, distance, speed, calories, timing info, heart rate (also speed/cadence with the sensor and power info with a power meter)
- Swimming (pool/open water) — distance, stroke count, stroke rate, interval data, SWOLF score (also HR with HRM-Tri or HRM-Swim)
- Hiking, Trail Running, and Climbing — big thing added here is altitude info
- Skiing, Snowboarding — 3D distance and pace added
- Stand Up Paddleboarding, rowing (indoor/out)
- Strength, Cardio
- Stress Score — required chest HRM
- Additional apps on Connect IQ
The FR735XT also has GPS & GLONASS for better satellite mapping. For longer triathlons, hikes, and ultra-marathons you can switch into UltraTrac mode, which helps to conserve battery life, however, you will notice that the the mapping is less accurate in this mode due to the reduced GPS sample rate. This is a common issue with UltraTrac mode. Keeping with battery life, you should expect 5-7 days on a single charge. That’s the average user that’s fairly fit and active. In GPS mode with the OHR running you should expect about 12 hours on a single charge. That should be good for the lions-share of Olympic triathlons out there. It’s a small watch, but that’s actually pretty good battery life.
As far as activity tracking goes, the 735XT tracks all of the basics including heart rate. Garmin has been doing activity tracking for a while and is pretty good at it by now. You can access all of your fitness and sleep data (as well as sports data) within the Garmin Connect mobile web and mobile app. The 735XT syncs with that via USB and Bluetooth.
With regard to the smart features that Garmin has added, the watch relays all of your smartphone notifications (assuming your phone is within BL range of 30-40 feet). The watch also shows your calendar and the weather and gives you the ability to control music playback from your phone and the VIRB action camera. This is all pretty standard Garmin smart features, but we do like having them. The other thing here is Connect IQ. Above we mentioned you can download additional apps, but through that platform you can also download custom watch faces, widgets, and data fields, which is pretty neat. You access this through Garmin Connect.
Bottom line with the Forerunner 735XT is that it’s a solid sport watch, but you should only think about getting it if you can stomach the price ($450 at retail) and if you’re either a triathlete, ultra-marathoner, swimmer, and/or cyclist. Fortunately, we’ve seen the Forerunner 735XT discounted as much as $100 so [check on Amazon] regularly for prices. You really have to be into your sport to spend up for this watch. We like it a lot here at RIZKNOWS, but we could easily see folks opting for the Forerunner 235 or vivoactive HR instead.
Check out the Forerunner 735XT at Clever Training – Free shipping + no sales tax (excl. Fl)