Garmin’s new Forerunner 235 has all the training features we look for in a serious GPS run watch, along with 24/7 heart rate monitoring as well as sleep and activity tracking. We preferred the 235’s versatility and simplicity to its more sophisticated cousin the 630, with its chest strap and fussy touch screen. The 235 also improves on the 225, Garmin’s first wrist-based HRM GPS watch. It is lighter and smaller, with a bigger display and longer battery life. Physiology features also arrive via Garmin’s new Elevate heart rate sensing. We appreciated the easy access to heart rate data: instant, constantly updated resting with four-hour and seven-day trends. The thin, soft and slightly sticky strap was comfortable when snug and stayed put—we saw few GPS dropouts or wild HR readings.

Breakdown

Recovery and physiology

Run some harder workouts and the 235 will start to estimate your VO2 Max and give eerily accurate race time predictions. The Recovery Advisor kept our horses in check, estimating hours until our next hard workout.

Connectivity

Smart phone notifications, music control, and add-on widgets, apps and watch faces from the ConnectIQ store are new features that were not available in the 225.

Not sitting still

We noted a much more reliable workout synching to the Garmin Connect app than our earlier test of the 630. During our testing, cadence as a watch data field went live.

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