Meet the Forerunner 35, Garmin’s latest affordable GPS running watch that comes packed with new features to assist beginner and moderately experienced runners stay on-track and up their game.

Activity trackers – although lightweights when it comes to capturing complex exercise metrics – do a great job counting steps, monitoring general fitness levels and encouraging healthy habits as you go about your day. But if your daily walks are turning into regular runs, then you’re definitely going to have to upgrade your current fitness monitoring hardware. How else do you expect to keep pace with the healthier, fitter you and up your game?

Run your heart out: Garmin's new Forerunner 35Enter the new Garmin Forerunner 35. This affordable GPS-enabled running watch has a lot to offer, especially for beginner or less-competitive runners who don’t require all the complex performance metrics (for example stride length, vertical ratio and vertical oscillation) found on more expensive, top-of-the-line devices.

It can hear your heart beat

Without a doubt, the Forerunner 35’s most compelling feature is the inclusion of Garmin’s new proprietary optical heart rate (HR) sensor – allowing you to keep tabs on your ticker 24/7 without having to wear an uncomfortable chest strap. It also comes with four preloaded sports profiles – outdoor running, indoor running, Run your heart out: Garmin's new Forerunner 35cycling and cardio – so you can add more complexity to your exercise regime than just jogging around the neighbourhood. Its built-in GPS accurately tracks how fast, how far and where you go. Plus you can even check out your data on the watch immediately after a training session, without first having to access the Garmin Connect app via your smartphone or computer.

To help keep you safer while pounding the streets, its live tracking function lets friends and family monitor your route and progress on a map in real time. It also features basic smartwatch-like functionality, allowing you to receive notifications, text messages and control your music playlists –  all while keeping your expensive smartphone stashed safely out of sight in a backpack or pocket.

Apart from all that, the Forerunner 35 also comes with all the features you’d expect from a high-end activity tracker; the ability to count steps and calories burned, track intensity minutes and monitor your sleep patterns. It also tracks periods of inactivity, giving you vibration alerts when it’s time to move. And its 5 ATM (50 meters) waterproof rating means it can be safely worn in the pool or shower.

Garmin Forerunner 35 features in a nutshell

  • Monitors heart rate all day and night, using Garmin’s Elevate wrist heart rate technology
  • Built-in GPS tracks how fast, how far and where you run
  • Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect,
    live tracking and music controls
  • All-day activity tracking counts steps, calories, intensity minutes,
    monitors sleep and reminds you when to move
  • Features training tools such as intervals, audio prompts and a dedicated run/walk activity
  • Preloaded sports profiles for outdoor running, indoor running, cycling and cardio
  • Automatically uploads your data to Garmin Connect, the company’s free online fitness
    community where you can join challenges, receive insights and share your progress with others
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery with a life of up to 9 days in watch mode, and up to 13 hours in training mode

Easy operator

Operating the Forerunner 35 couldn’t be any easier. There’s no touchscreen, instead you get four buttons to navigate its interface and change settings. The optical heart rate sensor, situated on the back (to ensure it makes permanent contact with your skin), does its own thing and can be ignored. That said, the strap has to fit pretty snugly around the arm and be placed above the wrist joint for it to accurately measure your heart rate.

All four buttons have multiple functions, here are a few examples of what they can do. Top right provides access to the various sports profiles; outdoor running (GPS), indoor running (accelerometer only), walking, cycling and cardio. The navigation button below takes you to additional info, including resting heart rate, notifications, step counts, calories burned, active minutes, last workout data and even the weather. It also doubles as the control for music playback – a first for Garmin watches. Bottom left, apart from helping you exit menus, also allows you to adjust settings and set up alarms. Finally, the top left button is dedicated to the backlight, which can be set to turn on for chosen tracking modes.

Run your heart out: Garmin's new Forerunner 35You also get three different screens to switch between. One shows the time (analogue or digital) and battery level, while the other two display all the important stuff. These two data screens, each one split into three segments, can be customised to display any of the following metrics: time, distance, pace, calories, heart rate, HR zone, lap time, lap distance, lap pace, average pace and cadence.

Upping your game

Other cool features to help boost performance include the ability to customise run modes by including Virtual Pacer or interval training into your sessions. (Virtual Pacer compares your current pace to your target, while interval training allows you to set up exercise and rest periods.) Auto Pause stops and resumes the timer based on your speed. The Time/Distance alarm lets you know when you’ve reached your pre-set goals. And those wanting more accurate data than can be derived from a wrist-mounted device, can connect it to ANT+ heart rate straps and footpods.

Although you can checkout your latest workout directly on your Forerunner 35, you have so much more access to in-depth metrics when using your phone or computer. Once exercise and activity data has been uploaded to the Garmin Connect app via Bluetooth or USB, you can delve into your training and lifestyle histories in any number of ways to identify interesting trends. It will display your route on a map, temperature and lap splits, along with a variety of graphs to break down your activities in fascinating detail. You can also get expert advice from professionals, create a virtual training group and share encouragement and feedback with friends. – (c) 2016 NavWorld

Run your heart out: Garmin's new Forerunner 35

So now, you can Run your heart out: Garmin’s new Forerunner 35 Get it now (click here)

About The Author

Sean Woods

Originally a photographer for the Star newspaper in the bad old days, Sean Woods turned to writing after the first democratic elections in '94. The career shift paid serious dividends, culminating in him becoming associate editor for Popular Mechanics magazine with a number of technology writing awards under his belt. His interests include anything to do with boats, motorcycles and all those fancy tech gadgets that help the modern world go around.

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