Garmin Forerunner 265 overview: a brand new customary for health watches | Digital Tendencies

Garmin Forerunner 265 review: a new standard for fitness watches | Digital Trends

Garmin Forerunner 265

MSRP $450.00

“The Forerunner 265 is not simply a wonderful working watch — it is also a unbelievable all-around health wearable that you just should not overlook.”


  • Extraordinarily snug
  • Pretty AMOLED display screen
  • Unimaginable well being/health instruments
  • Extremely customizable
  • 4-plus days of battery life
  • Does not require any subscriptions


  • Restricted sensible options
  • Proprietary charger

If you consider smartwatches and health wearables, do you consider Garmin? In case you’re an avid runner or hiker, you in all probability already do. However should you’re a extra informal smartwatch wearer, likelihood is you’re extra accustomed to watches from Apple and Samsung. I actually have by no means dabbled on the earth of Garmin wearables, however that modified a couple of weeks in the past when Garmin requested if I’d wish to overview its new Forerunner 265 smartwatch.

For some context, Garmin’s Forerunner collection is its lineup of watches focused particularly at runners, and the Forerunner 265 is the newest midtier entry within the vary. I’ve worn the Forerunner 265 on a number of runs, and I can vouch that it’s glorious in that division. However it’s additionally a extremely good all-around health wearable that stands out as a powerful various to a Fitbit or Whoop band. Even should you’re not an aspiring professional runner, the Garmin Forerunner 265 does a lot proper that you just’ll in all probability wish to purchase it anyway.

Garmin Forerunner 265: design and luxury

Someone wearing the Garmin Forerunner 265 on their wrist.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

Garmin makes it clear in its advertising and marketing that the Forerunner 265 is a working smartwatch, and that’s instantly obvious with its design. The complete case is made out of “fiber-reinforced polymer” aka plastic. Mixed with the black case coloration of the overview mannequin I’ve (it additionally is available in a white and light-weight blue case), the Forerunner 265 isn’t notably eye-catching.

However what it lacks in astonishing attractiveness, the Forerunner 265 simply makes up for with the sheer utility of its design. The plastic case might not be dazzling to take a look at, nevertheless it’s extraordinarilysnug. The 46mm case dimension is rather a lot greater than the 41mm Apple Watch Sequence 7 I normally put on, and it’s fairly a bit heavier at 47 grams. However for no matter purpose, I by no means actually observed the bigger dimension after the primary few hours with the Forerunner 265.

A part of that is because of the included silicon watch band, which has an unbelievable variety of holes for the clasp (21, to be precise), so you may get an ideal match. Much like the watch itself, the included band gained’t win any magnificence awards, nevertheless it’s as snug and useful as you might ask for. And should you ever wish to change up the look, the band simply detaches with a quick-release pin and will be changed with any 22mm watch band of your selecting.

The Forerunner 265 is as snug and useful as you might ask for.

Across the case are 5 bodily buttons three on the left body and two on the correct. You employ these to navigate the Forerunner 265’s interface, and utilizing the Garmin Join app, you’ll be able to reassign them to behave as shortcuts (like holding a button all the way down to launch Garmin Pay, or one other to open the flashlight app). All the buttons really feel nice to press, providing good tactility, and so they’re not too tough to push down, both.

Lastly, as you’d count on for a working smartwatch, the Garmin Forerunner 265 is backed by a 5 ATM water-resistance ranking, defending it from as much as 50 meters of water submersion.

Garmin Forerunner 265: AMOLED show

Weather app on the Garmin Forerunner 265.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

For this reason the Forerunner 265 exists within the first place. Whereas lots of its design parts and well being options had been taken proper from the Forerunner 255 that got here earlier than it, the largest improve for the Forerunner 265 is that it ditches the 255’s growing old MIP (memory-in-pixel) show for a way more trendy AMOLED one. The place the MIP display screen on the Forerunner 255 and Forerunner 955 usually made colours look boring and lifeless, the AMOLED panel on the 265 has the identical deep blacks and vibrant colours you see on smartphones just like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely.

I’ve checked out alotof smartwatch shows through the years, and the AMOLED one on the Forerunner 265 seems nearly as good as I might ask for. Blacks are pitch black, colours pop with pretty vibrancy, and 416 x 416 decision means the whole lot is a lot sharp and simple to learn.

One of many greatest benefits of MIP shows on older Garmin watches is that they’re extraordinarily straightforward to learn open air in vivid daylight. The change to AMOLED naturally raises some issues about out of doors visibility, however I’m comfortable to report I’ve had zero points in that division. On the few sunny days we’ve had in Michigan all through the primary weeks of March, not as soon as have I had an issue seeing/studying the Forerunner 265’s display screen.

Glances on the Garmin Forerunner 265.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

There’s one different improve that comes with the change to AMOLED, and that’s a touchscreen. The earlier Forerunner 255 didnothave contact help and relied completely on its 5 buttons to navigate the interface. On the Forerunner 265, you should utilize the touchscreen completely, stick with the buttons, or use a mix of each.

Having a touchscreen on the Forerunner 265 does a few crucial issues. Not solely is it simpler to enter your PIN for Garmin Pay or scroll by means of settings menus, nevertheless it additionally makes the Forerunner 265 way more approachable for somebody (like myself) coming from an Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, Fitbit, and so forth. It makes the Forerunner 265 really feel extra like a health-focused smartwatch relatively than a working watch.

It could look like we’re simply mincing phrases right here, however I actually assume the touchscreen is vital to getting extra informal customers on the Garmin platform. It’s acquainted, snug, and appears rattling good.

Garmin Forerunner 265: working expertise

Someone wearing the Garmin Forerunner 265 on their wrist.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

Whereas I’d be the final individual to name myself a “skilled” or “semi-pro” runner, I do take pleasure in working as an everyday a part of my exercise regime. Though the climate in Southwest Michigan was too nasty throughout my overview interval to check the Forerunner 265 for out of doors runs, I did use it to trace loads of indoor runs on the treadmill and the expertise it delivers there may be unbelievable.

Beginning a run is so simple as urgent the devoted “RUN” button on the aspect of the 265 and deciding on the kind of run you wish to do. If you do that, Garmin provides you a steered run for every day, personalised only for you. In case you’re able to push your self, the Forerunner 265 could recommend an hourlong run at your base tempo. It could additionally suggest a run to enhance your VO2 max, dash pace, or a restoration run if it’s time to let your physique relaxation.

You don’thaveto observe these suggestions should you don’t wish to, however in my use, I discovered that they helped me shake up my routine and try several types of runs one thing I incessantly wrestle with. Garmin goes one other step, too, explaining whyit’s recommending a selected run and detailing the estimated profit it’ll have in your physique.

Whether or not you employ a really helpful run or determine to go at your personal tempo, the expertise of working with the Forerunner 265 is unbelievable. The principle information display screen reveals your time, distance, tempo, coronary heart price, and which coronary heart price zone you’re presently in. One other display screen reveals your lap time/lap distance/lap tempo, whereas but another choice helps you to see the time and date.

All of this info is introduced with large, easy-to-read textual content, so glancing at your wrist to see the place you’re at is not any bother in any respect. The Forerunner 265 additionally vibrates and audibly beeps after every mile, and it offers comparable steering to maintain you at a sure tempo should you’re following a guided run. And should you’re fearful concerning the touchscreen being a nuisance whereas working, Garmin helps you to disable it solely from the Garmin Join app (extra on that quickly).

Mix all of that with an in depth post-run breakdown when you’re completed, and it’s tough to search out something to complain when about utilizing the Forerunner 265 as a working watch. It’s snug, feature-rich, and actually does really feel like an elevated expertise in comparison with the Apple Watch Sequence 7 I’ve been working with for the previous year-and-a-half.

Garmin Forerunner 265: well being and health options

Someone wearing the Garmin Forerunner 265 on their wrist.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

As I teased at first of this overview, it isn’t simply working the place the Forerunner 265 shines. The truth is, I’d argue that the remainder of its well being/health expertise is each bit nearly as good and the rationale why I’ve develop into enthralled with the watch.

The Garmin Forerunner 265 is able to monitoring the entire traditional well being metrics you’d count on from a smartwatch in 2023. This implies your steps, present coronary heart price, coronary heart price variability (HRV), sleep, and VO2 max and SpO2 ranges. Loads of smartwatches accumulate this very same information, nevertheless it’s what Garmin truly doeswith it that makes such a big effect.

The primary of those is your Coaching Readiness rating. After you put on the Forerunner 265 for 3 consecutive days, you get a Coaching Readiness rating that reveals how suit your physique is to coach that day. The rating relies in your sleep, restoration time from current exercises, HRV standing, acute load (your post-exercise oxygen consumption), and stress. In case you’re getting good sleep and haven’t had a super-intense exercise recently, your Coaching Readiness rating goes up, and a better quantity signifies your physique is prepared for extra intense exercise. In case you’ve been pushing your self and/or not getting enough sleep, the rating goes down indicating it’s best to take a breather.

You may also preserve tabs in your stress all through the day, with Garmin measuring your day in high-stress, medium-stress, low-stress, or resting intervals. Together with seeing how a lot time you spend in every stage, you additionally see a rating right here for a way a lot stress Garmin detects.

Final however not least, you’ll additionally see a Physique Battery rating whereas sporting the Forerunner 265. Because the identify suggests, it’s an indicator of your physique’s “battery” and the way a lot vitality you will have for a given day. Sleep/restful intervals enhance your Physique Battery, whereas understanding/stress lower it.

Studying by means of all of that, it might sound like nothing greater than numerous numbers to take a look at and preserve monitor of. However in my expertise sporting the Forerunner 265, I’ve discovered all of those statistics genuinely useful in figuring out how I ought to strategy a given day.

Garmin’s strategy has been extra motivating and impactful than every other smartwatch/health tracker I’ve tried.

Is my Coaching Readiness rating excessive? I ought to push myself and go for an extended run. Physique Battery look a bit low? I’ll make it some extent to get to mattress earlier and get a better sleep rating. And extra than simply shoving numbers at your face, Garmin truly explains the reasoning behind the information it provides you. One night, my Physique Battery was decrease than traditional, and Garmin really helpful I keep away from alcohol/intense exercise earlier than mattress as these would affect my sleep that night time. After having a couple of drinks with some pals and waking up the subsequent morning, certain sufficient, I hadn’t gotten high quality sleep, and I didn’t really feel notably well-rested.

In comparison with filling the Exercise Rings on an Apple Watch or making an attempt to hit 10,000 steps with a Fitbit tracker, Garmin’s strategy right here has been extra motivating and impactful than every other smartwatch/health tracker I’ve tried. I’m pushing myself greater than ever, I’m extra conscious of how my physique feels a couple of exercise, and I’m (slowly) making an attempt to get to mattress sooner than 11:30 p.m. every night time. Your mileage will range with how a lot youget out of Garmin’s well being system, however should you give it a good shot, I believe you’ll be actually impressed.

Garmin Forerunner 265: software program and sensible options

Someone holding the Garmin Forerunner 265.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

Navigating the Garmin Forerunner 265 can take some getting used to, however when you’re accustomed to the place the whole lot is, it’s a stunning expertise.

The general interface boils all the way down to swipes and button presses. From the watch face, swiping up or down on the display screen reveals your Glances aka widgets. There are 29 Glances you’ll be able to select from, together with issues like your coronary heart price, steps, sleep historical past, Physique Battery, climate, calendar, notifications, and extra. You possibly can add, take away, and reorder the place of Glances nonetheless you see match. Swiping up reveals the top-most Look, whereas swiping from the highest of the watch faces reveals the bottom-most one.

I truly actually like this format. Glances provide good, fast info on their very own, and if you’d like additional particulars, you’ll be able to faucet on them to see extra. For instance, the sleep Look initially simply reveals how lengthy you slept and your Sleep Rating, however should you faucet on it, you’ll be able to see an in depth graph of your sleep, a breakdown of your sleep phases, and an outline of what your sleep was like on a selected night time.

Holding theUpbutton reveals shortcuts for altering your watch face, your alarms/timers/stopwatch, and a historical past of your exercise. Holding theGentlebutton reveals an app shortcut web page, which will also be totally personalized. And talking of customization, you’ll be able to create your personal shortcuts for holding theBegin, Again,and Downbuttons. And if that’s not sufficient, you’ll be able to create extra shortcuts by holding a number of buttons without delay. On my Forerunner 265, I’ve personalized my 265 to open the flashlight app once I maintain theBegin/Runbutton and open Garmin Pay once I maintain the Downbutton.

Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

Surprisingly, the interface feels quick and dependable with no noticeable slowdown. Whether or not you’re scrolling by means of Glances or fiddling together with your button shortcuts, all of it’s constantly responsive.

What’s not nice about this software program? The Garmin Forerunner 265 is a working watch relatively than a smartwatch, and that’s seen with its sensible options. You possibly can obtain notifications out of your telephone, and whereas paired with my iPhone 14 Professional, they arrive in immediately with no delay. However there’s nothing you’ll be able todowith these notifications. You possibly can’t reply telephone calls, reply to textual content messages, archive emails, or something like that. You possibly can see notifications, clear them, and that’s it.

The Forerunner 265 additionally helps music storage with Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music. There’s no help for Apple Music, YouTube Music, or Tidal, and it is advisable join the Forerunner 265 to your laptop to switch songs to it.

This isn’t a watch you purchase if you’d like sturdy app help. You canobtain third-party apps, and a few large names like AccuWeather and Starbucks are right here. However past that and a few fitness-related apps from third-party builders and Garmin itself, that’s about all you’ll discover.

Garmin Forerunner 265: Garmin Join app

Garmin Forerunner 265 next to an iPhone running the Garmin Connect app.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

The Garmin Forerunner 265 collects alotof knowledge, and most of it’s simply viewable instantly on the watch itself. However what if you’d like a bigger display screen to take a look at the whole lot? That’s the place the Garmin Join app comes into play.

The companion app for the Forerunner 265 it saves your entire exercise. From current exercises and your coronary heart price to emphasize ranges and extra, you’ll be able to view all of it on the My Day web page, or return and take a look at earlier days’ well being information on the Calendar web page. However that’s simply the tip of the iceberg of Garmin Join.

Faucet the Challenges tab, and you may be a part of ongoing challenges from Garmin, see the way you examine to your folks/household on a leaderboard, and even create customized challenges together with your Garmin pals. You possibly can search for pals below the Connections menu on the Extra web page, and you may try the Teams possibility to search out/be a part of native Garmin teams in your space.

This Extra web page can also be the place you’ll be able to view further well being stats, arrange coaching plans, observe guided exercises, preserve monitor of the health gear you’re presently utilizing, and arrange security options so family members know the place you’re at throughout a run. And that’s nonetheless not relating the whole lot.

If all of it sounds a bit overwhelming, that’s as a result of it’s at first. There’s a lot info and settings to play with within the Garmin Join app, and in comparison with one thing like Apple’s Health app for the Apple Watch, it’s a bit daunting! However as soon as you are taking a while to study the place the whole lot is, you notice that there’ssoa lot worth mendacity inside it. It’s not the best companion app for a smartwatch/health tracker, nevertheless it’s one of the vital sturdy and informative ones I’ve ever used.

Garmin Forerunner 265: battery life

Charging cable plugged into the Garmin Forerunner 265.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

Garmin has lengthy excelled at delivering nice battery life with its smartwatches, and the Forerunner 265 is not any exception to that rule. Not like the Apple Watch, which has you measuring battery life when it comes to hours, a Garmin watch’s battery life is rated indays.

Carrying the Forerunner 265 with the always-on show enabled, the watch lasts me about 4 days earlier than I would like to start out searching for the charger. If I flip the always-on show off, I’m taking a look at a straightforward seven days of battery life on a single cost. That’s with me sporting the Forerunner 265 to mattress each night time for sleep monitoring, receiving a gentle stream of notifications all through the day, and often utilizing it for indoor working and strength-training exercises.

When it is advisable cost the Forerunner 265, you accomplish that with the included charging cable within the field. Garmin makes use of a proprietary charger, which is a four-pin connector that snaps into the underside of the watch. The alternative finish of the cable is a USB-C port and will be plugged into any USB-C outlet/charging adapter. If you plug it in, count on the Forerunner 265’s battery to go from about 10% to100% in a little bit over an hour.

Garmin’s charger is dependable and simple to make use of, although I might have beloved to see Qi wi-fi charging help as effectively similar to Garmin added to its Vivomove Pattern watch. The proprietary connector means it is advisable preserve monitor of one other cable at residence or while you’re touring, and whereas that’s not the tip of the world, it’s a small annoyance.

Garmin Forerunner 265: value and availability

Someone wearing the Garmin Forerunner 265 on their wrist.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

The Garmin Forerunner 265 is offered for buy proper now direct from Garmin’s web site or at retailers like Walmart, REI, Rogue Health, and others. The Forerunner 265 is available in three colours (a white case with a white/blue band, a black case with a black/grey band, and a teal case with a teal/black band) and prices $450.

Alternatively, you may get the smaller Forerunner 265S. It is available in three completely different colours (a black case with a black/yellow band, a white case with a white/teal band, and a pink case with a pink/white band), however prices the identical at $450.

There’s one other large issue to contemplate, and that’s whether or not or not it is advisable pay a subscription to unlock the entire Forerunner 265’s options. In a world the place the Google Pixel Watch, Oura Ring, Fitbit Sense 2, and Whoop 4.0 all require a month-to-month price to make use of all of their well being options, the Forerunner 265 is a superb exception to that development.

As soon as you purchase the Forerunner 265 for its marketed retail value, that’s the place your transaction begins and ends. All the health-tracking options, really helpful working plans, Garmin Join syncing, and so forth. are all 100% free to make use of no subscription mandatory.

Garmin Forerunner 265: verdict

Garmin Forerunner 265 with its display on.
Joe Maring/Digital Tendencies

Going into the Garmin Forerunner 265, I actually wasn’t certain what to anticipate. I’ve been a die-hard Apple Watch person for years, and the thought of leaving my Apple Look ahead to a devoted working look ahead to a few weeks didn’t sound very interesting.

However now that my Forerunner 265 overview is completed I don’t plan on taking it off anytime quickly. For the foreseeable future, that is my new go-to wearable.

I don’t assume the Forerunner 265 is an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch killer. It’s not notably flashy, and it’s significantly missing with regards to typical “smartwatch” options. However as a health wearable? Properly, the Garmin Forerunner 265 could also be one of many best possible you should buy in 2023. It’s snug, lasts for days on a single cost, provides a lovely show, has an unbelievable well being/exercise monitoring platform, and it delivers all of that with out tying you down with a month-to-month subscription.

For the foreseeable future, that is my new, go-to wearable.

If you would like asmartwatch, you’re nonetheless higher off with the Apple Watch Sequence 8 or Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. However if you’d like a watch with unbeatable well being options and some primary sensible capabilities, the Forerunner 265 is the brand new watch to beat.

Editors’ Suggestions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *