Garmin Forerunner 735xtReview Facts
For very active people who juggle multiple sports seriously, the Garmin Forerunner 735 XT is a pretty solid fit. Manufactured by Garmin, a well known name in the athletic watch world, the 735 XT offers a very wide range of features, primarily geared towards triathlon training. Additionally, it was designed to be one of their more lightweight multisport watches at the time. Though released right around a year ago, in 2016, the 735 XT still holds up quite well, and is still available from various retailers, and Garmin itself.
Though the Forerunner 735 XT is optimized mainly for running, biking, and swimming, it definitely lives up to its “multisport” description. Apart from the triathlon sports, the watch also has cross country skiing, hiking, rowing, strength training, paddleboarding, and general cardio modes, straight out of the box. This is definitely a huge range of sports. It should be noted that cross country skiing is supported, though standard sloped skiing and snowboarding are not, because of the way the watch handles elevation. Again, the watch is mostly focused to biking, running, and swimming, and the data and features offered generally gravitate towards those, but the multitude of other activities is definitely a nice feature to have.
The Forerunner 735 XT offers most standard features found on running and sport watches. It tracks distance, pace, and lap times on all supported activities. This can all be seen on the watch screen which is active while running. These data fields can also be changed in the settings, so you can view what you wish while performing your activity. This can also be viewed afterwards, as it is stored in the watch after each activity, and on any accounts that you have synced to the watch.
The Forerunner 735 XT offers an astounding amount of advanced features. This review won’t cover all of them, but the most important ones will be described here.
The watch features an optical heart rate sensor, which is basically a heart rate sensor that requires no additional strap or equipment. This data is visible during activities, and also in various graph forms afterward on Garmin Connect. It is worth noting that optical heart sensors are generally less accurate than straps, but it definitely still is pretty solid.
The watch’s special multisport mode is another useful feature. When in multisport mode, the watch will enter the next sport when you push the lap button, though you can also configure it to enter transition periods when the lap button is pushed. This is clearly very useful when racing or training for triathlons
The 735 XT additionally offers integration with a huge range of running services and products. Strava
, GarminConnect, ANT+, are some services that are supported. Phone syncing, and phone notification display is also possible. Audio cues for specific training intervals can also be integrated through phone connectivity.
As mentioned above, the watch also measures and records heart rate during sleep. It also tracks time spent asleep. This is a pretty useful feature, and the data is once again viewable in GarminConnect.
Accuracy tends to be pretty good in most of the sensors of the Forerunner 735 XT. The GPS is pretty precise, and works well even in areas with tall buildings and trees, giving accurate routes, and overall distance traveled. This holds true while biking, running, or swimming. The heart rate sensor
is pretty solid as well, though again, optical heart rate sensors are generally less accurate than straps, and this holds true here as well. The main source of accuracy complaints in the Forerunner 735 XT is the altitude sensor. Many have said that the altitude sensor can be buggy or inaccurate at times.
The Forerunner 735 XT offers standard connectivity that most athletic watches have. Primarily, it can connect to a smartphone or other device via bluetooth and sync data across apps that way. Syncing is pretty painless and quick, and the data does not take very long to transfer either.
Additionally however, the 735 XT can be synced via its charging strap, which is another pretty standard feature of Garmin watches in particular. The 735 XT does not have wifi connectivity however, which some of Garmin’s watches do have.
The Forerunner 735 XT has a huge range of apps
that it can connect to. Garmin Connect is the standard and natively supported app, which can be used to store and view a wide range of data from activities, and also upload and plan routes and workouts. This is done via bluetooth, or the charging cable. Apart from Garmin Connect, the watch also can sync across other popular platforms like MapMyFitness and Strava, so long as you have configured your apps to do so properly. The general purpose of these apps is to view data about your activities and plan training.
The band of this watch is made of silicone, which is pretty light and comfortable. Overall, the band is also on the lighter and smaller end of Garmin bands, which definitely adds to comfort. This is especially true when considering the overall weight of the watch, which is definitely on the lighter end of the spectrum. Despite being lightweight, the face of the watch still is fairly large and bulky, which may be an issue for some with smaller or thinner wrists. During activities, the 735 XT is pretty comfortable thanks to its light weight and its silicone band. The weight prevents it from being a hindrance on longer runs, and the band is light and doesn’t feel clampy or sweaty
When it comes to multisport watches and running watches, the Forerunner 735 XT does a pretty good job when it comes to style. The has a very clean minimalistic design, which is complemented well by the color choices available, which are fairly discreet and subdued. The overall look is definitely very simple, but in a polished way. For a running or sport watch, it is definitely stylish. For everyday use however, it might still be a bit off putting for some, mostly due to the size of the face, which is still much larger than any regular watches on the market.
In terms of durability, the Garmin Forerunner 735 XT is pretty solid. The face is pretty resistant to abrasions or scratches, and can definitely handle most average drops of bumps that can occur. Of course, excessive force or pressure, like dropping the watch from a multistory building or something similar, will cause issues, but that is to be expected of pretty much any watch. The band is also pretty durable, and there have not been many complaints about the band wearing out or tearing early. All the components of the watch should definitely not see much additional wear from water
too, considering it is literally designed to be used within bodies of water. Overall, the durability of the 735 XT is pretty good.
The face of the 735 XT, as mentioned above, is fairly large. Despite being fairly large, it does manage to maintain a fairly light weight thanks to its material. That said, for those with smaller or skinnier wrists, the large face might be a bit of an issue. In general, most should not have issues, but it definitely is something to consider for those that prefer smaller faces in general.
On the positive side, the display on the face is quite clear and readable, thanks to its size. It also features a backlight, a very common, but useful nonetheless, feature of watches. The data screens displayed on the face are also customizable, so that whatever fields you prefer can be viewed during activities. Finally, the main “watch” lockscreen is clean and easy to read, for quick time telling.
The material of the Forerunner 735 XT’s band is silicone, and it has generally positive reviews overall. Notable, the band is lightweight, and also comfortable, two critical features for a band. The band is good at dealing with sweat buildup thanks to the numerous holes within it. It also offers pretty good fit thanks to the numerous sizing holes. These two factors add to the comfort of the band a great deal. From a style standpoint, the colors offered for the watch band are pretty well designed and clean. The band is replaceable as well, if there is a particular band that is preferred.
The Garmin Forerunner 735 XT is only offered in one size, which is about 41g and 31 mm in diameter for the face. The band is replaceable to an extent, so those who prefer slimmer bands or larger ones can still use the watch. For those with exceptionally small wrists, this watch might be a bit hard to use though, mostly due to the size of the face.
Ease of Use
Though on the surface it appears quite complicated and intricate, using the Forerunner 735 XT is pretty straightforward and not much is difficult. For those who plan on only using the surface level features, the watch functions like many others for running, biking, swimming, and most other activities. The watch has a mode to record the information during activities, a lap function, and a pause and finish function, all of which are fairly simple to use. The quick start guides do a good job of covering this. Syncing the watch to Garmin Connect is also a fairly simple process. Delving into the more complex features of the watches is pretty standard as well actually and functions as it has on many previous models of athletic watches. For users who have experience doing things like uploading workouts and using them, or syncing multiple devices to the watch, it probably won’t be a challenge to do so on the 735 XT. For those who have not done this prior, there definitely will be a bit of a learning curve, but it probably won’t be steeper than it is for most watches, and there are a good number of helpful resources available. Overall, the 735 XT has fairly well designed and easy to use interfaces.
The 735 XT charges via a charging clip that comes with the watch, which can be plugged into a usb or wall outlet. The watch offers about 14 hours of GPS usage. This is fairly long, but for triathlons it will only be adequate for shorter to mid distance races. For everyday use mode, the watch lasts 5-6 days, with some GPS usage everyday. Overall, the battery life is fairly long, but might not be suitable for those seeking to do races and sessions longer than about 14 hours.
The Forerunner 735 XT retails at 499.99 from Garmin directly. This price tag is one of the higher ones around for an athletic watch, though this is reflective of the fact that it is a higher end model with a wide range of features. Additionally accessories like bands and straps will cost extra.
The Forerunner 735 XT is compatible with a pretty wide range of accessories. Several different straps are available for those who do not like the default one. Heart rate straps are compatible with the 735 XT and add a bit more accuracy to the heart rate data. The 735 XT is also compatible with most apps that sync with athletic watches, such as Strava, or Training Peaks.
Great multisport capability
Accurate GPS measurements
Ideal for triathletes
Great integration with wide range of apps
Overall the Forerunner 735 XT is a pretty solid multisport watch. It boasts a huge range of features and is compatible with many accessories and apps that are very useful for training. The price tag might be off putting for some, but for those seeking a very capable multisport watch, particularly for triathlons
, the 735 XT is a very good choice.