Smart Watches

Garmin Forerunner 265S review: the Goldilocks of running watches

The Garmin Forerunner 265S is a running watch that aims to strike the perfect balance between functionality, design, and performance. With a focus on catering to the needs of intermediate-level runners, the Forerunner 265S offers a range of features and metrics to enhance training and provide valuable insights.

Design and Comfort

The Garmin Forerunner 265S features a sleek and lightweight design that is comfortable to wear during runs and everyday activities. With a weight of just 39g for the smaller 42mm version, it feels almost unnoticeable on the wrist. The slim profile and thoughtful design prevent it from catching on clothing or hindering movement, making it ideal for active individuals.

The watch offers a variety of interchangeable straps, allowing users to customize the look and feel to suit their personal style. The straps are flexible and comfortable, although individuals with sensitive skin may experience minor irritation with prolonged use. Nonetheless, the option to switch to a different strap material provides a workaround for those with skin sensitivities.

Display and User Interface

One of the standout features of the Garmin Forerunner 265S is its OLED display. The OLED technology delivers vibrant colors and sharp contrast, making information easily readable even in various lighting conditions. The display is responsive and offers touch capability, enabling intuitive navigation through menus and settings.

The user interface is well-designed and user-friendly, with a combination of physical buttons and touchscreen controls. While physical buttons are essential during workouts for quick and easy access to functions, the touchscreen enhances the overall user experience during day-to-day use. Garmin has struck the perfect balance between the two, providing a seamless interaction between the user and the watch.

Battery Life and Efficiency

Battery life is a crucial aspect for any running watch, and the Garmin Forerunner 265S delivers impressive performance in this area. With the AOD (always-on display) feature enabled, the watch manages to last up to six and a half days on a single charge. This is a significant improvement over Garmin’s estimated five-day battery life.

Without AOD, the Forerunner 265S can last up to 15 days, making it an excellent option for those who prioritize extended battery life. During real-world testing, the watch exhibited exceptional longevity, with minimal battery drain even after a week of use. This exceptional battery performance is especially notable considering the watch’s lightweight and slim design.

Training Features and Metrics

Garmin is renowned for its comprehensive range of training features and metrics, and the Forerunner 265S continues this tradition. Intermediate-level runners will find a wealth of tools and insights to enhance their training and track their progress.

The watch provides a multitude of running metrics, including vertical oscillation, stride length, running power, and cadence. These metrics allow users to fine-tune their running form and improve their performance. Additionally, features like PacePro and Race Predictor assist in pacing strategies and goal-setting, helping runners achieve their targets during races and training sessions.

The Garmin Forerunner 265S supports Garmin Coach training plans, offering guidance and structure for runners of different skill levels. The Morning Report feature provides a summary of sleep, recovery, schedule, weather, and suggested daily workouts, offering a holistic view of one’s fitness journey.

Software and Connectivity

The Garmin Connect app serves as the central hub for syncing and analyzing data from the Forerunner 265S. The app is feature-rich and allows users to delve into their training statistics, set goals, and track their progress over time. It provides valuable insights into performance, recovery, and overall fitness level.

Connectivity options include push notifications, timers, alarms, and safety features like Incident Detection and LiveTrack. While the Forerunner 265S doesn’t match the advanced smart features of other flagship smartwatches, it offers enough functionality to meet the needs of most users. Furthermore, Garmin’s platform-agnostic approach ensures compatibility with both Android and iOS devices, eliminating the need for a specific smartphone brand.

Value and Price

Priced at $449.99, the Garmin Forerunner 265S may appear expensive compared to other smartwatches on the market. However, when considering the features, durability, and battery life it offers, the price becomes more justifiable. Garmin’s commitment to not gate features behind subscriptions is commendable, as users have access to the full suite of training and coaching capabilities without additional costs.

For runners seeking a reliable and feature-rich companion, the Garmin Forerunner 265S provides excellent value for the price. While it may not have the advanced features and third-party app compatibility of flagship smartwatches, its focus on running-specific metrics and durability makes it an appealing choice for dedicated runners.

It strikes the perfect balance between functionality, design, and performance, offering a comprehensive range of features tailored to the needs of intermediate-level runners. With its OLED display, lightweight design, extensive training metrics, and exceptional battery life, it provides a compelling option for individuals seeking a reliable and feature-rich running watch.

While it may not compete directly with flagship smartwatches in terms of advanced smart features and third-party app compatibility, its value lies in its focus on running-specific metrics, durability, and long-lasting battery performance. For runners who prioritize these aspects and seek a dedicated running companion, the Garmin Forerunner 265S emerges as a top contender in the market.

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