the running watch that will blow your mind

6 min read

The leading brand in the smartwatch market has launched two new models, 965 and 265, with Amoled screens. We tested the 265S, the smallest and lightest version.

Unparalleled screen quality. The novelty, which is immediately obvious when you hook up the Forerunner 265 from Garmin, is the display which is impressive. Equipped with a high-quality AMOLED screen, this new connected sports watch is a game-changer in this area. Just put it next to other renowned GPS models, like Garmin’s Fenix ​​7, to see the difference. It is eye-catching in every sense of the word.

The first feeling is flattering: this watch is relatively discreet with a compact, light format and therefore, this screen of the most beautiful effect, whether indoors or under the rays of the sun. But the first question that arises is: who is this watch for? We would like to say that it has the capacity to replace almost all current Garmin models if we are aiming for road racing. And this, whatever its level. The downside is its price, which is significantly higher than the Forerunner 255, which precedes it.

A screen that makes all the difference

If you are looking for a particularly bright and readable screen in all conditions, this watch will seduce you to the highest degree. Garmin has coupled an Amoled touch screen with a vastly improved interface. This improvement in design is welcome as it was starting to look a bit dated. We must admit that once the Forerunner was tested and returned, we had a little trouble finding the interface of the Fenix ​​7 which, although still effective, took a little bit of old in comparison.

Even in direct sunlight, we never had any problems reading the data. And the screen is particularly bright in the dark. But this leap forward in terms of visual comfort has its downside: it consumes more energy and… has an impact on the overall cost of the watch.

Two sizes, one featherweight

Another notable point: the lightness of this connected watch. This new Forerunner model is available in two formats: 265 (46 mm) and 265S (42 mm). We tested the smaller version, suitable for small wrists. It is indeed particularly compact and therefore discreet, especially if you opt for the black version with black and gray strap. She knows how to be forgotten, even if you wear her continuously. This is indeed the best way to take advantage of all of your health and fitness tracking (sleep, daily activity, body battery status, etc.).

We will also note a real lightness for this powerful connected watch. The S version weighs 39 grams when the classic model displays 47 grams on the scale. It’s light enough to be forgotten on the wrist. To obtain this very compact and discreet format, Garmin however had to compromise on the size of the battery and therefore (a little) on the autonomy of the device. However, Garmin has sufficiently optimized this model to offer enough endurance to the watch.

Correct autonomy and adapted to the target audience

With a 265S at 100% battery, we found ourselves with an autonomy displayed at 70% after a trail ride of just over 4 hours. It is completely honourable. For the classic model, the autonomy will be around 15 hours by launching an activity on the watch with the default settings. Again, without making sparks, it’s very honest.

Over an average week, with an average of six sports activities (runs between 1 and 4 hours and muscle building) and recording daily cycling, we had to recharge the watch between 1 and 2 times. For a person who will do 2-3 running outings of 1 to 2 hours max during the week, we can estimate that only one weekly recharge will be necessary. Obviously, everything also depends on the connected notifications, the use of music streaming, etc. Some will regret that the screen turns off when you’re not looking at the screen to save a little energy, but that didn’t seem like a big handicap to us.

A concentrate of innovative functions

The Forerunner 265 is also a concentrate of technology. It embeds many new functions that are not necessarily found on other Garmin models cut for the road. Note in particular the measurement of the HRV (variability of the heart rate, which is an interesting measurement to know its state of form of the day) and the double frequency GNSS (global navigation satellite systems, the most advanced geolocation tool).

But the 265 also displays daily training status, training readiness score and body battery. After three weeks of testing, we found them relevant and useful to know, on the one hand, if his program and the exercises carried out are effective or not in reaching his objectives. And on the other hand, they indicate if all the parameters (sleep, recovery, etc.) are met for a high intensity session or if it is better to place a day of rest or a short and light jog.

A wrist trainer

Compatible with most training platforms on the market (Nolio, Stryd…), the Forerunner 265 very easily retrieves all the local training programs to be able to perform interval training with precision. Admittedly, for the most explosive exercises, it will always be advisable to equip yourself with a cardio belt, but for jogging and long outings, the cardio on the wrist is sufficiently precise. Similarly, the quality of Garmin’s geolocation is second to none: it’s the best on the market today.

As a bonus, Garmin offers via its application, which is very complete but could do with an in-depth revision, training programs according to its objectives in running (5K, 10K or half-marathon) or in cycling . It is also possible to start creating a series of muscle strengthening exercises. Finally, on a daily basis, depending on your current fitness level, the watch can suggest a different distance and intensity each day if you want to get active but don’t know if it’s better to go on a 1 hour leisurely outing or doing interval training after a short warm-up. In the absence of a specific objective in sight, it gives ideas.

Technical characteristics :

  • Weight : 39g (265S) and 47g (265)
  • Dimensions: 41.7 x 12.9mm (265S) and 46 x 12.9mm (265)
  • Screen : Touch AMOLED, 1.1″ and 1.3″, 360 x 360 px and 416 x 416 px
  • Autonomy: 20 and 24 hours in activity in GPS mode only / 13-15 days in connected watch mode
  • Sensors: heart rate monitor, altimeter, pulse oximeter, GPS, Glonass, Galileo, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer…
  • Uses: running, triathlon, trail… in total, more than 30 sports available
  • Music player : Yes
  • Garmin Pay: Yes
  • Cartography: no (but simple route tracking)

Where to buy it?

The Garmin Forerunner 265 is available at the price of 499 euros.

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