If you want a complete technical review of the Garmin 935 you should visit DCRainmaker. He’s really the review guy. This is more just my thoughts as a regular user. I started this review a while back but now that I’m tapering for my race I have some more time to really put down my thoughts.
Am I really a triathlon technology reviewer?
I am rarely a technology early bird. I was an early apple and adobe client and I developed the habit of avoiding the first releases of anything because they were so buggy. It’s no longer necessary to do this but with Apple products I wait until I am literally forced to upgrade. Still, I needed a new watch and the way circumstances worked out meant that I may have bought one of the first 935s in Miami. I know this because I had recently been with the local Garmin reps and I had mentioned that I wanted one. As president of my tri club when the order came into TriVillage the owner called and said – did you really want one because the first ones are here. And I said yes so I bought it. I upgraded from the 910 which means that a lot of features that aren’t actually super new in the 935 are new to me.
In case it matters I use an apple iPhone. This watch is like the best buddy of my phone. It pairs with Garmin Connect for almost everything. If you have another type of phone your experience might vary.
First thoughts on the Garmin 935
I turned it on and drove home and had to stop on the way to figure out how to turn off the notifications from my phone. I literally did not even make it 5 minutes with this. I cannot for the life of me figure out why they think this is a good feature. But somebody out there must love it. I however – hate it and turned it off immediately. I do not want my emails or text messages on my watch. Probably everybody else does want that constant connectivity but I don’t. I literally turned this off within 10 minutes.
Why did I upgrade to the Garmin 935?
The driving force for me upgrading to the 935 was three reasons. First, I hate chest heart rate straps. Second my watch was old and not staying charged as long as I like. Third all my friends had Garmin Connect on their phones and it wasn’t working for me.
Thoughts about the Garmin 935 now that I’ve used it for a while.
I find the wrist based heart rate to be more of an estimate than anything else. I am not totally relying on it and sometimes I can tell it is really off. Then again sometimes it’s pretty close. To be honest that’s not totally different from any heart rate monitors but it is very frustrating. I have gone back to using the chest strap when I really want to be sure of the data.
Round versus Square
The 935 has a round face. The 910 had a square face. I’m wearing the 935 as a daily watch and I like the round face for that. But for sport wear I find the face too small and I don’t love it. This is really more of a cycling comment than anything else. I was used to having 4 data fields on the bike. I will most likely buy a separate bike computer and that will be fine but this watch is really priced to be an all-in-one and I don’t think it works well enough for that.
The buttons on the side are much improved from my 910. I find the watch screens easier to navigate than in prior versions and I’m very happy with that. I did have to turn on a lock function because I kept bumping the upper right button to start a workout. It takes two clicks to actually start so I only did that accidentally once but it was annoying. I have to hold the button now to unlock it which is a little annoying but worth it. Probably this will be improved on future versions is my guess.
I don’t really care about things like custom faces for the watch but it’s certainly fun.
This watch feels like more of a regular watch than a sport watch. I guess since I’m a regular person more hours of the day than a sport person that’s a good move but I do miss a few of the more sport watch things.
This watch connects much faster to the satellites and I love that. I also really love the way it uploads the data to my phone without a fob or anything. I really, really love that. Actually that is probably my favorite upgrade and makes me happy every day.
Charging and Battery life
The new charging cable is really good. a big improvement over the 910. It does not come with a little block to attach to the charging cable and in my house we lose those blocks so that was a hassle for me. But I guess if you don’t have a house of pre-teens that lose crap constantly it’s probably not a big deal. I do think a $500 product should come with everything you need.
The battery life for daily use is awesome. I can go over a week without charging and that includes 90 minutes or more a day of use. I don’t use my watch for pool swims so you won’t see anything about that in this review. I will update this in a few weeks after I attempt to use the 935 for 2/3 of my Ironman.
Light – I have never in my life and all my Garmin watches been able to memorize the workings on the lights on my watches. But this one is great. It’s the upper left button and I love it.
Swimming with the Garmin 935
I do not wear a watch for pool swimming. It’s just not who I am. But I do wear this watch for open water swimming and it’s fantastic. It defaults to beeping every 500 yards which was confusing to me at first. I thought it would default to a half mile and I momentarily thought I was a much more awesome swimmer than I actually am. But now that I figured it out I’m happy. The only thing I will say is that clearly the watch has a very generous smoothing algorithm. On my recent long swim I was stopped for huge amounts of time and it didn’t really notice. Also my swim lines look super precise and I am a crappy sighter and can’t swim straight to save my life so I don’t believe that for a second.
Cycling Quick Release – Heart rate – run dynamics
I bought this before the quick release was out and I have actually decided not to buy the quick release because I’m probably going to just buy a small cycling computer. The reason is mostly to do with me. I frequently forget to take my watch face off the bike for the run. But just so you know even if you have previous quick release equipment you have to I think buy new stuff for this watch because of the wrist heart rate function. Also I think you have to buy the new heart rate strap which I haven’t done yet either. If you buy that – this is where your run dynamics come from.
Support for the Garmin 935
Like all new products it doesn’t really come with a manual. But everything is online. Since I was a newish adopter I actually had to look up several things for the earlier release of the 735 but once I figured that out I was fine. Really once I learned that the up button was how to get to the settings I was pretty much okay on my own. I find the menus to be exactly enough like the previous versions that I was okay with it.
I have reorganized my menus and set my nutrition alerts with no issues. I do occasionally set a lap when I don’t mean to but that was on a 20 mile run. Brain power was not good at that point. So it could be me not the watch. Probably.
A note on support. Garmin is famous for having pretty good phone support. However, I do continue to buy my watches from local retailers and here is the reason in the event that this saves you some frustration. In the past I have needed to return watches to Garmin for replacement. Because I bought from a local retailer I was able to give them back the watch and pick up a replacement the same day and the store handled the return. That’s worth a lot to me to tell you the truth. I don’t know that all retailers do that but it has worked for me in the past.
Am I happy with my Garmin 935 purchase?
Yes, I am. I got a great price because I’m a member of a triathlon club. I just purchased the watch not a bundle so it was a little less. I also sold my 910 online which reduced the pinch a little bit. The watch is good. I only use a fraction of what it does and since I have decided that I’m going to buy a cycling computer I probably could have purchased a lower end running watch to do what I needed to do. But I am happy. Thank you Garmin.
Those are my basic thoughts. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about the watch that I might have missed. Just let me know by sending me an email or writing a comment down below. Thanks for stopping by and reading (for realz … I’m happy you are here).
So, what watch do you use and are you happy with it?
Disclosure notice: this is actually probably not necessary because I bought this watch and paid full price minus my tri club discount. All opinions are my own all the links in this post are regular links not affiliate links. There are some affiliate links in other spots on the site. All opinions especially those you disagree with are my own and represent only me. 🙂