The Forerunner 165 collection is the price range coaching watch Garmin wanted | Digital Noch

The Forerunner 165 collection is the price range coaching watch Garmin wanted | Digital Noch

Should you’re coaching for a race, few multisport watch manufacturers do it like Garmin. However there are two issues I don’t like about ‘em. They’re dear, and the platform could be intimidating to newcomers. Have you ever seen its on-line retailer? For newbies, it’s robust to parse which of Garmin’s dozens of watches will get you the fundamentals with out destroying your pockets. Not anymore. After spending the previous couple of weeks with the $299.99 Forerunner 165 Music, I’m satisfied this — or the $249.99 normal model — is the Garmin watch that hits the candy spot.

300 smackeroos might not appear budget-friendly till you take a look at Garmin’s flagship watches. These can go for a whopping $700 to properly over $1,000. Even midrange watches, like the wonderful Forerunner 265 collection, retail for $450. I liked the Forerunner 265 collection. The one factor I didn’t like was the value. And that’s what makes this explicit watch so interesting. It’s a close to clone of the smaller 265S however for $150 to $200 much less. The one stuff you’re actually lacking are dual-frequency GPS and a few sports activities profiles. (And just like the Forerunner 265 collection it’s additionally lacking EKGs for atrial fibrillation.)

The Forerunner 265S (left) and the Forerunner 165 Music.
Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge and Picture by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Significantly. Facet by aspect, it’s exhausting to inform my 165 Music and 265S aside. The buttons on the 265S are a bit fancier. Fortunately, my models are totally different colours. I don’t assume I’d be capable to inform at a look in any other case.

As for efficiency, in 95 p.c of my every day use, I didn’t discover a distinction. Even with out dual-frequency GPS, you continue to get correct outside exercise monitoring. I examined the 165 Music concurrently with my telephone and the Apple Watch Extremely 2 — each of which have dual-frequency GPS. The maps and distance reported all corresponded inside a tenth of a mile. I would’ve seen extra of a distinction if I ran in a difficult setting, like Manhattan’s monetary district. That mentioned, I’ve performed a lot of operating with multisport watches with and with out dual-frequency GPS. Whereas dual-frequency GPS is extra correct, it principally advantages people who prepare in GPS useless zones. If that’s not you, you received’t probably discover.

For exercise profiles and well being monitoring metrics, you get the fundamentals for a coaching watch. And Garmin’s definition of fundamental is beneficiant. Are you going to get snowboarding or boxing? No. Extra area of interest actions like triathlon, {golfing}, mountain biking, or staff sports activities require a costlier Forerunner or Garmin. However for those who usually persist with the health club, biking, operating, swimming, climbing, tennis (or pickleball!), and the occasional yoga or pilates session? You’re good. Positive, spending extra will get you extra — however this can get most individuals every thing they want.

Coronary heart fee knowledge was additionally on par with my Extremely 2 and a Polar H10 chest strap. Since I’m not somebody with a excessive danger of AFib, I by no means even missed the EKG characteristic. (Even when I have been, EKG-powered AFib options aren’t a diagnostic device and nonetheless require you to see a physician.) Until it runs in your loved ones or you recognize you’re in danger, EKGs simply aren’t a characteristic everybody wants, particularly since excessive / low coronary heart fee notifications are nonetheless out there.


The Garmin Forerunner 165 Music will get you in-depth coaching metrics however leaves out a number of the extra superior options in alternate for a extra palatable value.

Apart from these few issues, you’re getting every thing that makes a Garmin a Garmin: lengthy battery life, sturdiness, and a ton of coaching knowledge. Even with a extra power-hungry OLED show, the 165 Music lasted me virtually per week on a single cost with the always-on show enabled and nearer to 10 days with it off. The 165 Music survived my cat chomping on it, and it’s greater than able to dealing with a dunk within the pool. You may nonetheless entry Garmin Coach, adaptive coaching plans, nap detection, sleep monitoring, and options like Physique Battery and Morning Report. And, blessedly, the redesigned Garmin Join app has decluttered plenty of that info, making it simpler to look at.

You continue to get all the fundamental metrics — and extra.

Usually, I’d launch right into a TED Discuss why Garmin’s cluttered product lineup wants fewer watches. That mentioned, the Forerunner 165 stands out as a result of the value, characteristic set, and product design are all so properly aligned. Garmin’s been lacking a great coaching watch within the sub-$300 class, the place most of its choices are just like the Venu Sq 2 or Vivomove Development — they’re both geared towards informal customers or folks in search of a extra fashionable vibe. This can be a bona fide coaching watch, each by way of design and performance.

The one dangerous factor concerning the 165 collection is it additional muddies the already-crowded Forerunner lineup. Lord is aware of Garmin has a Forerunner 55, 255, 265, 745, 955, 965, and a handful of others I’m lacking. There’s even different watch traces, just like the Intuition, which can be fairly just like the Forerunner. However amid all of the muddle, the Forerunner 165 and 165 Music are my picks for an entry-level Garmin for coaching. It’s nice for newbies to the platform — in addition to intermediate and superior athletes who aren’t inquisitive about bells and whistles.

Replace, April 1st, 2024, 9:12AM ET: Up to date comparisons to make clear that the 265 collection doesn’t have EKG.

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