The Forerunner 35 is Garmin's simple solution to gathering biometric training data during the simplest form of endurance training. It's built to be a stand-alone GPS running companion that handles everything from heart rate monitoring to route mapping with no phone or ancillary heart rate strap or footpod needed. Garmin assures us that you can "Just put on the Forerunner 35 and go"; however, since it's so unobtrusive and its benefits extend well beyond fitness training, chances are good you'll already have it on. Since that's the case, you can skip step one and proceed directly to "go."
The Forerunner 35 dials down the functionality of some of Garmin's more expensive models, resulting in a simplified interface for tracking running and walking without the clutter of multisport features. It's something of a bridge between the vívofit and Forerunner lines, combining biometric and lifestyle data with the added oomph of GPS tracking and route mapping. Compared to the vívoactive, it sacrifices multisport functionality while adding the above-mentioned heart rate monitor. If you're primarily a pedestrian athlete, then the vívoactive's golf, swim, and cycling modes won't be missed. The heart rate monitor will prove invaluable, though, both during training sessions and your everyday life.
While you're logging workouts, the Forerunner 35's GPS capabilities track distance and speed while mapping the route. While these features do extend to time in the saddle, the unit is designed primarily for running. The addition of Garmin Move IQ means the Forerunner 35 transitions seamlessly from running to walking while keeping a constant eye on steps taken. The optical, wrist-based heart rate monitor is a constant feature, though, and while it may not offer the precision of a trained medical professional constantly checking your pulse, it does keep you abreast of exertion levels including intensity minutes. This lets it manage interval training for you, letting you focus on exertion while it keeps time.
Recovery is just as important as exertion, so the Forerunner 35 doesn't shut off when you do. It monitors sleep patterns to help you identify possible weak links in your train/recover/repeat process. Regardless of your activity level at a given time, the Forerunner 35 also constantly keeps tabs on caloric consumption, and it uses vibration alerts to prompt you into action when a sedentary stretch of spreadsheet aerobics threatens your metabolism rate.
In this brave new world of constant connectivity, the Forerunner 35 maintains your digital presence by automatically uploading to Garmin Connect, an online data management tool and fitness community that lets you upload, store, parse, and compare data across Garmin's social training network or on your own social media feed. It also allows for live tracking, so you can broadcast your bouts of suffering to the adoring public or just shame your training partners for skipping their morning run.
The display face is just under a square-inch, and the unit's 5 ATM water-resistance rating means it can accompany you in the shower—though we wouldn't risk it for any activity involving diving or waterslides. The Forerunner 35 provides smartphone notifications and controls music, but we'd just as soon leave the phone at home and let the landscape of our route provide the background noise. In the event that you misplaced your phone while hustling out the door in the morning, the Forerunner 35 includes a find my phone feature to help smooth the transition from run to shower to getting on with the rest of your day.
- A running watch that eliminates training clutter
- Maps route and provides live tracking via GPS
- Charts speed, distance, and provides pacing
- Wrist-based heart rate monitor means no more chest strap
- Accelerometer eliminates need for footpod
- Inactivity and interval alerts for added motivation
- Lifestyle metrics include calories and sleep monitoring
- Shock- and water-resistant body can be worn in shower