Understanding the World of Cheap Triathlon Watches

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review (2021)

Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch Review (2021)


First released in 2016, Garmin Forerunner 735XT is still a viable option for triathlon – swim, bike, run, walk, and more. It has a triathlon mode (triathlon activity profile), is cheaper than newer ones, still receives software updates, looks good (in my opinion at least), and does everything you need for triathlon training/racing. The only downside is the battery life when compared to newer watches, up to 14 hours in GPS mode. However, it charges real fast, like within an hour or 2.

In short, Garmin Forerunner 735XT is a GPS enabled multisport watch with wrist-based HR (Heart Rate) sensor and a plethora of other features, kind of. It can be connected to external sensors for more accurate readings. It does not have a touch screen.

What Can Garmin Forerunner 735XT Do? Which Activities Are Supported?

This watch can be a very good companion if you are a triathlon freak. But, in what ways and how will it help? Let us find out…


The excellent thing about Garmin Forerunner 735XT to help swimming enthusiasts is that it offers advanced dynamics including vertical ratio, stride length, ground contact time and much more. As against some models of Garmin smartwatches that does not support outdoor swimming metrics, this watch has been designed suitable for outdoor and pool swimming. Thanks to Garmin for such a creation for swimmers. The underwater heart rate for swimming is possible when used with HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri Monitor.


Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch offers advanced dynamics for cycling. Be it indoor or outdoor cycling, you can get the activity tracking possible with this smartwatch from Garmin. The good thing about this watch is that it is the only smartwatch that is compatible with Strava Live Segments. With this feature, the cycling segments will automatically sync with the 735XT for on-the-go feedback right during your cycling sessions. Even, with this watch on, you will get alerts for the starting and finishing segments. Further, you will get leaderboard rankings and even you can compare your current efforts with that of your peers. Most importantly, you can make every effort a personal challenge with the Strava Live Segments. As the watch is compatible with the line of Varia cycling awareness devices from Garmin inclusive of the in-sight display, Smart Bike Lights and Rearview Rader, you can get better data.


From the very name of this watch, you can get to know that Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport is a watch ideal for runners. When used with HRM-Run or HRM-Tri monitor, you can get advanced dynamics both for your indoor and outdoor running sessions. The watch comes with a built-in activity profile for both indoor and outdoor running monitoring. Even, you can get the activity data during trail running with this watch. You can train your heart out with this watch due to the Running Dynamics features like vertical ratio, stride length and ground contact time balance. With the compatibility of the watch to Strava Live Segments, you can get real-time updates.


Like you, Forerunner 735XT can go hard all day long. Yes, not just for your workout regimen, you might be a person interested in burning calories by walking in your office as against using the lift. Even, you can count these steps and how much calories you burn from these steps with the help of Garmin Forerunner 735XT. With its compatibility to many online services offered by Garmin, you need not worry if you walk indoors or outdoors.


How Accurate Is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch?

Similar to other smartwatches, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS multisport watch looks accurate in almost all its sensors. The watch has a precise GPS coverage, which helps the watch to provide accurate data on different activities.

The altitude sensor is not up-to-the-expectation. The watch has optical rate sensors for heart rate monitoring. Similar to other optical sensors, it lacks accuracy when compared to straps.


What Are the Features of the Garmin Forerunner 735XT?

Here is the list of some basic features you can expect from this Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch:

  • Timer: You can just select an activity profile and if you want it to be an outdoor workout session, just wait for the device to locate satellites. Then, start the timer and start your activity. Once you complete, choose to stop the timer. To restart the timer during the next workout session, you can just restart it.
  • Distance: With the activity profile, you will get details about the distance you have covered along with the time taken for covering the distance, your pace and the calories you have burnt.
  • In short, the watch can track distance, pace and time on all the supported triathlon activities.

In addition to these basic features, here is the list of few advanced features in this watch from Garmin:

  • Optical Heart Rate Sensor: The optical heart rate sensor in Garmin 735XT does not require any additional equipment or strap. You will be able to see the data on your heart rate during your activities and even you can view how your heart rate varies with intensity through the Garmin Connect Application.
  • Multisport mode: The Multi-sport mode as the name implies will let you participate in different activities with continuous monitoring one after the other. Once you set the watch to multisport mode, it will move into the next sport as soon as you push the lap button. You will also have the option to configure the watch to get into transition periods when you activate the lap button. This will particularly help when you race or when you train in triathlons.
  • Integration with running services: The watch support services like ANT+, GarminConnect and Strava. Further, phone notification display and syncing the watch with your smartphone can also be done. You can also get audio cues for particular training intervals through your phone connectivity.
  • Record heart rate during sleep: Not just during your workout session, you can use the watch to record heart rate even during sleep. You can get details on the time you have spent in sleep.
  • As the watch can measure heart rate right at your wrist, you can run freer when you participate in a competitive race.
  • The advanced dynamics for swimming, cycling and for running inclusive of vertical ratio, stride length and ground contact time are added features.
  • The watch offers VO2 Max Estimate, recovery advisor, race predictor and lactate threshold features.
  • The connected features include live tracking, automatic upload to Garmin Connect, smart notification and much more.
  • You can customize this watch with free watch faces, applications and more from Connect IQ Store offered by Garmin.



In addition to extending Bluetooth Connectivity to Bluetooth-enabled devices, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Multisport Watch can also sync data across apps. Syncing happens at a faster pace without any hassle and transfer of data happens at a faster pace as well.

Further, the watch is compatible with smartphones with both iPhone and Android iOS. You can connect the watch with other compatible devices through the charging cable as well. When talking about connectivity, Garmin 735XT GPS does not have Wi-Fi connectivity, which some models of Garmin Smartwatches offer. Further, GPS and ANT+ connectivity are offered by this smartwatch.


Apps & Widgets of Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS comes preloaded with the following widgets:

  • Calories
  • Last Activity
  • VIRB Controls
  • Controls
  • Last Sport
  • Heart Rate
  • Intensity Minutes
  • Activity Tracking
  • My Day
  • Weather
  • Calendar
  • Notifications

In addition to these widgets, you can also get more compatible widgets from the official website of Garmin.

When talking about preloaded apps, Garmin Connect is the nativity and standard support app offered by Garmin in all their devices. With this app, you can get a wide range of data pertaining to your activities and can get details about your progress. In addition to Garmin Connect, the watch can also sync with other popular platforms like Strava and MapMyFitness.


Construction of the Garmin Forerunner 735XT

The Garmin Forerunner 735XT smartwatch is offered only in a single size. The size is about 31 mm in diameter for the face and about 41 grams in weight. If you have exceptionally smaller wrists, you might feel tough to use this watch due to its huge face size.

The strap in this smartwatch is made using silicone material. The good thing here is that the band can be replaced to an extent. So, if you are particular about slimmer bands or even larger band, you can still use the watch.

With a display resolution of 215 x 180 pixels and a diameter of about 31.1 mm, you can get clear visibility of the contents. Further, the lens material is chemically-strengthened glass to ensure longevity. To make sure that you can get clear visibility even during your outdoor workout sessions, the watch face is sunlight-visible and it is transflective memory-in-pixel. The watch can retain 80 hours of activity data.


How Long Does the Garmin Forerunner 735XT Battery Last?

The watch comes with rechargeable lithium-ion battery preloaded. As per Garmin’s promise, in smartwatch mode, the battery will last for 11 days, while in GPS mode, it will last up to 14 hours. In the case of UltraTrac Mode, the battery will last for up to 24 hours without wrist heart rate.

As far as reviews are concerned, this watch has got a battery life rating of 4.5 out of 5. One of the users is not satisfied with the battery stating that the watch does not retain battery as per Garmin’s promise. She has stated that the battery has failed after 23 miles of running, 112 miles of biking and 2.4 miles swimming. To be precise, the battery life is decent, but it might not be suitable for those seeking to engage in racing and longer workout sessions for more than 14 hours.


How Long Does the Forerunner 735XT Last Overall?

When talking about the durability of this product, it is pretty solid and the face is designed in such a way that it is resistant to scratches and abrasions. Also, the band is durable.

However, there have been complaints about the band tearing early. When this happens, you can give a new band to the watch without any issues. As it is designed with 5ATM water, you can even immerse it in water without any issues to the durability. However, overall the durability of this watch will be good to stay long with you.


What’s Included With the Purchase of Garmin Forerunner 735XT?

When you shop for this watch, you have the option to choose the watch only, run bundle or tri-bundle. When you choose watch-only, you will get the following in the box:

  • Manual
  • Charging/Data Clip
  • Forerunner 735XT GPS Watch

When you go for the run bundle, you will get HRM-Run Monitor along with the contents in Watch Only option. When your choice is Tri-Bundle, you will get HRM-Tri Monitor and HRM-Swim Monitor along with the contents in the watch only option.

In addition to the above-mentioned items in the box, you can also look at the following compatible devices that are sold separately by Garmin.



To sum up the Forerunner 735XT to my knowledge is a pretty solid multisport watch. It encompasses a wide range of features and most importantly it is compatible with many applications and accessories that will be of great help to your fitness sessions. The price tag might look huge for some, but considering the features for those looking for an efficient multisport fitness watch, particularly for triathlons, without any doubt this smartwatch from Garmin can be the ideal choice. So, you can get ready to get fit with this watch.


Extra Reading

(links open in a new tab)

The TOP 10 Best Cheap Triathlon Watches | post | TriathlonsWay
Is a Cheap Triathlon Watch Worth It? | post | TriathlonsWay
Do You Need a Triathlon Watch? | post | TriathlonsWay
How Does a Triathlon Work? | post | TriathlonsWay
Why Get Into a Triathlon? | post | TriathlonsWay
Benefits of a Tri Watch | post | TriathlonsWay
What Is a Triathlon? | post | TriathlonsWay
Triathlon Safety | post | TriathlonsWay


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