The Forerunner 165 sequence is the funds coaching watch Garmin wanted


In the event 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 might 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 commonplace model — is the Garmin watch that hits the candy spot.

300 smackeroos could not appear budget-friendly till you have a look at Garmin’s flagship watches. These can go for a whopping $700 to nicely over $1,000. Even midrange watches, like the wonderful Forerunner 265 sequence, retail for $450. I beloved the Forerunner 265 sequence. The one factor I didn’t like was the worth. And that’s what makes this specific 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 EKGs for atrial fibrillation detection.

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

Significantly. Facet by facet, it’s arduous 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 of inform at a look in any other case.

As for efficiency, in 95 p.c of my day by 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 stated, I’ve carried out loads of operating with multisport watches with and with out dual-frequency GPS. Whereas dual-frequency GPS is extra correct, it principally advantages of us who prepare in GPS lifeless zones. If that’s not you, you gained’t doubtless discover.

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

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 workforce sports activities require a dearer Forerunner or Garmin. However should you typically follow the gymnasium, biking, operating, swimming, mountaineering, tennis (or pickleball!), and the occasional yoga or pilates session? You’re good. Positive, spending extra will get you extra — however it will get most individuals all the pieces they want.


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

Other than these few issues, you’re getting all the pieces 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 possibly can 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 loads of that data, making it simpler to look at.

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

Usually, I’d launch right into a TED Speak about why Garmin’s cluttered product lineup wants fewer watches. That stated, the Forerunner 165 stands out as a result of the worth, characteristic set, and product design are all so nicely aligned. Garmin’s been lacking an excellent 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 on the lookout for a extra fashionable vibe. It is a bona fide coaching watch, each by way of design and performance.

The one unhealthy factor concerning the 165 sequence 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 much like the Forerunner. However amid all of the litter, 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 serious about bells and whistles.


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