Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review – Triathlon Watch

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This Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review takes a good look at the latest multi-sports watch from Garmin. It sits ‘somewhere in the middle of the range’ in the sense that it’s not a ‘pro’ triathlon watch like the 920XT or Forerunner 935 nor is it a simple device that, sort of, lets you perform each of the triathlon disciplines consecutively like you can with Garmin’s Vivoactive HR.


920XT vs. 735XT
In Brief
  • Price - 92%
  • Apparent Accuracy - 87%
  • Build Quality & Design - 88%
  • Feafures, Including App - 95%
  • Openness & Compatability - 95%

Great feature set in a sporty-looking triathlon watch, in 2019 even the price can be good

As we roll through 2019, the format of the Garmin Forerunner 735XT reviewed here can look somewhat dated. It just doesn’t look as fancy as some of the newer, more visually-honed sports watches. It feels light and plasticky and the screen is readable but the colours somewhat dull.

But really, who cares? If you like the aesthetic and/or you just care about getting pretty much all of Garmin’s triathlon-related features then the Forerunner 735XT is a steal if you can find one on Amazon under $200/£300; which NOW you often can.

The battery should definitely always be good for you through to the end of any Half Ironman event with most bells and whistles enabled (it has lots of bells and whistles!) and in 2020 you can be certain that the 735XT has a comprehensive and bug-free, triathlon feature set.

I still use my reliable Forerunner 235 for running which looks identical to the 735XT and is identical for running functionality. I would otherwise have been happy with a 735XT had I not also got a Forerunner 945 which is pretty awesome – although so is its price tag. The 920XT will give you more than the 735XT but not that much more and not for that much more money either. The only downside with the 920XT is its dated, yet sporty, looks.

The 735XT would definitely be bought by a sensible triathlete.



  • Features Galore
  • Proper triathtlon features


  • Sports-watch aesthetic, perhaps not suited to 24×7 usage
  • Screen is not great but perfectly usable

In fact: Garmin will say it’s a running watch that can do triathlon but we all know it’s a triathlon watch.

It’s got a lot of features, an inbuilt optical HR sensor and a keen price tag.

Garmin has maxed out those software features as best they could but then skimped a bit on the hardware.

ESSENTIAL READING: 920XT vs 735Xt – Head to Head Dog Fight

ESSENTIAL READING: Best Triathlon Watch

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review – Positives

In this Garmin Forerunner 735 XT review  we found a lot of positives.

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review – negatives

In this Garmin Forerunner 735 XT review we found a few negatives that you should be aware of and if these don’t affect you then buy one!

Best REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices approx £265/$299 and likely to fall in 2019.
Best REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices are $199/£150/Eur160 and will stay around that level in 2018, possibly rising slightly due to popularity.
Best REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices approx £180/$240 .

Now we are into 2019 and the prices do drop below  £200/$199 and at those levels this represents GREAT VALUE – compare to the Suunto SPARTAN Trainer also at below £200 and the Polar Vantage M and then it’s tricky to choose between the three. Knowing that a Forerunner 745XT will be released in 2019 might also tempt you to delay although you will then be up to prices over £265/$299 for some time to come

Garmin Forerunner 735XT Review – Summary

At £200/$200, if you can find one at that price, then it’s almost a no-brainer for this great-featured triathlon watch

In the flesh and on my wrist the 735XT has lived up to my first opinions based on the published spec a few months back. Slightly better in some respects but less so in other respects.

But, hey, it’s got all the features you’ll ever need and now, in 2019, they all work. The Forerunner 735XT is not the best triathlon watch money can buy but, for sure, it is a contender in the mid-price range.

This is a mature device. There might be a 745XT replacement in late 2019 and it is VERY likely this will be in the same aesthetic form as the Forerunner 645 Music rather than the form of the 735XT which I would class as a true ‘sports look’.

Best REI/Wiggle/PMC price is linked to. Prices approx £265/$299 and likely to fall in 2019.

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