Garmin Explore – Wider Availability Continues eg now 935

Source: Garmin

The Garmin Explore app was released a while back as an off-line solution for mapping/navigation.

With Garmin Explore you can follow your routes as well as sync’ing and sharing. Initially this was reserved to specialist Garmin handheld devices and, interestingly, also the newish Garmin Instinct (baby Fenix).

Fine. All well and good. It seemed to be a hiking-focussed app so why not add it to the Instinct first? Then it would be pretty obvious that the Fenix 5/5S Plus range would get it as well. Perhaps also the Fenix 5 non-Plus range. That made sense.

Except it seems better than that. This week’s new firmware for the 935 has support for Explore too and that mirrors what has already been delivered for the non-Plus Fenix 5 range in the previous firmware release.

There is no sign of Explore compatability on the VA3M/645 (ie nothing I can see in beta, so far)

Edit: Those looking for a feature-ruch CIQ mapping experience might want to check out DWMAP.


Garmin Instinct Specifications & Garmin Instinct vs Garmin Fenix 5 – Review to follow


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whomCrispin EllisdonRay MakerSad bum Recent comment authors
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Sad bum
Sad bum

Garmin is such a weird company. By restricting software to higher priced models you don’t make people want a more expensive watch, you make them look for companies who separate tiers with hardware. Get it together Garmin, the market isn’t waiting for you.

Ray Maker

To be fair, Explore is all about navigation (and thus effectively courses and waymarkers). The cheapest Garmin unit made in the last few years that supports that is the Instinct, which is supports Explore (and it supports that).

The Vivoactive 3 doesn’t support courses, so…makes sense for explore not to support it. The FR645 would make sense though, I suspect we’ll see it at some point.

Crispin Ellisdon
Crispin Ellisdon

The Explore app (and website) isn’t being restricted to high end devices, but rather Garmin Outdoor devices; the Instinct is the cheapest outdoor wearable and the first to get support with Explore. I think the 935 inclusion is just a happy coincidence of that watch being almost identical to the Fenix 5 from a software perspective; so I wouldn’t expect Garmin to expend the effort of adding Explore support to the 645 software. The USP for Explore is that you can pre-download maps to the app; then later you can create waypoints and basic point-to-point routes, then transfer them to an outdoor GPS device via BLE, all whilst out of cellular (let alone wifi) signal reception. For 99% of people with Garmin fitness/health wearables (Forerunner and Vivo series), the ‘better’ functionality of the Course creator on Garmin Connect or other solutions like the CIQ linked DW Maps, will be more suitable (‘better’ is things like satellite layers and routing along roads/tracks between 2 points). I’ve already seen quite a few folks on the Garmin forums complaining that Explore seems too basic in functionality compared to the Garmin Connect Course creator (and other online enabled services), which means they have missed… Read more »


Agree, I was looking at Suunto watches awhile back and the Ambit outdoor watch version at the time didn’t have swimming support. I can understand using extra software as part of distinguishing the watch, but restricting basic functionality is pointless