detailed Garmin Triathlon Battery Life Comparisons 965 vs 745 vs 265 vs 265s

Garmin Triathlon Battery Life Comparisons

The Garmin Forerunner 965 Review is Now Live

Many thanks to reader @KHP for this comprehensive comparison of battery life expectations for some of the key Garmin triathlon-ready watches.

We compare the older Forerunner 745 to the latest Forerunner 965 and 265/265s models. More specifically we see that Garmin has managed to deliver an AMOLED screen without especially impacting the headline battery life claims. It’s quite amazing stuff.



Headline Take Outs

Here are some of the more interesting points as I see it

  • The smaller 265s has a superior battery life compared to the 265. When I first saw this in some of the leaked info I thought it was a mistake! The explanation will lie somewhere in the tradeoff between the power consumption of the smaller screen and the reduction in battery capacity of the 265s if any.
  • All the 265 models and the 965 are theoretically Ironman-ready with even the 265 supporting ‘up to 16 hours’ in GPS mode.
  • SatIQ delivers notable battery saving but perhaps you might not call them game-changing
  • Music kills battery life by over 50%

Caveats and Further Info Required

The capacity of the new battery remains a big unknown. It is unclear whether the power savings come from improved efficiencies or from the use of smaller components that allowed for a bigger capacity battery. Currently, there is no available information on this matter.

Furthermore, @KHP and I have not yet checked all the key default settings, such as screen brightness and timeout, which can significantly affect battery life. Once we start tinkering with these settings, we can expect a notable negative impact on the battery’s performance.

Another factor to consider is battery capacity degradation over time. Most batteries have an expected number of recharge cycles, and their performance can also disproportionately decline if charged beyond 80% capacity. Some smartphones, such as certain models of the iPhone, have smart charging that stops charging at 80% capacity to preserve battery life. However, Garmin watches almost certainly don’t have such features (yet!).

Take Out

The new battery lives seem too good to be true. I’m sceptically hopeful they are true.

Garmin 265 models: Price: USA $450, UK £430, EU499

Garmin 965: Price:  USA REI Pre-Order $599, UK £599, EU649


new Garmin Event Designation – probably for Edge 540/840

Garmin Wrist Temperature – Coming This Month

the Garmin Forerunner 965 | Opinion | Availability

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9 thoughts on “detailed Garmin Triathlon Battery Life Comparisons 965 vs 745 vs 265 vs 265s

  1. I’d love to see how much navigation kills the 965 battery, including the extra battery used if you’re frequently looking at the screen with maps. I’m always surprised, and frustrated, that Garmin dont published expected battery impacts with navigation.
    Can I get 24hrs out it, do you think? Paring back to GPS only, no music, and minimal everything else..

      1. I expect not.. but then I probably wont get that comfortably enough with the 955 either, considering overnight backlight use when navigating, cold weather etc.

  2. These numbers are looking quite good, and I’m really curious what the future of the Fenix series will be (vs. Epix). I really like that my Fenix is in the “always on” mode, and from my very short playing with an OLED watch (Venu something? not sure), the “displays turns off entirely between gestures” sucks. Sometimes (e.g. when brushing teeth or shaving) I like to put down the watch on the sink so that I can still see the time, and having it turn off entirely would annoy me. So the only way for me to use an OLED watch would be in always-on mode, and the current < 2 weeks in always-on is a no-go for me.

    Once we get to over 2w of always-on, then I'll be interested. And next question will be ofc the visibility in the sun. But yes, the technology is making significant advancements it seems, so the future is bright – like AMOLED 😉

  3. i think you are right to be sceptical. DCR got 3 days actual battery life from his 965 testing which is what i’ve been getting from my 955. its a software bug rather than a hardware issue but garmin seem completely unable to fix it.

    i have a suspicion that there is some software efficiency they have developed that provides the big improvements in claimed life for the more recent models, except when for some reason it doesn’t work. many people have encountered this to varying degrees without doing anything unusual at all. some subtle thing means that for many of us, battery life is a small fraction of claimed, despite meeting all the assumptions behind the battery life claims

  4. I assume if you are using the map page/map on the 965 much, the battery consumption will be much higher as in your comparison!?

    Have people to wear the 965 on the wrist during a triathlon? Or is there a quick release bike mount/strap combination for it? And how will the amoled display on the handlebars do its job? The Epix 2 amoled with its kicking in auto dimming is a mess on the handlebars…

    1. map page: precisely how often the map page redraws will be a factor in battery life. it’s hard to know how to quantify that but it certainly will shorten battery life.

      IDK about a quick release strap. i mean, if yo can afford a $600 watch, get yourself a dedicated bike computer which is specifically designed for bike use! That said, I find when doing short course duathlon/triathlon that wearing a watch on the underside of my wrist works sufficiently well on aerobars.

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