Garmin Forerunner 230 vs 235: Which One is the Best for You?

In this sea of wearable technology, every smartwatch brand is working hard to make its mark, as the competition is getting tougher day by day. Since everything is getting digitalized, we’re moving towards a smart world.

In this tough competition, Garmin, a brand that is known for its rugged, robust, and outdoor smartwatches, made its name in classic smartwatch brands, by being fairly priced as well.

Every product from Garmin is unique in nature and built to last. They are tested against military standards and that’s exactly they are preferred by those people who love to wander around.

Garmin released a series of Forerunner smartwatches, which are top-notch in their features and overall appearance. Today we’re going to review and make a comparison of two Garmin’s smartwatches; Forerunner 230 and Forerunner 235, so without any further ado, let’s get to it.

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Garmin Forerunner 230 Review

Garmin released this smartwatch in 2015, alongside Forerunner 235 and 630. If you look at it for the first time, it does catch one’s attention and you won’t help but stare at it for a fraction of seconds. Coming up with innovative features, stylish looks, and beautiful finishing, Garmin Forerunner 230 is a beauty in itself.

Design & Display:

The design of it is not too complex, just a regular round screen with four buttons and silicone bands. The real magic happens when you press any of those buttons and the display comes into play, which comprises 1.23-inch sunlight-visible and transflective memory-in-pixels, with the resolution of 215 x 180, which is quite low in my opinion.

It’s not that bad in general since if the display looks dull or hard enough to look at in direct sunlight, it has the option of the backlight. That being said, it still is not enough to overcome the clarity issues as compared to an HD display. Although it is made colorful, which is a plus point in this.

This Forerunner 230 weighs 41g or 1.44 ounces only, which makes it a lightweight smartwatch, as is it usually used as a running or fitness smartwatch, so it won’t become a burden on your wrist and will help you in wearing it 24/7.

GPS + GLONASS tracking:

For runners, what’s the most important feature which tracks their running sessions and gives them detailed stats? I guess that would be GPS. Luckily, it comes with the dual combination of GPS and GLONASS, which makes sure you will get all the details about track distance, speed, laps, and much more.

In general, its tracking game is quite good and you can completely rely on it by leaving your phone behind. Along with this, you can also enjoy the different custom-made running sessions by getting in touch with Garmin connect on your watch.

Cycling/Running/Sport modes:

It is a proper running smartwatch and acts as a tracker in your running sessions by keeping an eye on pace, distance, etc., but its features aren’t limited to only this. If you are into cycling professionally and want to keep track of it whenever you go for outdoor training, take this watch with you. It will not only measure the speed and cadence with the help of sensors, but you can also get to know the time, distance, several calories burnt, and heart rate after that.

Cycling profiles are also available on it and the cyclists will be able to see all their stats with proper profiling on their wrist, which will motivate them to achieve their goals efficiently.

Along with these sports modes, it would be unjust not to have conventional activity tracking without the GPS, but it certainly has, just like Fitbit. You’ll get all the necessary insights into the phone’s app.

Health monitoring features:

  • Heart rate monitoring:

Over time this feature has become very popular among runners and athletes since they can see their heart rate after a running or cycling session. Now the Forerunner 230, doesn’t have a built-in heart rate sensor, rather than that, it uses a chest strap to determine it.

This chest strap accessory can be a burden for some people who don’t like to wear it all day because nowadays smartwatches come with a built-in PPG optical sensor, which gives all the details by just hanging on to the wrist.

Now, if we compare the results of a chest strap with a sensor, then the heart rate will be calculated more precisely with it, as compared to the sensor, but that being said, you’ll have to wear the strap all day, which becomes annoying at times.

  • Sleep tracking:

This feature is the same in every smartwatch, where it monitors your sleep schedules and will inform you about the different cycles. Wear the watch while sleeping and rest will be done by its sensors; wake up in the morning to see how much you sleep last night, along with insights about light, deep, and REM cycles.

  • VO2 max:

It is the estimate of the maximum oxygen one can take in a minute per kilogram of your body weight. This shows your aerobic fitness and this level increases proportionally with your fitness level.

Forerunner 230 gives your VO2 max score and also tells the recovery time, which your body would need to gain enough energy for the next workout. In this way, you will be able to organize your workouts with your physical strength.

Smart notifications:

Along with being the multi-sports watch, it is also the extension of the smartphone, as it receives all its notifications on it. if you’re working out or just too busy to check your phone, just have a look at your wrist to see all the notifications there.


It comes with a water resistance of 5 ATMs, which means the smartwatch is waterproof and immune to water intrusion in the depth of 50m or 165ft. It is safe to say that you can wear this watch while swimming, showering, and light snorkeling, without worrying that the water will damage it in any way possible.

For swimmers, this watch can track their swimming session and give them all the details about it on the phone app.

Battery timing:

Garmin claims that it can last for more than 5 weeks in typical usage and 16 hours in continuous GPS mode. If you are an outdoor person and your usage mostly requires GPS, then you’ll have to swallow the pill of charging it every day, otherwise, it lasts for more than a month after a single charge.

Extra features:

  • Control music: After syncing it with the smartphone, you can control the music of it through this watch easily.
  • Calendar/Weather: It comes with built-in calendar and weather updates for your ease.
  • Find my phone: You can find your phone through this watch if you don’t know where it is.
  • Make it yours: From the Connect IQ app, you can download widgets, watch faces, and different apps of your choice.
  • Stopwatch/Alarm clock: Both of these come in handy when you are on an outdoor trip.


  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 41g
  • Glass material: Chemically strengthened
  • Display size: 1.23-inch
  • Resolution: 215 x 180 pixels
  • Display Type: transflective MIP
  • Strap material: Silicone

Key features:

  • Accurate GPS and GLONASS tracking
  • Proper running, cycling, and swimming tracking
  • Smart notifications
  • Activity tracking
  • Health monitoring
  • Swim-proof
  • Stylish design
  • Lightweight
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent tracking
  • Doesn’t have a built-in heart rate sensor


Garmin Forerunner 235 Review

If you are a sports enthusiastic person, loves running or cycling, and want a fitness tracker with all the perks of a smartwatch, Garmin forerunner 235 can be suitable for you. Coming up in a stylish design, breathtaking display, and awesome features, it can be matched to your wrist for a very long period.

Design and display:

It comes in a round dial with silicone straps and 4 physical buttons on the right and left sides of the watch. The lens is made up of chemically strengthened glass, which makes sure safety of it. The diameter of the dial is 31.1mm and the display comprises 1.23-inch, with a resolution of 215 x 180 pixels. It is made of sunlight-visible and transflective MIP.

As the display is colorful, which makes it eye-catching. But I have my fair share of doubts on the resolution and the clarity of it since it’s not up to the mark. That being said, it still is good enough, given the fact it came in 2015. There are 4 buttons on each side of the watch, which is destined to perform specific functions.

It weighs only 42g, which not only makes it a lightweight package in general, but it won’t become a burden on your wrist too. To make sure it fits your wrist perfectly, silicone straps come into play and keep it sweat-resistant.


GPS let alone can do the tracking pretty easily, but when there’s a combo of GPS and GLONASS, it does the dead like a global eye, and the tracking becomes more accurate. This forerunner 235, comes with both of them and due to which it will track your outdoor activities like a pro.

Sport modes:

If you are not sure about this smartwatch yet, it is a running smartwatch, and it would complete shame if it weren’t good at tracking it. But, it does its job very accurately. Firstly, the built-in GPS + GLONASS, helps you to go running without necessarily needing the phone with you.

Secondly, it gives you all the details about your distance covered, speed, intervals, and much more. To make these stats more organized you can set up an activity profile, which will be your fitness diary.

Activity tracking:

Like a Fitbit or casual fitness tracker, your all-day activities get tracked by it efficiently through an accelerometer, which makes sure you don’t have to use GPS in-door and save up the battery.


Although after connecting to its official apps like Garmin Connect and Connect IQ, you will be able to download different sports modes and can work on your physical strength accordingly. But it can be owned by the proper cyclists and those people who are into cycling since it has a sensor that can determine your speed, cadence, distance, and much more.

Along with this, cycling profiles are also available on it, so you can have a look at your stats and try to beat them for your own sake. So this is one of the best cycling smartwatches.

Health monitoring:

  • VO2 max:

It gives you the VO2 max score, which is the maximum oxygen that can be utilized during a heavy workout or running session. Along with this, recovery time and the training effect tell you the time in which your body will be ready to perform the next workout lined up. It can be a good way to organize your sessions and save up time.

  • Sleep monitoring:

It is considered very important nowadays, as it tells you how much sleep did you exactly get. If you have trouble sleeping during the night, this can be handy, since you will know about light, deep, and REM circles during sleep.

  • Heart rate monitoring:

It keeps an eye on your heart rate by hanging on to your wrist. A built-in optical sensor is placed at the backside of the watch and it will give the heart rate accordingly. After finishing up a workout or running session, you have to look at your wrist to know the difference between a pumped-up heart rate and a steady one.

Smart notification:

Although Garmin forerunner 235 is not a standalone smartwatch so it will only receive all the notifications on it whether it’s a text message, incoming calls, emails, or social notification after syncing up with your smartphone.


It can be termed as a swim-proof smartwatch, as it can withstand water intrusion up to 5 ATM or 50m. So, take it with you while showering, jump in the pool without having to worry about it getting damaged, as the water won’t be able to intrude in such depth.

Battery life:

After a single charger, Garmin claims that the forerunner 235 can last up to 9 days on typical usage, while only 11 hours in GPS mode. If you are going to use the watch for tracking outdoor activities, you might have to charge it once or twice each day. But, if you merely use the GPS mode, hopefully, it will last an entire week without charging.

Extra features:

  • GPS time sync: GPS will sync the time accordingly after a switch off, you won’t have to do it manually.
  • Alarm clock/Stopwatch: For an outdoor adventure or even in normal situations, having these two can save my problems.
  • Weather updates: Get weather updates on your smartwatch and plan your trips accordingly.
  • Music control: You can control your smartphone’s music through it.
  • Find my phone: As the name suggests, it helps you to find your phone if you can’t seem to remember its location.


  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 42g
  • Screen shape: Round
  • Display: 1.23-inch LCD
  • Resolution: 215 x 180 pixels
  • Display Type: Transflective MIP
  • Strap material: Silicone

Key features:

  • Considerate location tracking
  • Built-in wrist-based heart rate tracking
  • Activity and sleep monitoring
  • Sport modes
  • Smart notifications
  • Water-resistant
  • Built to last
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Accurate running metrics
  • Battery life needs improvement


Garmin Forerunner 230 vs Forerunner 235 (Comparison)

Garmin released both these smartwatches in 2015. They tried to fill them up with the features which were missing in Forerunner 225, which was released a year ago before these two came along.

Frankly speaking, if these two watches are placed next to each other, you won’t be able to differentiate between them, as they are pretty similar in shape and size. However, some features make them a different gadget.

Design & display:

As I said, these two are almost identical in shape and size, but that’s not it. If you are thinking there will be a difference in display size, screen resolution, and glass material, then you are wrong because both have the same size of 1.23-inch, 215 x 180-pixel resolution, and chemically strengthened glass.

However, If you turn the watch upside down, you’ll notice the difference of sensors that are present in 235 but aren’t available in 230. Along with this, the forerunner 235 weighs 42g while the forerunner 230 weighs 41g, which makes both of them a lightweight gadget no matter what, and this slight difference is negligible.

Location tracking:

Both these smartwatches have GPS and GLONASS technology, through which the tracking becomes accurate.

Heart rate tracking:

This is where the main difference arises. Forerunner 230 doesn’t have a built-in optical heart rate monitoring sensor, although it does measure heart rate, for that, you’ll have to use a chest strap. As compared to this, in forerunner 235, the optical sensor is present, through which the wrist-based heart rate tracking can be done and you don’t have to wear an extra belt to do so.

Now, you must be thinking that it’s easy to have your heart rate measured from your wrist, but at the cost of accuracy. You cannot possibly compare the results of a wrist-based heart tracker with a proper chest strap, because the latter can do the tracking very accurately.

So, if you want pinpoint HR tracking, Forerunner 230 should be your priority. But, if you can compromise the differences and want to use this feature just for the sake of curiosity, you don’t have to wear an extra belt for it and go with Forerunner 235.

Sports-related features:

Both these watches can do the tracking pretty accurately, and since they are termed as running smartwatches, your outdoor activities get monitored accordingly. You can enjoy cycling, swimming, biking, and different workouts while wearing these watches and can even track them too.

Battery life:

Both these gadgets differ in this genre, but this depends on the nature of the person. Some people don’t like to charge their smartwatches every day and want to do it after a few days or even weeks, because they are too caught up in the work or just lazy to do so. On the other hand, some people prefer to charge the smartwatches just like their smartphones and find no difficulty in doing so.

If you fall under the first category of people who don’t like to charge it every day, forerunner 230 can last up to 35 days on a typical usage after a single charge and almost 16 hours of constant GPS usage. This makes it better than Forerunner 235 which offers only 9 days of battery life on typical usage while 11 hours in GPS mode.

Now, if your GPS usage is not much and you hardly use it for outdoor activities, then the forerunner 230 is best for you.

Water-resistance/Smart notifications:

Both these smartwatches are water-resistant up to 50m and can be used while showering, swimming, and light snorkeling.

They also receive every type of notification on it after pairing it up with a smartphone via Bluetooth.


Both these watches cost the same, there’s no difference of single penny between them, which makes it a hard decision of which one to choose.


Which is the Best Garmin Forerunner Smartwatch? 230 or 235?

I can’t have a say in such a close competition, where the difference is this neck to neck, but I’ll help you in choosing by asking you this, can you compromise wrist-based heart rate tracking over-improved battery life?

If the answer is yes, you should go with Forerunner 230, which has 4 times better battery life and will give you pinpoint and accurate heart rate, but you will have to wear a chest strap every time.

And, if you want wrist-based heart tracking with a little bit better interface, you should go for Forerunner 235.



Does Garmin forerunner 230 have sleep tracking?

Ans: Yes, it comes with built-in sleep tracking, which will give you all the details about light, deep, and REM circles during the night.

Is Garmin forerunner 230 waterproof?

Ans: It’s not completely water-proof, but yes it can be hailed as swim-proof per se, as it is water-resistant up to 50m or 165ft.

How can you customize Garmin forerunner 235?

Ans: You can customize your smartwatch after connecting with Garmin Connect and Connect IQ, through you can download watch faces, widgets, and different apps of every kind.

Is Garmin forerunner 235 better than forerunner 225?

Ans: Yes, indeed. Forerunner 235 has almost all the features which were lacking in 225. Alongside, 235’s design and display are also better than the latter, which gives an edge over it.

Are Forerunner 230 and forerunner 235 the same smartwatches?

Ans: They were released by Garmin in the same year, but they are quite different gadgets in general.

What’s the difference between forerunner 230 vs forerunner 235?

Ans: The latter comes with wrist-based heart rate tracking with built-in sensors, while the former uses a chest strap for the same dead.