Garmin FR 35 – Initial Thoughts

I got my Garmin FR 35 as a Christmas gift from TheWife and am very happy with how well it is working out for me.

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Well mostly.

It is not a top of the line running watch, but from my experience it probably is all the watch that I really need.

First and foremost it is wearable as a daily wear watch. It is something that I think is very important, since I wear a watch pretty much all the time. Also it is comfortable to wear, which is important, since I do wear when I sleep.

The biggest surprise for me was that I am using the notifications from my phone. I didn’t think that I would like or use this feature. I was wrong, I like being able to quickly glance at an incoming notification to see what it is and if I have to take any action on it.

Another surprise was that I didn’t think that I would pay too much attention to the activity tracking feature. I thought it was more hype and hoopla than anything. Instead I find that some of the data that it is supplying to me is pretty interesting. I am not really sure how accurate some of it is…like the sleep part, but having the heart rate monitor over the course of the day I do like (I learned that my resting heart rate is 46-47 bpm, which is pretty decent for an old fart) and the number of total steps, gives me an idea of how active I have been during the day.

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Let’s get real, I got the FR 35 for tracking my running and to see how much effort I was actually putting into my running – that heart rate thing. For that the watch has been fantastic.

It quickly acquires GPS signal and is easy to read during the run. Both of which I consider very important. So far I haven’t had any issues with the GPS or heart rate monitor.

Garmin Connect also automatically transfers the data to Strava which is my online Running Log of choice.

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I also like the wireless transfer from the watch to my smart phone or laptop. It is a lot more convenient than having to worry about a dongle connected computer and was very easy to setup.

The biggest complaint that I have is how much of a difference there is between the different treadmills that I run on and the accelerometer on the FR35. I don’t know which is off, but it is a pretty significant difference over the course of a run.

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It is about .09 per mile difference at 7.2 mph, but seems to get a little more accurate the faster I run. So I will have to figure how to actually calibrate the foot pod, because I haven’t found anything that really works as yet, although Garmin’s instructions “say” it is done automatically – not my experience yet. I guess I will go with close enough and correct it on my official running log are all I can do for now.

Overall, I have been pleased and surprised with how much I do look at more than just my running data with the Garmin FR 35. It has done everything I want and more from my GPS watch and it is pretty amazing how far the GPS technology has coming in a very short time.

Well the FR35 just buzzed and let me know I need to get off my arse and move a little, another one of those little features that I didn’t think that I would use, but it is a nice reminder that I do need to get up and move a little more often. Especially, when I am at work and get focused in on a project or something on the computer.

It might not be the highest-end device Garmin has available, but it does everything I want and more.