I’d swap my Garmin Forerunner 965 for this much cheaper smartwatch in a heartbeat — if it weren’t for one thing

Garmin Forerunner 165 and 965 sitting atop one another on a plant.

Sunday Runday

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On this weekly column, Android Central Health Editor Michael Hicks talks in regards to the world of wearables, apps, and health tech associated to working and well being, in his quest to get sooner and healthier.

For the previous yr, the Garmin Forerunner 965 has been my go-to working watch; I am going to put on a second look ahead to evaluations, however no different possibility has supplanted it. This month, the Forerunner 165 got here very shut regardless of costing $350 much less.

Technically, I am utilizing the Forerunner 165 Music ($300 much less), however I do not really use the music storage. What issues is that this comparatively low-cost Garmin watch has the instruments, UI, and accuracy I would anticipate from a costlier mannequin just like the Forerunner 965.

Regardless that the Forerunner 165 has loads of noticeable compromises to hit that lower cost level, I can stay with 90% of them — and I really like how a lot lighter the 165 is than the 965.

However there’s one lacking Garmin Forerunner 165 function from the Forerunner 265 or 965 that is actually onerous to go up, it doesn’t matter what form of runner you’re. And it is irritating as a result of it is one thing Garmin might simply supply with the 165’s present expertise.

Why I really like the Forerunner 165Glance views of race predictor and Recovery time on the Garmin Forerunner 165

(Picture credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

The Forerunner 165 is probably not as low-cost as the unique Forerunner 55 it changed, however I feel most runners will not thoughts the worth creep in trade for all the brand new perks it affords, just like the more-readable AMOLED contact show, improved Elevate v4 coronary heart charge sensor, and multi-GNSS monitoring.

My latest Forerunner 165 health take a look at proved that the watch delivers correct outcomes for steps, coronary heart charge, GPS, and elevation acquire in comparison with different low-cost trackers, in methods the extra pedestrian Forerunner 55 could not.

It gave me confidence that I do not essentially want the costlier Forerunners’ dual-band GPS, as a result of the Forerunner 165’s all-systems GNSS mode does fairly effectively.The Garmin Forerunner 165, COROS PACE 3, Fitbit Charge 6, and Polar H10 sitting together on a table.

(Picture credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

In my take a look at, it beat out the COROS PACE 3, my different favourite low-cost working watch with dual-band monitoring, and the Fitbit Cost 6, our favourite health tracker. Whereas COROS’ watch lasts twice as lengthy with its MIP show, runners who want greater than the Forerunner 165’s 11 days or 19 GPS hours most likely will not purchase a $250 watch. As an alternative, they’re going to favor not having to pressure their eyes to learn notifications.

Just like the PACE 3, although, the Forerunner 165 is satisfyingly mild and thin. At 39g/ 1.38oz, it is noticeably extra comfy than the 53g/1.87oz Forerunner 965. I get used to the 965 throughout runs, however I am unable to ignore its presence on my wrist like I can with the Forerunner 165 — particularly throughout sleep monitoring.

As long as the Forerunner 165 offers me my post-run Coaching Impact knowledge and every day prompt exercises, I can keep on observe with what I’ve already been doing with my Forerunner 965.

The Forerunner 165’s compromises I can stay withTraining Readiness on the Garmin Forerunner 965

(Picture credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

To make the $600 Forerunner 965 or $450 Forerunner 265 extra tempting, Garmin restricts a bunch of information from the Forerunner 165. Fortunately, I would name most of Garmin’s metrics fascinating however not “important.”

I am unable to deny that the Forerunner 965 helps me observe my progress as a runner. I can see my VO2 Max graph over the previous 4 weeks, plus scores on how my health interprets into Endurance and Hill energy over time. However I additionally suppose these enchantment to me out of data-driven self-importance, a option to validate that my coaching is working.

If you really want affirmation, the Forerunner 165 exhibits your present VO2 Max and a 4-week graph of your predicted race instances; if the projections go decrease, you already know Garmin thinks you are getting sooner. In any other case, as long as you are conserving tempo with what Garmin Coach or your every day prompt exercises let you know, you may sometimes rely on bettering over time.The Garmin Forerunner 965 showing a topographic map of a nearby park.

(Picture credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Each different helpful Garmin metric — Coaching Standing, Coaching Readiness, real-time stamina, or efficiency situation — is usually helpful for newbie or intermediate runners who do not know sufficient to belief their very own instincts. They quantify your physique’s aches, your wheezing lungs, or that spring in your step.

As long as I’ve Garmin’s every day prompt exercises as a benchmark for whether or not to coach more durable or pull again that day, that is sometimes all I want to strengthen whether or not I am overreaching, peaking, or slacking off. Every little thing else comes from expertise.

Out of all of the nice-to-have options the Forerunner 965 affords, pre-downloaded topographical maps are the toughest to lose, as a pleasant backup should you go mountaineering in unfamiliar territory. But when I am sincere with myself, I do not go mountaineering all that a lot and use Alltrails after I achieve this I can address the loss.

Garmin is obstructing the Forerunner 165 from providing its most helpful metricA 7-day acute load graphic on the Garmin Forerunner 965

Past all Garmin’s non-compulsory perks, there’s one knowledge software the Forerunner 165 lacks that I am unable to do with out as a runner: Coaching Load. And I am fairly darn positive it might ship that knowledge… if Garmin lets it.

With out getting overly technical, Coaching Load measures how onerous your physique labored out on a given day based mostly in your coronary heart charge and oxygen consumption. You wish to hit a sure Coaching Load each week after which slowly enhance your load quantity each week, both by working extra or working sooner.

Your Load is break up into three coronary heart charge zone classes: Low cardio, excessive cardio, and anaerobic. Larger coronary heart charges provide you with extra coaching load in shorter intervals, however high-load runs additionally take longer to get better from. A low cardio run is simpler and causes much less “load” in your physique however slowly helps you enhance your health over time.Training load focus on the Garmin Forerunner 965

(Picture credit score: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

All of it sounds very data-driven, however it’s mainly all about steadiness. Garmin helps me bear in mind if I’ve performed sufficient sprints, intervals, or gradual jogs lately, with out having to review my previous exercises. And extra typically, it tells me if I am conserving tempo with previous variations of myself or if I am over- or undertraining.

(Picture credit score: Android Central)

Sadly, Coaching Load is not out there on the Forerunner 165…or is it? As a result of buried in Garmin Join app submenus, I discovered my Coaching Load knowledge, as much as the present date! And I’ve solely used the Forerunner 165 previously week.

In line with a Garmin rep, although, this Acute Load knowledge is just out there as a result of I have already got a Forerunner 965 related to my account. “Should you solely had a 165 in your account, you wouldn’t see the load options in any respect,” she defined. In different phrases, it is an arbitrary paywall fairly than an precise 165 CPU limitation.

I additionally suspect that the Forerunner 165 might present my Coaching Load Focus for cardio or anaerobic runs, if Garmin needed. Why? As a result of identical to the Forerunner 965, the Forerunner 165 takes “the person’s coaching historical past” and “depth” under consideration when suggesting a every day exercise, in response to my Garmin rep.

That features “if there’s a scarcity in a single space (e.g., base to construct up base endurance, threshold to extend excessive cardio coaching),” she continued.

So, with the Forerunner 165, you may take a look at the every day exercise solutions and guess what Garmin thinks about your present coaching load focus behind the scenes. You simply will not have any means of checking the uncooked knowledge for your self.


My full Garmin Forerunner 165 evaluate will come out quickly, however I already suppose it is among the best Garmin watches out there. If I did not have already got each it and the Forerunner 965 in hand, I feel I might fortunately settle for the compromises of the cheaper mannequin to avoid wasting greater than half off the worth.

I simply want Garmin hadn’t determined to make Coaching Load a function you need to pay an additional $200 to get — or $100 extra with the Forerunner 255 — as a result of to me, it is fairly darn important.Render of the Berry/Lilac Garmin Forerunner 165

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