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Garmin Vivoactive 5 review: Health and fitness tracking finds a perfect balance
6:14 pm | July 2, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Fitness Trackers Gadgets Health & Fitness | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Garmin Vivoactive 5: One-minute review

This Garmin Vivoactive 5 review has found this latest sports and health tracking wearable a contender among the best running watches, placing it against the Garmin Venu 3 and even punching up at some of the Forerunner options. The Vivoactive 5 is cheaper than many a Forerunner, but still offers a stunning AMOLED display and over 30 sports tracking options, plus sleep and stress tracking, to name a few health options.

All that places the Vivoactive 5 as an excellent watch for those with an active lifestyle, who might not be power users or marathon runners. It's certainly vying for a spot as one of the best fitness trackers, and thanks to notification functionalities, its pebble-style design and of course that rich display, it even starts to make a play as an Apple Watch competitor.

While this model doesn't feature solar charging and sits at a very slim 11mm thin, making it smaller than the Vivoactive 4, it actually offers a more efficient 11-day top-end battery life. Slimmer and longer-lasting? A great sign for a sequel, especially when you consider the Vivoactive 5 retains a lot of the top-end fitness tracking, GPS-powered workout stuff that makes the best Garmin watches great.

You might also find the older models in the range suit your needs just fine (and will save you money too, compared to picking up a brand new model), so a look at our guide to Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Garmin Vivoactive 4 might help you choose.

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Specifications

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Price and availability

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
  • £259.99 in the UK
  • $300 in the US
  • AU$499 in Australia

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 was launched on September 20, 2023 with availability to buy beginning in December, worldwide.

It was priced at $300 (£259.99 in the UK, and AU$499 in Australia) at launch, but can now be snapped up for around $249, at time of publishing. That’s a little less than the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, and loads less than a Fenix 7 or Garmin Forerunner 965.

The Vivoactive 5 is a decent way to get Garmin watch tracking without costing you too much. If you want a more affordable alternative, you could opt for the Vivoactive 4.

  • Value score: 4/5

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Design and screen

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
  • Dimensions of 42.2 x 42.2 x 11.1 mm
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • 1.2-inch AMOLED display
  • Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 hasn't changed much in form since a few models back but that is largely thanks to it being a very efficient and effective design that just works. You have a slimmer body than ever now at just over 11mm and it comes in a single 42mm size.

The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, meaning you won't need to worry too much about scratches, despite that slightly raised glass finish – which looks great but leaves it more exposed to damage.

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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The Vivoactive 5 is a little smaller, as well as slimmer, than its 45mm predecessor. But with that stunning high-res screen and longer battery life, it's a welcome change. The small watch itself combined with a silicone band makes for a barely noticeable wrist partner, which is great for sleep tracking and wearing overnight as well as all-day wear. While a Forerunner might feel a little more premium compared to the lighter finish here, with more plastic buttons, the trade-off for lighter watch which is less noticeable on your wrist is perhaps worth it.

Thanks to that 5ATM water resistance, you don't even need to take the watch off in the shower and can use it for swim tracking, in pool or sea as needed.

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 has a 1.2-inch AMOLED screen, upgrading the previous MIP display. This is a really bright and colorful display, which means clarity in direct sunlight as well as in use underwater. Crucially, this display is also more efficient, meaning it actually saves battery compared to the MIP display while looking better than ever.

The resolution is high, so you can read a lot of text on that small screen with ease. The colorful finish makes details clear and brighter, while also giving Garmin the chance to enhance its layout. The new layout makes it easier to read notifications without having to reach for your phone than a lot of other Garmin watches, even the ultra-premium ones.

You will likely be able to use this fuctionality for more features in future, like Ring doorbell alerts. To be clear, you'll need the Venu 3 for that right now, but a Garmin software update is all it could take to get the Venu 3's Ring doorbell interaction on the Vivoactive 5 in future, thanks to that do-it-all display.

  • Design score: 4/5

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Features

Two Garmin Vivoactive 5 watches on a pink background

(Image credit: Garmin)
  • Attractive and clear layout
  • Useful shortcuts
  • Two hardware buttons

The Vivoactive range only has two buttons, unlike the Forerunners or Fenix, which have five. This means touchscreen is the main interaction point and that works very well, with minimal smudges and marks on that resistant glass.

Touch a button to start or stop a workout, while the other can be used to track laps or workout segments. It's simple but works well, with the touchscreen during exercise reserved largely for flicking between data screens.

You have access to over 30 sports tracking options from the get-go, plus this uses the Garmin Connect IQ store for even more health and smart app options available from third-party developers. Although it's worth noting these can be a bit flakey at times, you can't judge the Vivoactive 5 as a unit on the merits of third-party app developers. Besides, I think it's quite charming, like using the internet in the nineties.

Long-press the buttons for shortcut access to useful features like watch controls or clocks and settings. These can be edited too so you do feel in quick control without much menu diving needed.

  • Features score: 4/5

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Performance

A woman working out in a gym with a ball

(Image credit: Garmin)

As previously mentioned, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 offers over 30 exercises to track, all with clear data screens that you can edit as you need. From the basics like running, cycling and swimming, to slightly more esoteric activities like golf, yoga and SUP – this has more than enough for most needs.

What makes the metrics really useful, aside from accurate GPS and HR monitoring, is the data on health. Pulse OX looks at your oxygen levels and Respiration monitors breathing rate which is helpful in periods of rest, sleep or during yoga. Body Battery is a tried-and-true Garmin Watch metric used to offer a window into how hard you're pushing yourself. That said, there is no Performance Condition or Training Readiness Score here, which is a shame, but you can still use Body Battery to get a good idea of when to rest and push.

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

It's worth noting that this is a very impressive sleeper entry into the best golf watch ring. You can even connect to club sensors for super-rich data metrics in addition to the wealth of health tracking options on offer here.

The lack of Training Load is a shame, as this metric places your exercise into context and really helps when training hard, so you can see when to push yourself and what type of exercise will benefit your training – aerobic versus anaerobic, for example. Also having a number of hours to rest is a helpful figure to work with – and lets you feel you've earned a rest. This is all sadly lacking in the cheaper Vivoactive range, and available on more premium Garmin watches.

The GPS acquisition is definitely slower than on the Forerunners. That said, after an initial connection in a location taking over a minute, it was faster during subsequent tests at under 30 seconds. Accuracy was high once out and training, with HR and GPS both performing comparably to the Forerunner 965 when tested side-by-side. The Vivoactive 5 features the same Elevate V4 heart rate sensor, also on the 965, it would have been nice to see the more advanced V5 found on the Venu 3. Still, these omissions help keep the cost down, eliminating barriers to entry.

The screen offers lots of data options while training and thanks to the clarity of the AMOLED screens, these are genuinely useful, flitting between them all by using the touchscreen. However, the swimming workout profile locks the touchscreen down to avoid water-based touchscreen inaccuracies. On that subject, swimming lengths were measured very accurately, even when I changed between stroke types every few lengths.

For the price point, the fact this features an SpO2 oxygen saturation monitor is impressive. This is able to track two sets of data at once, using green and red lights, making it a lot more data-rich and accurate in other extrapolated metrics than lower-end watches.

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

There is a lack of altimeter and metrics to count the number of floors climbed which isn't a deal breaker, although that floors climbed alert is missed when you lose it as a daily measure of active movements.

Sleep data is helpful with REM, deep sleep and light sleep stages, along with pulse oximeter and breathing data for that night. All of that adds up to a competitive offering that gives lots of insight into sleep each morning. I enjoyed the Morning Report which showed changes if I had a poor night's sleep, had drank alcohol or was feeling under the weather.

Having music onboard the watch is a real appeal, as it means going out for exercise without your phone as you connect Bluetooth headphones directly to the watch.

While you can store music onboard, realistically most people will prefer to use Spotify or Deezer and simply save playlists offline on the device. You need a paid subscription to the streaming service in question for these features and the controls aren't great, but it does work and is welcome at this price point.

The Vivoactive 5 initially lacked Garmin Pay in the UK, but that has now rolled out so you can tap to pay and truly explore phone-free.

Notifications from your phone apps work well, with WhatsApp allowing you to read messages as you go without the phone being opened. The options are minimal so it's not an Apple Watch competitor in that way, but is useful enough to stop you reaching for your phone as much.

Apps offer some useful information on your wrist like the weather or sunset times or useful surf data. It's all basic but can be genuinely useful.

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

The Garmin Vivoactive 5's layout is modular, like other Garmins, so you can arrange to sort your most-used training profiles to the top of the menu, making getting started easy. But it can get cluttered with automatic recommendations, so it's best to put some time into tidying every now and then to make sure it's running at maximum efficiency.

Garmin says the Vivoactive 5 gets you 11 days on a charge, or six hours of GPS tracking with music or 18 hours without. In real world use that worked out to about a working week's worth of use with several GPS-tracked sessions, without music. That means going away for a weekend, with plenty of training, should mean you won't need to charge the watch until the middle of the following week. That's exactly what you want at this price point.

This is not the best Garmin for battery, by a long shot, but it does the job more than well enough while remaining extremely compact.

The charger uses a proprietary charger, which fits most Garmin devices and plugs into a USB-C port for a full charge in about an hour.

  • Performance score: 4/5
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5: Scorecard

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

You want a bit of everything

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 is great for an all round measure of health, fitness and lifestyle. This gives more than enough data to keep you healthy without overcomplicating things.

You're on a budget

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 is really affordable when you take into consideration how much you get for your money here, including that stunning AMOLED display.

Don't buy it if...

You have sports specific goals

If you want to drill into data to make sports progress using metrics then the Forerunner or Fenix series might serve you better, especially with Training Readiness features.

You want longer battery life

This does offer a powerful battery performance but there are far longer life options, some using solar, if that's your need.

Garmin Vivoactive 5: How we tested

Our reviewer wore the Garmin Vivoactive 5 as his primary smartwatch for over two weeks, and it accompanied him on some trips as well as during regular workouts. It was paired to a iPhone 15 Pro Max for the majority of the testing.

The tracking results were compared to historical results from the Garmin Forerunner 965 and Wahoo Tickr, as well as the built-in step counter on the smartphone to assess accuracy.

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Also consider

Garmin Vivoactive 5 just one of many considerations for you? Here's a trio of suggestions to look into:

Polar Vantage V2

A great multi-sport option perfect for runners. It doesn't hold music, but it can offer very sophisticated metrics and boasts an advanced suite of running features.

Read our full Polar Vantage V2 review

Garmin Forerunner 265

The more entry-level, cheaper Forerunner in Garmin's stable offers a great package of its key running features, plus one of it holds music. A great alternative for serious runners.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 265 review

First reviewed: June 2024

Garmin Forerunner 165 hands-on review: the more affordable Forerunner hits its stride early
3:04 pm | February 20, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Smartwatches | Tags: | Comments: Off

Garmin Forerunner 165: One minute review

The Garmin Forerunner 165 fills a necessary gap in its best running watches line. The very cheap Garmin Forerunner 45 and 55 watches are getting quite old, and the next stage up, the Garmin Forerunner 265 and Garmin Forerunner 965 watches, are much more expensive. So it’s nice to have an option in between those, even though we’d like to see a cheaper Forerunner 65 appear eventually. 

Starting at $299.99 / £249.99 (with Australia pricing TBC), the Forerunner 165 is a middle-ground option that retains a lot of what makes the premium Forerunners really good training companions. It’s got the AMOLED touchscreen, the ace Morning Report feature introduced in last year’s Garmin Forerunner 955, and Nap Detection as introduced in the Garmin Venu 3. 

You can also create Courses in the Garmin Connect app and sync them directly to the watch, and you get race-adaptive training plans, which suggest workouts based on historic exercise and recovery data. The design, meanwhile, is very reminiscent of the Forerunner 265, right down to the profile and the redesigned ‘run’ button. The whole thing is very appealing, especially at a reduced price point, offering genuine value in terms of features. 

In order to achieve this, Garmin has made a few small sacrifices, such as using chemically strengthened glass for the screen instead of the 265’s stronger Gorilla Glass. The battery is a bit smaller than the 265's, and the watch has 4GB of storage instead of 8GB. It’s also missing a few features, such as the very useful Training Readiness score evolution of Garmin’s Body Battery feature, multi-band GPS (a big loss for a running watch) and compatibility with cycling power meters. 

Garmin Forerunner 165: Price and availability

Garmin Forerunner 165

(Image credit: Future)
  • $299.99 / £249.99 / AU$ TBC
  • In comparison, the Forerunner 265 is $449 / £429 / AU$770
  • Music version costs extra

The Garmin Forerunner 165 is available now, priced at $299.99 / £249.99 / AU TBC. It’s good value, considering the 265 is much more expensive at $449 / £429 / AU$770. The older 255 is available for considerably less than the 265 these days, but you don’t get the Training Readiness score, nicer AMOLED screen or redesigned chassis. 

The Garmin Forerunner 165 Music, which allows you to download and store songs and playlists from Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music, costs $349.99 / £289.99.

Garmin Forerunner 165: Design

Garmin Forerunner 165

(Image credit: Matt Evans)
  • Similar chassis as the 265
  • Light and attractive 
  • Bright screen

As mentioned, the Garmin Forerunner 165 shares a lot of DNA with the other Forerunners in the range. The classic Garmin five-button configuration is here, with the three buttons on the right-hand side used to navigate up and down, or wake the watch’s screen when its motion detector isn’t active. On the left are two more buttons: a start/stop button (labelled ‘run’ on the Forerunner series) and a back button for cancelling options or manually marking laps during a workout. It’s a tried and tested formula at this point, and Garmin isn't reinventing the wheel here. 

The 1.2-inch AMOLED display is just as vibrant and bright as it is on the premium Epix Pro, which costs more than three times as much. However, Garmins are still training tools first and smartwatches second, and as such the 165 doesn’t have the smooth refresh rate that you might expect from, for example, the best Apple Watches. Nor does it have a more expensive-feeling metal backing: it’s all plastic and silicone, with the exception of the chemically-strengthened glass screen. There's no durable but pricey Gorilla Glass here, which is one of the sacrifices made to keep the Forerunner 165 at a cheaper price point. Still, it’s light and comfortable on my wrist, and it looks and feels good. 

The user experience is the same as with most modern Garmin watches, with their list of widgets which you can easily navigate using either the touchscreen or the five-button system. It’s easily customizable, allowing you to add or reorder widgets as you see fit from Garmin’s library to tailor the watch to your own training style. 

Garmin Connect is also one of the most comprehensive companion apps in the business, with a complex design that does require scratching the surface a little, revealing a wealth of depth and potential to elevate your training. I’ll go into this more in the Features section, but nothing’s changed here: if you liked the way previous Garmin watches operate, you’ll like this watch. 

Garmin Forerunner 165: Features

Garmin Forerunner 165

(Image credit: Future)
  • Wrist-based running power
  • Morning report and Garmin Coach are great additions
  • No multi-band GPS or Training Readiness score

Garmin has added a lot of features here that I wasn’t necessarily expecting at this price point, such as wrist-based running power. ‘Power’ is an alternative method of calculating your effort that represents the total energy you’re able to put out, not just how fast your heart is beating or estimating how many calories you’ve burned. You used to need a specialist runner’s power meter measure this, as you can do for cycling, but Garmin has cracked the ability to show this number from your wrist. 

Other features include the very useful Morning Report, which tells you how well-recovered you are and recommends a workout based on this stat; Course creation; and Garmin Coach, which can generate basic training plans depending on your goals. However, there's no Training Readiness score, which more accurately tells you how well you've recovered from your last workout, and this omission casts initial doubts on the accuracy of the Morning Report. 

Another feature sorely missed here is multi-band GPS, which would have ensured greater accuracy when measuring speed and distance on runs. GPS is Garmin’s great selling point, so not providing the best is a missed opportunity, even at this price point. 

However, at this lower cost, those interested in buying the Forerunner 165 are probably enthusiast runners who don’t care about pinpoint accuracy, and just want a good estimation. If that’s you, the loss of multi-band shouldn’t worry you too much, and the 165 is still shaping up to be a great running watch.

You do have to pay a premium for the Music version, which allows you to listen to your playlists by connecting your headphones to the watch directly, without using your phone. The Music version also offers guided workouts and performance alerts right from your watch to your headphones, which is very useful for adjusting your pace en route. 

Garmin Forerunner 165: Early verdict

Garmin's latest running watch is shaping up to be a good buy. There's not much new here to critique in terms of the metrics Garmin is offering, and it is a little bit light and feels "toyish" thanks to the use of plastic instead of the tougher polymer used on more premium watches. However, it doesn't feel flimsy, and for under $300 / £250, it's a great way to grab a Forerunner at a reasonable price. 

At present, I can see it being outdone by rivals such as the Coros Pace 3, which is also a plastic watch that's full of advanced features at a similar price point, but I can’t wait to dive into testing the GPS, advanced running features and battery life to measure it against that standard.

Polar Vantage V3 review: This incredible GPS watch would have been 2023’s best all-round fitness watch, beating Garmin and Apple, if it wasn’t for one small detail
6:30 pm | December 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Smartwatches | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Polar Vantage V3: One minute review

The Polar Vantage V3 is the update to Polar’s flagship premium multisports watch, which launched back in 2020. So we’ve waited a few years for its successor and Polar has rewarded that wait with some big features.

The headline addition might be the new AMOLED screen, but Polar has also introduced its new Elixir biosensor that can now deliver blood oxygen, skin temperature and heart rate via ECG to arm you with more metrics. It’s also adding offline maps and dual-frequency GPS to deliver more accurate outdoor data.

While the Vantage V2 was a solid offering from Polar, the Vantage V3 sees things step up a notch and it now feels like a better match for the competition. It's meriting an inclusion in our best running watch guide. 

I’m still not entirely convinced its core heart rate powers are the best, but the Vantage V3 is definitely a multisports watch that stands out for all the right reasons.

Polar Vantage V3: Specifications

Polar Vantage V3: Price and availability

Polar Vantage V3

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)
  • $599.90 in the US
  • £519 in the UK
  • $899 in Australia

The Polar Vantage V3 was announced in October 2023 and is available to buy now directly from Polar and a small collection of retailers currently. It has a current RRP of £519 in the UK, $599.90 in the US and $899 when purchasing it in Australia, around the same asking price as the Garmin Forerunner 965.

  • Value score: 4/5

Polar Vantage V3: Design and screen

  • New AMOLED touchscreen
  • Heavier than Vantage V2
  • Nicely textured buttons

The Vantage V3 is Polar’s performance watch, so unlike its Grit series, it’s offering high grade materials, all while keeping things relatively light and comfortable to wear day and night.

It still measures in with a 47mm case like the V2 but is now thicker at 14.5mm compared to the 13mm thick case on the Vantage V2. It’s also got heavier, jumping from 52g to 57g. Those changes ultimately don’t alter the experience of strapping the V3 on. It’s still a pretty sleek-looking watch with aluminium in the case and the bezel to give it an attractive metallic frame.

The strap attached to that case is a workout-friendly silicone one, though you wouldn’t think it at first glance as Polar has clearly tried to give it the appearance of a traditional watch strap. I’m not sure I entirely love the feel of it though as it sits very snug towards and can pull at hairs. Both strap and watch case are waterproof up to 50 metres depth, which does mean you can use it in water but is a downgrade on the stronger 100 metre waterproofing available on the V2.

Around that aluminium case lies five physical buttons and they still have that nicely textured finish that makes them nice to press, even with sweaty or wet fingers. That surrounds a 1.39-inch, 454 x 454 resolution AMOLED touchscreen with Gorilla Glass on top to protect it against scratches. Along with the added pop of colour it’s a bigger display, and while there is a thin black bezel around the edge it’s well hidden by Polar’s predominantly black coloured watch faces.

It's a great AMOLED panel, with deep blacks, good max brightness and I’ve had no issues viewing it indoors, outdoors or in a swimming pool. The screen can be kept always-on with the raise to wake gesture support not as responsive as I’d have liked. What is nicely responsive is the software running on the V3. It’s slick, doesn’t lag and is a massive improvement on the experience of interacting with its predecessor.

When you need to charge it Polar includes a proprietary charging cable that clips into the port just below that new sensor array. It’s not the most secure of charging setups, and you just need to be mindful it’s out of the way of anything that might knock it out of place.

  •  Design score: 4.5/5 

Polar Vantage V3: Features

Polar Vantage V3

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)
  • Dual-frequency GPS
  • Free offline maps
  • Elixir sensor array

The Vantage V3 takes everything that was good on the V2 and aims to make improvements in some pretty important departments.

On the tracking front, Polar’s introduced dual-frequency GPS to enhance outdoor tracking accuracy for activities like running, when using the watch near tall buildings, in bad weather or densely forested areas. It’s now also adding free offline maps to join the existing turn-by-turn guidance offered by the Komoot app support.

There’s still over 150 sports profiles offered and Polar is bolstering one sport in particular, promising additional swim metrics including automatically detecting swimming style.

Around the back of the watch is where you’ll find Polar’s new Elixir sensor array, which sees a change in the design of the optical setup that’s now capable of capturing blood oxygen, skin temperature, take ECG heart rate measurements, with the upgraded Gen 4 version of Polar’s optical heart rate sensor also in tow.

Polar continues to offer rich sleep and training features, so you’re still getting access to its Training Load Pro and Recovery Pro insights, with Polar’s FitSpark suggested daily workouts and FuelWise fueling reminders for endurance athletes also still on board. It’s added the voice guidance support from the Ignite 3 along with the Work-Rest-Guide, which uses heart rate data to dictate when you should rest between workout sets.

On the smartwatch front, Polar still keeps things simple once again, offering the ability to view your notifications, change watch faces and control music playback on your paired smartphone. The added AMOLED screen and boost in CPU performance certainly makes these features much nicer to use day-to-day.

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Polar Vantage V3: Performance

Polar Vantage V3

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)
  • Welcome dual-frequency GPS accuracy boost
  • Heart rate still so-so
  • Delivers good battery life and overall performance

The V3 is Polar’s premium multisports watch, so it’s giving you the best the company has to offer in watch features. It’s bringing in the dual-band GPS support it debuted on the Polar Ignite 3, it’s boosting the mapping and navigation features it introduced on its Grit outdoor watch and the new Elixir sensor aims to offer boost in accuracy to improve the reliability of sports, wellness and sleep tracking.

Polar’s dual frequency GPS, which like Apple, Garmin and Suunto among others, means the V3 can use the L1 and L5 frequency bands to enhance positioning tracking accuracy. I wasn’t massively impressed with it on the Ignite 3 where Polar first introduced it, but it’s certainly more reliable here on the V3. I’ve been using it alongside Garmin and Suunto’s similar modes and while just slightly off on the distance tracking compared to the Garmin and Suunto, it wasn’t enough to cause any concern. Mapped routes inside the Polar Flow app didn’t raise any alarms either.

Polar says it’s also boosted the swimming metrics on offer, so I hit the pool along with the Form Swim Goggles and Garmin Forerunner 965, two swim trackers I know deliver good tracking accuracy in the water. Despite delivering good core swim data, I can’t say I saw anything particularly groundbreaking here. You’ll get quickest pace and average pace stats along with average and max cadence metrics and that’s really about it.

Then there’s the reliability of that new Elixir sensor, which promises an upgraded optical heart rate sensor, though I can’t say the accuracy has been massively upgraded for me. Even on steady paced workouts I found the optical heart rate sensor tended to report lower average heart rate readings and maximum heart rate readings seemed higher against a heart rate monitor chest strap. It’s not a terrible performer, but it’s also not the best performance I’ve seen from a wrist-based heart rate monitor. If in doubt, pair up an external heart rate monitor.

Polar’s Elixr sensor array also brings new blood oxygen tracking, skin temperature tracking at night, and ECG measurements when you hold your finger on the top physical button for 30 seconds. All of these new metrics place the onus on your simply tracking and analyzing trends, which can help you decide whether you should be taking it easy or you’re in good shape to have a strenuous day. 

That insight also works in tandem with Polar’s rich sleep tracking, something that does separate it from the sports watch competition. Along with core sleep tracking stats, it’s offering you nightly recharge measurements, nightly skin temperature and the boost from sleep insights, which feels similar to Garmin’s Body Battery energy monitor. Crucially, the sleep data is some of the most reliable I’ve come across on a watch and it held up well against the Oura Ring Gen 3’s great sleep tracking.

Another big positive is that unlike previous Polar watches, comprehensive sleep tracking doesn't show a huge drain on battery, which on the whole, is a big improvement on the Vantage V2. There’s now a bigger 488mAh capacity battery, which Polar says can last for up to 12 days in its daily watch mode and 61 hours in training mode, up from 40 hours. I found the Vantage V3 could last a week with regular tracking using the top GPS accuracy mode. When you opt to keep the screen set to always-on, you’re going to get less than 5 days, and using features like GPS will see a further dent too.

  • Performance score: 4.5/5

Polar Vantage V3: Scorecard

Polar Vantage V3: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Garmin Forerunner 965

Garmin's top-tier running watch, now with an AMOLED screen.

Read our Garmin Forerunner 965 review hereView Deal

Apple Watch Ultra 2

The best running and adventuring watch for Apple users and weekend warriors.

Read our Apple Watch Ultra 2 review hereView Deal

Garmin Forerunner 965 review: That AMOLED screen brings it all together –watch out Apple
6:00 pm | October 29, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Smartwatches | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Garmin Forerunner 965: One minute review

This is the watch that takes one of the best Apple watch features and adds it to Garmin – that stunning AMOLED display. Yet, this manages to offer at least five days more battery life than almost any of the other competition with the same display.

To be clear, this model comes as a screen upgrade following the release of the very similar Forerunner 955, nine months before. So while the upgrades from that to this aren't huge, it's worth noting that the model was a near-perfect jump forward anyway. Add this screen and it's a real heavy hitter. Garmin also released the Forerunner 265 alongside this model, also packing an AMOLED screen but at a lower price point.

For anyone who wants one of the best multisport watches you can buy, the 965 is – as you can see from the star rating – where it's at. As such the price is representative of what you get, meaning it's high.

For what you get this justifies that cost, as this review will clarify. In short, it's got astonishing battery performance, a beautiful display, super accurate location and heart rate tracking plus lots of other smart metrics including new running dynamics without the need for an extra sensor. This is one of the best Garmin watches, so is this the ultimate sports watch?

Garmin Forerunner 965: Specifications

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Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

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Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Forerunner 965: Price and Availability

  • £600 in the UK 
  • $600 in the US
  • AU$999 in Australia

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is definitely one of the more expensive options from the company but that's because it comes packing all the best features rolled into one wonder device. As such you're looking at a price of US$600 / £600 / AU$999.

Of course these are the at-launch prices, so you can expect these to drop as new models come out. It's also worth taking sales into consideration as you can often find deals on even the best Garmin models during these times.

That said, you may find that the Garmin Forerunner 955, which is nearly identical aside from that screen upgrade, can be had at a cheaper price. And if you go for the 955 Solar you'll get a bit more out of your battery performance too.

  •  Value score: 4/5 

Garmin Forerunner 965: Design and screen

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
  • 1.4-inch AMOLED display
  • Titanium bezel
  • Comfy silicone strap, 22mm QuickFit compatible

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is all about that superb 1.4-inch AMOLED display which looks superb. It's not only rich with colors and crisp definition between light and dark, but it also has a fantastic 454 x 454-pixel resolution, plus it's super bright. 

All that equates to a screen you can read in any light or situation – including underwater – with lots of data at a glance. You can also activate the always-on display and since this is super low energy consuming that won't even affect battery life much.

Plus it's all coated in a Gorilla Glass DX outer layer which should mean it stays scratch-free too. In our months of using this, including throwing it in bags, there's not a mark on it.

Upgraded from the previous generation is the bezel too, which is now made of lightweight and hardy titanium. This is the metal they put in your body if you have an operation – as it's so nonreactive and won't be affected by moisture – meaning this should stay in perfect condition longer than you're alive.

The strap comes in three options Amp Yellow/Black, Black/Powder Grey, or Whitestone/Powder Grey. In all cases, there is a double clasp, malleable and comfy silicone strap and it can be swapped out as it uses the Garmin 22mm QuickFit system. 

Since everything is waterproof to 50 meters it's also super simple to give it a clean by washing under the tap or in the shower – which in reviewing for months was found to keep it looking as good as new.

  • Design score: 5/5

Garmin Forerunner 965: Features

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
  • Offline maps
  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Contactless payments

The Garmin Forerunner 965 crams in nearly all the best features developed over the years, making this a powerhouse of a sports watch. That means it'll track most sports, with over 30 including triathlon and multisport-specific tracking with one-touch transitions. But it does all this with lots and lots of data.

Of course, you have the ever-impressive accuracy of the Garmin when it comes to multi-GNSS GPS but this also packs in heart rate monitoring which offers Heart Rate Variability, VO2 Max, stress tracking, sleep tracking, all-day HR tracking, and more. 

All that means lots of data to work with, not only while training, but also to help advise when you need to rest and even make suggestions on workouts to hit goals. This includes last year's Training Readiness score, recovery times, workload readouts, race predictions (a nifty running feature that uses your training to predict what time you'll get during a marathon, half-marathon, 10k etc), and more. 

That's a whole list of features and it can seem overwhelming, but the watch and Garmin Connect app do feed it to you in a way that is helpful. You can then decide to add more data or strip it back as needed to suit your workout style and goals.

You also have some great day-to-day functionality with contactless pay, onboard Spotify music, offline maps, find my phone, flashlight screen feature, sleep tracking, step tracking and plenty more to be found in the IQ App Store. This isn't comparable to Apple or Android app stores, so don't expect full smartwatch functionality. But it's enough to keep you focused while also being alerted when needed.

Everything can be organized well, and that means moving icons about on your watch or using folders, but also in data screens when training. Everything can be made bespoke, even the clock face, to suit what data you need to see. Plus you've now got more data options than ever, but more on that in the next section.

  • Features score: 5/5

Garmin Forerunner 965: Performance

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Future)
  • Accurate heart rate data
  • Superb running metrics
  • Useful VO2 data

The Garmin Forerunner 965 sounds fantastic when you look at the specs but did that actually translate into real-world performance experience? The short answer is yes. As you can expect from Garmin, the GPS accuracy was fantastic as was acquisition – in fact, this would find satellites and be ready to go in just a few seconds. This was tested all over the country, and in one rural area, it found GPS and was ready to go in just two seconds. 

The only issue noticed was at the start of the Great North Run annual race, where my data was different to others running right next to me, but that could be down to their older watches versus this more accurate one.

Heart rate tracking was as impressive. When tested against a dedicated chest strap (Wahoo Tickr) it was found to keep up accurately, although, of course, there was a little more lag in sudden HR changes, since this is on your wrist not right by your heart. Even while swimming this offered excellent heart rate tracking which could actually be used thanks to that easy-to-glance-at display.

So a very accurate GPS and a reliable HR monitor all make for lots of data that can then be used with Garmin algorithms to work out more useful metrics. As such this watch offers Heart Rate Variability, so you can see how your actual cardiovascular fitness is changing as you train. There's a VO2 Max measurement to assess how well you can perform under strain. 

Plus, you have acute load measured to assess the impact on your muscles as you work. All that means the watch will let you know when to rest, and what training you need (cardio versus weights, for example) so you get to where you need.

Battery life is also worth a mention as this offers a massive 23 days on standby, 31 hours in GPS mode, and 10.5 hours with GPS and music playing. All that translates to a charge very rarely, even if you train a lot. So you won't need to take a charger if going away for a race weekend, for example. Plus it charges ridiculously fast, up to a percentage a minute.

This could go on for thousands of words, such is the depth of this watch. But just to mention this model adds in running dynamics without the need for an extra sensor. So you can now check your vertical oscillation, cadence, stride length, ground contact time, and more to improve running in a really effective way. Sleep tracking worked relatively well although its accuracy wasn't always spot on, but enough so as to help track if you're recovered and ready to workout again.

You also get smartphone notifications for WhatsApp, calls, messages, emails, calendar, Ring doorbell, and plenty more to make it a smartwatch of sorts, only kept to a minimum so you're not too distracted from its primary use as a training tool.

  • Performance score: 5/5

Garmin Forerunner 965: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Garmin Forerunner 965: How we tested

We wore the Garmin Forerunner 965 on one wrist, connected to an Android device, for months. This came on half marathons, long bike rides, swims, surfs, walks, yoga classes, weights sessions, paddle boarding and more.

The contactless payment features and wireless offline Spotify were both used plenty as was sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring in cold water baths, notifications from the phone and more.

In short this was lived with 24/7 for months to truly test how you would use the watch, and all its features.

Garmin Forerunner 965: Also consider

First reviewed: October 2023

Garmin Forerunner 965 and 265 finally come with AMOLED screens
6:40 pm | March 3, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Garmin introduced the new Forerunner 965 and Forerunner 265 smartwatches with one major improvement - the screens are now AMOLED, moving away from the transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) solution. According to the official numbers, the 900-series flagship could live 23 days on a single charge, while the 200-series should offer up to 15 days. The Garmin Forerunner 965 is targeted toward elite athletes. The new type of display is just one of the changes; other features include a new titanium bezel, a slightly thinner body and a 1.4” (35.4 mm) screen. Standalone GPS, detailed heart rate...

Garmin Forerunner 265S review
4:14 pm | March 2, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

This is an early review of the Garmin Forerunner 255S. We've only spent around an hour with the watch, so stand by for a more comprehensive full review in a few weeks' time. 

The Garmin Forerunner 265S, alongside its siblings the Garmin Forerunner 965 and Garmin Forerunner 265, has only just been announced at the time of writing. However, given that the watches are essentially last year's world-class Forerunners with updated screens and added features, I feel quite confident they'll earn their places on our best Garmin watches list – as long as the screen doesn't impact the watch's battery performance beyond what's listed. 

Garmin's beautiful new AMOLED touchscreen is on par with any other smartwatch you care to mention, even the best Apple Watch, and still measures battery life in days and weeks rather than hours. The Garmin Forerunner 265S purports to have 13 days of life in smartwatch mode, and up to 25 hours in GPS mode. Time will tell if that's accurate. 

Otherwise, there are a few differences beyond the screen that separates the Forerunner 265S from its predecessor, the Garmin Forerunner 255S. There's no dedicated 'music' model to signify that the watch has music storage: that's now baked-in to every model in the updated Forerunner line. It's also got the Training Readiness score previously available to the 955, which we'll dive into later in this review. 

Garmin Forerunner 265S: Price and availability

  • $449 in the US
  • £429 in the UK
  • Australia pricing TBC

The Garmin Forerunner 265S is priced at $449 in the US, and £429 in the UK. We'll have pricing information for Australia as soon as possible, but the Garmin Forerunner 265S will be available in all three markets, just like the rest of Garmin's flagship range. 

At present, the watch is available from the Garmin website

Garmin Forerunner 265

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Forerunner 265S: Design

  • Screen looks great, with only slight judders
  • Gorilla Glass means it's as rugged as ever
  • New, larger 'run' button easier to operate mid-workout

The watch is only slightly bigger than the 255S was, at 42mm (well, 41.7) compared the older model's 41mm. The screen is eye-popping and absolutely gorgeous: 360 x 360 AMOLED, with a Corning Gorilla Glass lens to ensure the watch stays rugged and hard-wearing enough to survive adventures and triathlons with peace of mind. 

Scrolling through the screens, it's not quite as smooth as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but considering it's got around five times the battery life, I can forgive a slight bit of motion blur.  You can see the AMOLED next to the old memory-in-pixel format below, side-by-side with the Garmin Fenix 6X:

Garmin Forerunner 265

(Image credit: Future)

The watch packs a slightly redesigned titanium case and bezel, complete with the larger start-stop button in the top right, appropriately redesigned as a 'run' button. Even though the other buttons are unchanged, the larger profile of your 'main' button is going to make operating the watch quickly during a workout a breeze, even while wearing gloves. It's more or less the only functionality I use on most runs, unless I need to scroll through my navigation options.

The larger start/stop button reminds me of the Apple Watch Ultra's Action Button, which protrudes from the case to operate on the same principle. I think we're seeing a trend forming among fitness watches right now, and I wouldn't be surprised to see other brands follow suit.

Otherwise, the watch comes with new faces such as the one shown, which takes full advantage of the updated screen and the new ability to tap on a feature to bring up the appropriate widget. Scrolling through your options using the up and down buttons on the watch's left-hand-side will be familiar to anyone who's ever used a Garmin watch before: there's no reinventing the wheel here. It's a brighter version of the 255.

The whitestone color I was able to get my hands on is complemented by those lime-green undertones in the band, which extends to the underlay in the recesses of the run button. It's a neat design choice, and I think the watch looks great.

Garmin Forerunner 265S with redesigned run button

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Forerunner 265S: Features

  • Touchscreen is responsive
  • Training Readiness Score added
  • Music included
  • No topo maps

The 265S has a few new tricks, the touchscreen being first among them. This is only the second touchscreen that has arrived on the Forerunner series, the first being the Garmin Forerunner 955 last year. You can use the touchscreen to scroll up and down the list, rather than using the buttons, and a tap to hone in on different features, instead of using the start/stop button to select. But it's an option, not a requirement: if you're training hard, getting sweaty or wearing gloves, you'll default to using the buttons as normal.

The added Training Readiness score is a feature Garmin implemented last year, again on the 955, and it's good to see it filter down toward the smaller watches. An updated version of the Body Battery score, your Training Readiness score takes into account the intensity of your last few sessions of exercise, your sleep, heart rate, time elapsed between sessions, and so on. It then feeds you an updated score based on how ready for performance your body is likely to be.

It's a really useful feature, and I use it a lot on the 955. I'm currently training for my first marathon, so I use the Training Readiness score to understand how long it takes my body to recover from big runs so I can plan my tapering strategy ahead of race day. But the Training Readiness score was added to the Garmin Fenix 7 via a firmware update last year. Did we need a whole new watch for it this time?

The other nice thing about the 265 and 265S is that music is included as standard: on the previous models, we had the 255, 255 Music, 255S, and 255S Music. The 265 watches come with 8GB storage as standard, enough for plenty of music to see you through long races. 

Otherwise, the 265 doesn't seem to have actively lost any features per se, or slimmed down the number of its available widgets. VO2 max, weather and tide information, the 255's impressive running metrics, and Garmin's state-of-the-art GPS are all here. It's still an awesome watch that's only adding to the already-impressive chassis of the 255. But other than the above, it is the 255: a brighter, sleeker, more attractive version, but a 255 nonetheless. 

Garmin Forerunner 265

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Forerunner 255S: Early verdict

Garmin's new small Forerunner looks great. The 255 wasn't a bad-looking watch, but the 265S looks sporty and fun, with its two-tone redesign and bright, bold screen. It'll stand out on the wrist (although not in a bad way) and is easily seen in all the lighting conditions we've tested so far. The touchscreen is fun, and a good addition for anyone unused to the way Garmin's buttons work.

The Garmin Forerunner 265S has also added a smattering of new features, but not enough to differentiate it properly from the 255. It could have been called the Forerunner 255X or something and I wouldn't have batted an eyelid. But it's come so soon after the release of its predecessor – not even a year! – that there just hasn't been time for a real update of these watches. 

We're starting to get into Apple Watch territory here, with smaller, cosmetic updates designed to draw new customers in each year, rather than encourage existing ones to upgrade. It's a great watch, but one I couldn't recommend to existing Forerunner users because of how similar it is to last year.