Garmin Forerunner 265s Review: Perfectly built for athletes, but not the one for me
Garmin recently launched its latest smartwatch, the Garmin Forerunner 265s, offering all the bells and whistles that are expected in a smartwatch. But should you go for it, especially at such a hefty price? Know it in our review.
When it comes to gadgets that are essential for athletes, Garmin has been one of the biggest names with the best products. Be it smart monitors, bike sensors, or smart bands, it is one of the top brands preferred by almost everyone. Interestingly, Garmin also has a presence in the smartwatch market with various offerings for different purposes. I recently reviewed the Garmin Instinct Crossover and although the smartwatch had a plethora of fitness and health-tracking features, it left a lot to be desired for smartwatch users that are not interested in active sports, but are looking for a simple day-to-day companion.
Garmin recently launched its latest Forerunner series with Forerunner 965, Forerunner 265, and Forerunner 265s on offer. While the Forerunner 965 is the high-end model, the 265 and 265s are slightly cheaper alternatives for those who want a smartwatch with every fitness tracker feature without having to shell out the big bucks.
I spent nearly 2 weeks with the Garmin Forerunner 265s and although it has all the fitness and health tracking features you could ask for, it still isn't a smartwatch for someone like me. And here is why.
Garmin Forerunner 265s Design
Let me just say that the Garmin Forerunner 265s has been a breath of fresh air as compared to the last Garmin smartwatch I tried when it comes to design -the Garmin Instinct Crossover. The Forerunner 265 now gets an AMOLED always-on display offering vivid visuals and punchy colours and is a major step up from the memory-in-pixel display of its predecessor. There's a touch screen now and although it is a great addition, it still isn't as smooth as compared to the Apple Watch Ultra or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The Forerunner 265s comes with additional watch faces as well as the ability to tap on a widget to open up that specific activity window.
At 41mm, it is just slightly bigger than the Forerunner 255s but weighs exactly the same. There is Corning Gorilla Glass on top and a 5 ATM water rating, both of which ensure that the watch stays damage-free even during the most intense exercise sessions. As is the case with Garmin, you get a 5-button configuration with 3 on the left and two on the right. There's a dedicated Run button now which acts much like the action button on the Apple Watch Ultra and can be pressed easily even while wearing gloves. Garmin makes one of the most comfortable smartwatch straps and it is the same with Garmin Forerunner 265s as it did not feel comfortable on my wrist even during a long day of wearing it that included gym sessions and a football match.
Garmin Forerunner 265s Performance
Now I've never been an avid hiker, swimmer, or professional sports player so I can't judge on those metrics. But what I can say is that Garmin sensors are one of the most consistent I've found on a smartwatch. I had the same experience when I tested the Garmin Instinct Crossover and it is the same with Forerunner 265s. It is packed with tons of fitness and health monitoring features such as SpO2 monitoring, 24x7 heart-rate monitoring, HRV status, VO2 Max tracking, fitness age calculation, training status, step counter, and body battery, all of which are pretty accurate.
It is also one of the best outdoor smartwatches with features like Multiband-GNSS support, TracBack, barometer, compass, and Garmin Pay. The Forerunner 265s is also equipped with the Incident Detection feature which, like the Fall Detection feature on Apple Watch, uses the watch's sensors to detect if you've experienced an accident while participating in an outdoor activity, and it notifies emergency contacts through SMS or email.
One of the major complaints I had with the Instinct Crossover was that you couldn't store music onboard, but you can with the Forerunner 265s as you get 4GB onboard storage to store offline music. Having said that, the TopoActive maps feature is a big miss here that could have eased running through trails and forest a bit easier with a better view of the terrain.
Garmin Forerunner 265s Battery life
Garmin smartwatches offer some of the longest battery life in the market and that is valid here too. While it isn't as impressive as the unlimited battery life on the Instinct Crossover Solar, it can still last up to 13 days in smartwatch mode and 20 hours in GPS mode. Although numbers on paper can be deceiving, the Forerunner 265s hits those figures in daily use.
Garmin Forerunner 265s: Should you buy it?
After spending a couple of weeks with the Garmin Forerunner 265s, I've found that it has everything you could ask for in a smartwatch - accurate sensors, a touchscreen display, long battery life, and easy to wear. But, it still is something that I would not buy unless I have the specific need for it. It is the perfect smartwatch for those who are thrill-seekers or are into active sports, but people who simply use smartwatches for taking on calls, and reading messages during the day will look for other options, especially due to the hefty price of Rs. 50490, at which you can also get the Apple Watch Series 8 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.
- Accurate health and fitness trackers
- Crisp AMOLED display
- Great battery life
- Overwhelming UI
Water resistance5 ATM
Battery lifeUp to 13 days