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Garmin Forerunner 165 test: I prepared for a half marathon with it, my opinion

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A benchmark for sports watches, Garmin is best known for its very advanced models reserved for accomplished athletes. Unfortunately, not everyone is interested in products costing more than 500 euros, especially when you are starting a sporting activity like running. To meet this growing demand, the brand has just launched the Forerunner 165, a connected watch that aims to be simpler and more affordable, while retaining the features that have made the brand successful.

Sold at €279, this watch is Garmin's entry-level model. With such a device on your wrist, you can calmly embark on your sporting activity knowing that all the important data will be collected. That's exactly what I did.

During my test, I prepared for a half marathon with the Garmin watch on my wrist. She accompanied me everywhere, on the athletics track, during my long outings, but also on a daily basis for almost a month and over more than 70 kilometers. Here is my opinion on this Forerunner 165 after several weeks of use.

Before getting to the heart of the matter, I would like to come back to the use of this watch in my daily life. I've been wearing smartwatches for several years, so having a Forerunner 165 on my wrist wasn't a big change. I was still impatient to test this Garmin model which presents, on paper, a great technical sheet.

In addition to heart rate monitoring and other basic features (blood oxygen level measurement, pedometer, sleep analysis), the watch has quite “premium” options. which is rare to find on products at this price. I am thinking, for example, of intelligent nap detection, stress management or even VO2max.

Apart from my workouts, the watch tracked all this data while simply displaying my notifications or letting me have control of my music. Fairly simple features found on many other models, but which allow the watch to be used throughout the day (not just during training).

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The whole point of a Garmin watch is to play sports with it. It is in this area that this Forerunner 165 proves to be the most interesting. Concretely,what can you do with this watch on your wrist ? Pretty much everything.

The Forerunner 165 supports 25 different activities by default, but you can add more as you wish in the Garmin Connect app. Once the activity has started (in my case, mainly running), all the screens of the watch are customizable.

You can follow a workout with a pace or heart rate window. The watch then tells us the speed to maintain for a given duration. It is also possible to use the watch in “track” mode. for training in an athletics stadium. This feature is very useful for people who are preparing for a race and who need to run sessions with extremely precise distances.

During my preparation for the semi, I also tested the watch on a bike and in the swimming pool. In both situations, she proved to be a very good ally, providing important information at a glance. Small downside however when measuring lengths in the pool: the watch sometimes added movements or entire lengths to my training. A problem that I had also encountered in the past with an Apple Watch.

By looking in detail at the technical sheet of this Forerunner 165, we learn that the GPS is “only” configured. on the L1 frequency. Without going into too technical details, this means that the position is given to within 22 meters. This doesn't make a big difference on a running trip. Compared to a device with a GPS L1+L5 (the best available today) which offers an outing of 10 kilometers completely, a GPS L1 alone also tends to vary by more or less 5% around this distance.

A slight lack of precision which is completely understandable when you have a product costing less than 300 euros in your hands, more than half as much as the most high-end models on the market.

Garmin Forerunner 165 test: I prepared for a half marathon with it, my opinion

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For the rest of the technical characteristics of this watch, the bet is more than met. Garmin promises us a very good quality product perfect for beginners, and that's exactly how I would have defined the watch as well. All the basic functionalities are there and the customization possibilities allow you to go quite far in your user experience without having to change models.

L’autonomy is also among the other strong points of this watch. The Forerunner 165 far exceeds 7 days and even reaches 10 depending on how you use it.

The screen is also a great success. This watch has a high quality AMOLED panel. Although the borders are quite imposing, which is no longer really fashionable today, the Forerunner 165 remains very easy to use. The presence of physical buttons, although aesthetically questionable (we will come back to this just below) is a real plus for use, particularly in swimming pools.

As I said just above, the watch has a unique design to say the least. There is no question here of having an elegant screen without square edges like on the Apple Watch. The whole point of a sports watch is to take good measurements and display them as easily as possible.

The physical buttons may seem a little old, just like this rather imposing chassis, but during a session on the track, where lucidity is not always there, it is very practical to know that you can end your activity in one click.

Finally, a few words about the Garmin Connect companion app. This application is central in the collection of data and personalization of the watch, but it is also a real labyrinth for beginners. It brings together options such as data synchronization and the history of sports sessions. It also allows you to program workouts from the application.

Although Garmin Connect was recently updated to make it simpler (finally), everything is not yet perfect and you have to be patient to succeed in finding the option you are looking for.< /p>

Garmin Forerunner 165 test: I prepared for a half marathon with it, my opinion

© Garmin

In conclusion, the Garmin Forerunner 165 is really a very good watch that I recommend to anyone looking for a first model to put on their wrist. If it is not designed for everyday life, it has the essentials.

For people who are setting themselves a sporting challenge, this is the almost perfect product. The watch is durable, easy to use and at the same time complete enough to follow you throughout your progress. While its price may already seem like a huge investment, the Forerunner 165 is not a device whose limits you reach after three running outings.

It is entirely possible to start exercising with this watch on your wrist and then continue as your level increases. The perfect connected watch for beginner athletes with bigger ambitions.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116