The Garmin Forerunner 935 is an excellent multisport GPS built primarily for triathletes.
Even though it was arguably one of the best triathlon watches in the world at one point, the reality is that the number of suitable alternatives has grown overtime.
The goal of this post is to explore the best Forerunner 935 alternatives, showcasing products with similar capabilities, and reasonably similar prices. Some of the options are more expensive, and some of them are a bit cheaper.
Then just before we dive in, it’s worth clarifying that all the options in this post have triathlon capabilities. That is a fundamental requirement for a watch to be considered a suitable alternative to the Forerunner 935. Now let’s get stuck in.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT
The Garmin Foreunner 735XT is basically a more budget friendly version of the Foreunner 935. It has similar triathlon capabilities, and it’s generally pretty easy to find a good deal on this watch. The only slight drawback is the 14 hour GPS battery life.
Garmin Forerunner 945
The Garmin Foreruner 945 is the official update to the Forerunner 935. It has a lot more technical features like music storage, body battery score, pulse oximeter and a significantly longer battery life.
Personally, I would probably go for the FR945 over all the other options in this list. It gives you pretty much all the technology and features that Garmin has to offer, in a good looking watch, without costing as much as the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus or the Garmin Fenix 6.
Garmin Fenix 5 (Original)
From a technical standpoint, the Forerunner 935 and the original Fenix 5 are extremely similar.
The construction materials of the Fenix 5 are a bit tougher, and that’s the main reason it’s more expensive.
With that being said, the price of the original Fenix 5 has dropped quite a bit over the last couple of years, so you can probably find a decent deal on this watch if you do some deal hunting.
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
Although we are getting into a price bracket which is much more expensive than the Forerunner 935, it’s worth mentioning that the Fenix 5 Plus can do everything that the FR935 can, plus a whole lot more.
Furthermore, because the Fenix 5 Plus is no longer the latest model in the Fenix range, you might be able to find a decent deal on Amazon, depending on the time of the year.
Garmin Fenix 6
At the very top of the Garmin triathlon watch range we have the Garmin Fenix 6. Admittedly the Fenix 6 is significantly more expensive than the Forerunner 935. However, if you want the best watch that Garmin has to offer at this moment in time, the Fenix 6 is at the very top of the pile.
Polar Vantage M
The Polar Vantage M is arguably the best ‘value for money’ triathlon watch in the world right now.
It might not have all the bells and whistles that the Forerunner 935 has, but it functions exceptionally well as a sports watch. If you are a hardcore endurance athlete, you should give serious consideration to the Polar Vantage M.
Polar Vantage V
The Polar Vantage V is essentially the upgraded version of the Polar Vantage M. The main difference is that it has a built-in barometric altimeter, and it can measure running power from the wrist.
For super passionate triathletes, it’s hard to ignore the Vantage V. It doesn’t come much better than this from and endurance sport tracking perspective. Polar flow is excellent, running power from the wrist is awesome, and Polar’s
Suunto Spartan Trainer
If you’re looking for a budget friendly triathlon watch from a tried and trusted wearable tech brand, you have to consider the Suunto Spart Trainer Wrist HR.
It tracks all the disciplines of a triathlon with ease, and it even earned a glowing recommendation from DCRainmaker after it’s release in 2017.
“They’ve nailed it. Hits the target audience perfectly, and does so at an awesome price” – DC Rainmaker
The only slight drawback of the Suunto Spartan Trainer is that the optical (wrist-based) heart rate only switches on when you are tracking exercises.
The Suunto 5 is the official upgrade to the Suunto Spartan Trainer. The main improvements are:
- Significantly improved battery life
- 24/7 Heart Rate Tracking
- Enhanced design
- Fitness level tracking (V02 Max)
- Adaptive training guides
Suunto 9 Baro
The Suunto 9 is Suunto’s equivalent of the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus.
It might not have all the bells and whistles that Garmin is known for, but it delivers in some of the most areas, namely:
- GPS accuracy
- Battery life
- Robust design
- Hardware reliability
If you want a no-nonsene watch that won’t let you down during an ultra long trail run or a full length Ironman triathlon, the Suunto 9 might be the watch for you.
If you are a triathlete looking for a budget friendly GPS triathlon watch, the Coros Pace is probably the watch for you.
It generally retails for less than 200 dollars, so it won’t break the bank too much if you are extremely budget conscious.
The Apex is essentially the Coros equivalent of the Forerunner 935. It’s not quite as refined as the FR935, but it does have a longer battery life and it’s reasonably affordable.
Coros Apex Pro
The Apex Pro is the Coros equivalent of the Forerunner 945 (ie Garmin’s upgrade to the Forerunner 935).
The only issue with the Apex Pro is the price to value relationship is out of kilter. It’s basically a Forerunner 935 with a pulse oximeter and an extended battery life, but less technological features. It’s only worth considering this option if Amazon are running a really big discount.
The standout feature of the Coros Vertix is the ridiculously long battery life. In full GPS mode it can last up to 60 hours. In battery saver GPS mode, it can last up to 150 hours.
However, like the Coros Apex Pro, the pricing of the Coros Vertix is off. It should be retailing for $399, but it’s more likely to cost you about $599. If you are going to spend this much, I would recommend the Forerunner 945 or the Fenix 5 Plus over the Coros Vertix.