Sensing a big market opportunity, many homegrown and international players are launching fitness trackers in the Indian market.
India has almost reached the point where owning a fitness band or smartwatch is as normal as owning a smartphone. Sensing a big market opportunity, many homegrown and international players are launching fitness trackers in the Indian market. Garmin India, a key player in the field of satellite navigation, recently launched its Forerunner 35 in the country. The new GPS-enabled running watch with built-in Garmin Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology allows runners to monitor their heart rate round the clock without a chest strap.
The Garmin Forerunner 35 watch is available in four colours —black, limelight, frost blue and white. We reviewed the limelight variant. In the box, you’ll get the Forerunner 35 with clip charger, which makes it really easy to charge the watch. There is no need for a USB cable, or pulling out the device to charge. Simply clip and charge.
The Forerunner 35 is easy to operate, as there are four physical buttons in the side edges of the watch. The one in the top left corner is dedicated to a backlight, which can also be used to turn on or off the device. Below that is the back button, which navigates you to the Menu, and also leads to a screen where you can view tracking history and milestones, go to settings and set up alarms. The top right button takes you to the multiple tracking modes, such as cardio, walking, outdoor runn-ing, indoor running and cycling. Below that is another navigation button that takes you through additional menu screens where you can check heart rate, notifica-tions, step counts, calorie burn, active minutes, last workout data and the weather. This button lets you control music, which is great for Bluetooth earpiece owners.
The device doubles as an all-day activity tracker as it counts steps, calories and intensity minutes, so users can still record progress and activities even when they are not running. It gives vibration alerts for running prompts. And when you complete a milestone, it motivates you with a vibration alert. The Forerunner 35 claims to have a battery life of up to nine days in the watch including activity tracking mode, and up to 13 hours in training mode. During the review period, the battery lasted more than nine days for me, as I did not use the activity tracking mode much. The battery life is the most impressive feature of this watch. The watch packs a 5ATM certified waterproofing rating, which means you can take a shower wearing it or even dive into the swimming pool.
The overall experience of any fitness tracker depends on its app. And Garmin has a great mobile app Garmin Connect, which is available for free on Android as well as iOS. Users can also share their workouts with friends and family in real time on Garmin Connect. They can also share live track, join fitness challenges, analyse training progress, as well as set and track goals via the app.
The Forerunner 35 synced easily with an Android smartphone. It takes away the pain of keeping a smartphone with you all the time. Users can set up vibration alerts for incoming calls, text, WhatsApp, emails and calendar events as well. If you have paired a Bluetooth earpiece from phone, you can also receive calls from the watch.
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In terms of daily wear, it was comfortable to wear as it did not feel bulky against the skin. The only drawback, perhaps, is that it looks big and sturdy and you may not like to wear it to work. It was very much comfortable to sleep with this watch and my wrist did not get itchy, despite it having a rubber body. The device is great for tracking your sleep. Garmin’s Forerunner 35 got the sleeping data mostly right during the review period. In the app, you can dive into sleep sessions to see light sleep, and deep sleep, etc.
The Forerunner 35 impressed us with its ease of use, lightweight body, tools, features and ability to stay connected and share progress. Overall, a good buy. Estimated street price: Rs 15,990.