Garmin Forerunner 265 evaluation: Shade me impressed

aa2020 editors choice

Garmin’s Forerunner watches are fan-favorites for a very good cause. The Forerunner 265 presents an reasonably priced entry level into a very feature-packed line. It faucets into many of the greatest instruments the corporate has to supply on a light-weight, snug watch in a number of sizes. And now, it is much more enticing than ever with a colourful AMOLED touchscreen show.

The Garmin Forerunner 265 appears like a fitness center buddy who simply invested in all-new exercise clothes. Their kicks are contemporary and their angle is inspiring. On a health tracker, that interprets to a fantastic new show and some added coaching options. Internally, the issues we liked about our previous companion — the Forerunner 255 — are largely the identical or improved. Garmin merely gave us precisely what we requested for: a dependable, light-weight working watch with an AMOLED show. Discover out extra in our Garmin Forerunner 265 evaluation.

About this Garmin Forerunner 265 evaluation: I examined the Garmin Forerunner 265S over a interval of 12 days. The unit was supplied by Garmin for this evaluation.

What you must know concerning the Garmin Forerunner 265

Garmin Forerunner 265S Run

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  • Garmin Forerunner 265: $449 / €429 / £499
  • Garmin Forerunner 265S: $449 / €429 / £499

The Forerunner 265 collection launched on March 2, 2023, with a brand-new look. For the primary time, Garmin dropped colourful, AMOLED touchscreen shows into the Forerunner household. Although it arrived alongside a brand new Forerunner 965, the 265 collection represents Garmin’s mid-level entry level into the favored working watch lineup.

Like 2022’s Forerunner 255, the 265 collection contains two sizes, a Forerunner 265, measuring 46mm with a 1.3-inch show and 416 x 416 decision, and a Forerunner 265S, measuring simply 42mm with a 1.1-inch show and 360 x 360 decision. Each function Gorilla Glass 3 for hardy sturdiness, fiber-reinforced polymer bezels, and 5ATM water resistance scores.

There’s additionally now not a definite Music model, as each sizes provide 8GB storage with loads of room in your favourite playlists. Granted, the bottom worth is $50 dearer than the Forerunner 255’s music mannequin, but it surely’s good to see such a staple function handled as such. There isn’t a speaker on the system although, so you will have to pair a set of  Bluetooth earbuds or headphones.

The Forerunner 265’s showstopping improve is of course the AMOLED show, however there are additionally loads of coaching options onboard to make this a strong working companion.

On the coaching entrance, the brand new 265 collection nonetheless presents dependable well being and health sensors, in addition to multi-band GNSS help with SatIQ know-how, wrist-based Operating-Energy measurements, and Garmin’s Coaching Readiness device, an especially widespread metric for devoted athletes. In different phrases, the gadgets pack quite a lot of the corporate’s high coaching options at a fraction of the worth of Garmin’s high watches.

Positive, the mid-range lineup did obtain a worth bump, asking customers at hand over $449 for both mannequin in comparison with the $349 worth level of the Forerunner 255. Nevertheless, as talked about, all 265 fashions at the moment are priced the identical and provide an identical function units. You should purchase a Forerunner 265 collection system now from or from third-party retailers like Amazon.

The Forerunner 265S is on the market in three colorways: black bezel and case with a black/Amp Yellow band, black bezel and white case with a Whitestone/Neo Tropic band, or black bezel and light-weight pink case with a lightweight pink/Whitestone band. Likewise, the massive mannequin can be out there in three colorways: black bezel and Whitestone case with a Whitestone/Tidal Blue band, black bezel and case with a black/Powder Grey band, or black bezel and aqua case with an Aqua/black band.

What’s good?

A Garmin Forerunner 265S perches on a blue book, displaying a users personal photo as a watch face.

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The design of the Garmin Forerunner 265 is as on-point as ever. I used to be thrilled to see a second dimension added with the Forerunner 255, and I’m even happier to see it return, now with music storage as customary. The construct stays sturdy, light-weight, and extremely adjustable. The band is a godsend, with tons of stretch for locating the right match. The colours are daring and sporty with out venturing into infantile or garish. However whereas that’s all properly and good, essentially the most thrilling design element is the brand new AMOLED touchscreen show. It is a enormous change for the Forerunner lineup and elevates the watch significantly. It’s far more paying homage to a smartwatch now, with daring colours and crisp textual content.

Garmin returned with all of the options we liked on the final Forerunner, plus a fantastic new AMOLED show.

As talked about, the show sizes for the Forerunner 265S and 265 land at 1.1 and 1.3 inches, respectively. I examined the smaller mannequin for this Forerunner 265 evaluation, and located the show to be fairly petite after spending a lot time testing bigger watches just like the Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch 5 Professional. The show positively may have benefited from smaller bezels, but it surely’s a lot readable, even mid-run along with your coronary heart racing and eyesight blurring. Even in obnoxiously vivid daylight, the watch is simple to see and, dare I say, enticing. Brightness settings are additionally adjustable for whenever you do enterprise again inside.

A user review watch face option in the Garmin Connect IQ app.

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If you’re first swooning over the brand new show, you may scroll via the preloaded, customizable watch faces. These are all pretty related, with problems you may swap out, different colour decisions, and different particulars out there to edit. Past the essential, the Garmin Join IQ app shares much more choices with far more customization potential. I believed these choices appeared good on the colourful show, even inside the tighter actual property of the 265S. When you go for the non-public pictures face, you’ll simply need to choose topics that aren’t significantly tiny. I attempted a number of summary photos of graffiti and wall murals, they usually appeared nice (though considerably loud for on a regular basis put on).

You’ll discover the identical five-button interplay Garmin’s identified to incorporate, with navigation largely on the left aspect and begin/cease and again buttons on the suitable. The highest left button wakes your AMOLED show anytime you need to smile and sigh at your colourful new display (or, you already know, test vital particulars). This high proper button now says RUN, in case you overlook what you’re speculated to do with the watch.

The Garmin Forerunner 265’s show can be now a touchscreen that you should use closely or disable totally relying in your choice. I discovered the display a lot responsive even with moist palms however nonetheless relied on the buttons most frequently, particularly throughout exercises.

A user scrolls the at-a-glance widgets on their Garmin device.

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The smaller 265S mannequin is technically 1mm bigger than the smaller mannequin of the earlier technology. The watch case thickness additionally modified by .5mm, however I doubt most customers will discover these variations. Generally, I actually favored the match of the watch, particularly when understanding in chilly circumstances, as a result of it simply slips below layers. The burden for the smaller mannequin decreased by 2g right down to 40g, however once more, this alteration is simply too nominal to note and I discovered the watch completely light-weight and cozy. The bigger mannequin’s weight stayed the identical because the Forerunner 255 at 46g.

As for battery life, in my testing, the Forerunner 265S mannequin simply lasted a full 4 days in always-on smartwatch mode with every day multi-hour GPS exercises. Each fashions additionally help SatIQ to mechanically swap between multi-band and low-power GPS as wanted, which helps stretch battery life. With out always-on show, the watch stored tempo to satisfy Garmin’s two-week declare. Charging the system from zero to 100% takes simply over an hour, or concerning the length of 1 episode of The Final of Us, plus a fast bathe.

As I acknowledged above, I discovered the smaller mannequin a lot able to displaying on-screen stats, notifications, and watch faces. Navigating the at-a-glance widgets and tapping in to see extra information by no means felt cumbersome or undersized. I appreciated the customization out there right here as properly to maintain my private priorities simply accessible. You’ll be able to all the time jump over to the Garmin app in the event you want to dig into your information in larger element on a bigger display.

Navigating the Forerunner 265 is easy through buttons or touchscreen, and the system presents tons of on-wrist information together with Coaching Readiness.

The Forerunner 265 collection additionally now presents Coaching Readiness, a metric not out there within the earlier technology. Coaching Readiness is a helpful strategy to see how ready you’re for specific exercises, and it’s a strong device to entry at this worth level. You’ll additionally nonetheless get a Morning Report, Physique Battery, and SpO2 monitoring.

Along with all its native instruments and options, you may pair the system with third-party sensors or broadcast to gear like a Peloton. You may also nonetheless faucet into instructed Garmin Coach exercises, monitor your stress, and observe sleep. You’ll be able to observe your HRV Standing, handle your Cardio load, and make selections based mostly in your restoration stats. It’s additionally extremely customizable. Every sport profile helps limitless customized pages with six information fields per web page. You’ll be able to import GPX information and file routes or hyperlink up with apps like Strava to mechanically sync your recorded information.

A GPS map depicts data from a Garmin Forerunner 265S and an Apple Watch Ultra.

The GPS on the Forerunner 265 is implausible. If, like me, you’ve come to count on accuracy from Garmin watches, the Forerunner 265 or 265S definitely gained’t allow you to down. I wore the system on quite a few neighborhood runs, bike trails, and even via metropolis streets. My information constantly confirmed me on the right aspect of the highway regardless of cloud, tree, and constructing protection. My whole distances lined up practically precisely with my Apple Watch Extremely and Garmin Fenix 7.

In truth, on the run depicted above, the Forerunner 265S I examined even stored tempo with Apple’s high contender. Each gadgets nailed turns and stored me on the right aspect of a busy drive. The Watch Extremely traced my path practically precisely, displaying my run on the sidewalk whereas the Forerunner sometimes inched into the highway. As a devoted working watch, the Forerunner 265 couldn’t ship significantly better, and I used to be thrilled (although not stunned) to see Garmin’s extra reasonably priced system maintain its personal with pricier wearables. However GPS isn’t the one measurement that issues relating to coaching, so what about coronary heart charge accuracy?

A Garmin Forerunner 265S rests facedown display its HR sensor.

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I want I may construct up extra suspense, however merely put, Garmin’s Elevate coronary heart charge sensor is just implausible as properly. To be honest, sensor accuracy might be hindered by issues like pores and skin tone or match. I used to be lucky sufficient to gather extremely correct information, and I feel that boils right down to the sensor in addition to the system’s design. For starters, the watch may be very light-weight. It didn’t knock round on my wrist all through exercises like some bulkier wearables, not even throughout workout routines like bounce roping or sprints. The band can be extremely adjustable. As talked about above, its stretchy materials makes it simple to discover a good stability between cosy and cozy.

The highest-tier GPS accuracy of the Forerunner 265 is well-matched by Garmin’s Elevate coronary heart charge sensor offering athletes with nice information.

I put the Forerunner 265S via interval runs, fitness center circuits, and one very intense pickleball match (or as intense a match as pickleball can get with a preteen). It stored up with my Polar H10 chest strap and among the high wearables in the marketplace. The one time I noticed any skewed information was a really minimal delay in the beginning of sudden sprints on my indoor bike, however even these had been negligible.

All of this to say, the Forerunner 265 is a strong multisport watch at an affordable worth. It combines a few of Garmin’s high coaching instruments (together with Coaching Readiness) with wildly correct sensors to supply a dependable health companion. The freshly redesigned exercise display presents helpful standing icons together with GPS and coronary heart charge standing. The post-workout display presents intricate graphs, information units, and health-focused particulars. There isn’t a lot to not like concerning the updates Garmin delivered to one among its best traces.

What’s not so good?

A Garmin Forerunner 265S rests with its screen dimmed.

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On the threat of sounding like a damaged document, there isn’t a lot to complain about on Garmin’s newest mid-level Forerunner. The corporate has a knack for delivering the enhancements customers need to see on lineups which are already profitable. I liked the Forerunner 245 and was additional impressed by the added sensors and good options of the Forerunner 255. With the 265, Garmin has stored me hooked on its mid-level lineup.

If I needed to voice an overarching critique it could be that, except for the AMOLED show, the brand new system is kind of much like its predecessor, and in the event you’re completely satisfied with out the flamboyant display, it’s virtually positively not price an improve. Garmin watches additionally are likely to pack far more than most customers will ever want and this watch follows swimsuit. If Coaching Readiness is one thing you’re prone to faucet into, that’s an enormous addition. If not, it’s one other stat in a pile of stats.

That mentioned, in our Forerunner 255 evaluation we bemoaned the circus of buttons, and this time Garmin added a touchscreen. We additionally half-heartedly lamented a mediocre show; Garmin added the rainbow of an AMOLED one. Within the hopes that Garmin retains its ear to the bottom, I’ve obtained some solutions for the inevitable Forerunner 275.

It is onerous to search out a lot to complain about on the Forerunner 265 and 265S. I will lodge a number of broad complaints although as a result of Garmin is famously good at listening!

Regardless of the inclusion of a neat touchscreen, smartwatch options on the Forerunner 265 stay restricted, as does one among Garmin’s new well being instruments. When you had been hoping to see the ECG app just lately added to the Venu 2 Plus, then you definitely’re in for a disappointment — that hasn’t made its strategy to this system. The Forerunner 265 doesn’t comprise the required {hardware} for it to make a future look both. You additionally gained’t discover a microphone or speaker for on-wrist telephone calls or for enjoying music out of your wrist. You’ll be able to retailer music and make purchases with Garmin Pay, but it surely’s nonetheless a health tracker at first.

A Garmin Forerunner 265S rests alongside its proprietary charger.

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Arguably, the watch additionally doesn’t provide fairly the whole lot you may want in a working watch. For that, you’ll must spring for the pricier Forerunner 965. For instance, not all of Garmin’s mapping navigation options might be discovered onboard. That is in all probability superb in case your coaching primarily happens at house or in a well-known location. When you are likely to journey or take pleasure in understanding on trip, it’s an element price contemplating.

In actuality, these are all honest cuts to hit this mid-tier price ticket. In any case, the system is supposed to be Garmin’s mid-tier providing. Nevertheless, it did additionally bounce in worth significantly. This might be a mirrored image of the market on the whole or a results of the brand new show and added coaching options. Nevertheless, it’s a big bounce relative to its predecessor, and the Forerunner 255 collection was already priced larger than the Forerunner 245. Sooner or later, I’d like to see extra constant costs for this line fairly than endlessly rising prices.

It additionally appears like a dropping recreation to complain about proprietary charging on a wearable, however when a tool has so few different points, we’ll do it anyway. Along with contributing much less to e-waste, I simply actually need to purge my ever-multiplying twine basket. Garmin did give precisely half of the Forerunner 265 charger a makeover. The proprietary Garmin port is precisely the identical because the earlier mannequin, however the energy supply finish is now USB-C. Sadly, we don’t get the wi-fi charging Garmin launched just lately with its Vivomove Pattern.

Garmin Forerunner 265 specs

Garmin Forerunner 265/265S


1.1-inch AMOLED, non-compulsory always-on
360 x 360 decision

1.3-inch AMOLED, non-compulsory always-on
416 x 416 decision

Dimensions and weight

41.7 x 41.7 x 12.9mm
Suits wrists 115-178mm

46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9mm
Suits wrists 135-205mm

Colours and supplies

Shade: Black/Amp Yellow, Whitestone/Neo Tropic, or Gentle Pink/Powder Grey
Materials: Gorilla Glass 3 show, Fiber-reinforced polymer bezel, silicone strap

Shade: Whitestone/Tidal Blue, Black/Powder Grey, or Aqua/Black
Materials: Gorilla Glass 3 show, Fiber-reinforced polymer bezel, silicone strap


Smartwatch mode: As much as 15 days
GPS-Solely GNSS mode: As much as 24 hours
SatIQ GNSS mode: As much as 18 hours
All-Methods GNSS mode + Multi-Band: As much as 15 hours
GPS-Solely GNSS mode with music: As much as 7.5 hours
SatIQ GNSS mode with music: As much as 6.5 hours
All-Methods GNSS mode + Multi-Band with music: As much as 6 hours

Smartwatch mode: As much as 13 days
GPS-Solely GNSS mode: As much as 20 hours
SatIQ GNSS mode: As much as 16 hours
All-Methods GNSS mode + Multi-Band: As much as 14 hours
GPS-Solely GNSS mode with music: As much as 7 hours
SatIQ GNSS mode with music: As much as 6.5 hours
All-Methods GNSS mode + Multi-Band with music: As much as 6 hours


Multi-Frequency Positioning
SatIQ Expertise
Garmin Elevate Coronary heart Charge Sensor
Barometric Altimeter
Ambient Gentle Sensor
Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor






Android and iOS

Garmin Forerunner 265 evaluation: The decision

A Garmin Forerunner 265S displays a native watch face.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

There’s a complete lot to love concerning the Garmin Forerunner 265, similar to there was a complete lot to love concerning the Forerunner 255 ($349.99 at Amazon). Garmin’s superior coaching and well being options are practically unmatched within the wearables area, and the Forerunner line is dressed to impress with colourful AMOLED shows. The brand new touchscreen elevates the Forerunner 265, specifically, to a extra premium look and consumer expertise.

Alternatively, that improve comes at a premium worth. The watch launches at $100 larger than its predecessor. In different phrases, it’s a fantastic buy in the event you don’t at the moment have a dependable working watch. It’s enticing and boasts extremely correct sensors. Nevertheless, if you have already got a 255 strapped to your wrist, I personally wouldn’t suggest upgrading only for a reasonably face. A lot of the new mannequin’s software program updates will roll again to the older system anyway.

The Garmin Forerunner 265 presents an reasonably priced entry level into a very feature-packed line.

One exception is Coaching Readiness, which analyzes information like your sleep rating, HRV, and extra to maximise coaching effectivity. Some athletes would possibly discover the insights garnered via Coaching Readiness sufficient to justify upgrading to the 265. When you land in that camp, I extremely suggest the smaller mannequin for petite wrists.

If funds isn’t a problem and also you’d like absolutely the top-tier Forerunner, you’ll need to set your sights on the Forerunner 965 ($599.99 at Garmin). It additionally acquired an AMOLED facelift this 12 months and packs much more coaching instruments than its cheaper siblings. Conversely, in the event you simply need the fundamentals by way of Garmin’s health suite however are itching for extra smartwatch options, the Venu 2 Plus ($349.99 at Amazon) is one of the best smartwatch the corporate has produced but.

Garmin Forerunner 265Garmin Forerunner 265

Garmin Forerunner 265

AMOLED show • Music storage • GPS • Well being and health monitoring

Night time runs simply obtained a complete lot brighter

Stepping up from its predecessor, the Garmin Forerunner 265 presents the identical nice options, with enhancements to make it a dependable, light-weight working watch with an AMOLED show.

High Garmin Forerunner 265 questions and solutions

The Garmin Forerunner 265 has a 5ATM score for water resistance.

Sure. The Garmin Forerunner 265 is suitable with each iPhones and Android telephones.

You’ll be able to ship textual content responses on Garmin Forerunner 265 gadgets paired with Android telephones solely.

The Garmin Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 265S make the most of 22mm and 18 quick-release straps respectively.