Garmin Forerunner 265 Review

Garmin Forerunner 265 Review: The Perfect Blend of Performance and Style

In the world of fitness and sports-focused smartwatches, Garmin has been a prominent player for quite some time. With the release of the Garmin Forerunner 265, they have taken the best features of their previous models, such as the Forerunner 255 Music, and combined them with a stunning AMOLED display.

In this detailed review, we will delve into every aspect of the Garmin Forerunner 265, from its design and display to its performance and battery life. Get Garmin Forerunner 265 here.

Design and Build Quality

The Garmin Forerunner 265 comes in two variants: the standard 265 with a 46-millimeter case and the 265s with a slightly smaller 41.7-millimeter case. These dimensions are quite similar to its predecessor, the Forerunner 255.

The watch’s thickness remains consistent at 12.9 millimeters for the larger model and 12.4 millimeters for the smaller one. In terms of weight, the 265 weighs 47 grams, while the 265s is a bit lighter at 39 grams. This ensures that the watch is comfortable to wear and suitable for various wrist sizes.

One notable aspect of the Forerunner 265’s design is the attention to detail in the watch band. Garmin has opted for a duotone design that not only looks stylish but is also incredibly comfortable. The band is stretchy and complements the watch’s aesthetics well. Additionally, the watch bands on the Forerunner 265 can be easily swapped out, thanks to the industry-standard band design.

AMOLED Display

The most significant upgrade in the Garmin Forerunner 265 is its AMOLED display. This is a departure from the memory-in-pixel (MIP) or transflective displays that have been the hallmark of Garmin’s Forerunner lineup for years. AMOLED displays are known for their vibrant colors, high contrast, and sharpness, characteristics that are more commonly associated with smartphones.

The Forerunner 265’s AMOLED display boasts a resolution of 416 by 416 pixels, a significant improvement over the Forerunner 255’s 260 by 260 pixels. This higher pixel density is immediately noticeable when using the watch, as it provides crisp and detailed visuals throughout the interface. Garmin has also revamped the user interface to take full advantage of the AMOLED display’s capabilities, offering more colorful and detailed watch faces.

Despite the shift to an AMOLED display, Garmin has ensured that the Forerunner 265 remains highly readable in direct sunlight. While it may not match the outdoor visibility of MIP displays, the brightness levels on the 265 are impressive, making it suitable for most outdoor activities. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and is water-resistant up to 5 ATM, ensuring its durability in various conditions.

Touchscreen and Always-On Display

One of the standout features of the Garmin Forerunner 265 is its touchscreen. Garmin has implemented the touchscreen in a way that gives users the flexibility to choose when and how they want to use it. While physical buttons are still available for control, the touchscreen adds a layer of convenience, especially for navigating through menus and interacting with the watch.

To optimize battery life, Garmin has incorporated two display modes: gesture mode and always-on display mode. In gesture mode, the display turns off after a specified period of inactivity and wakes up when you turn your wrist. In always-on display mode, the screen remains dimly lit when not in use, allowing you to glance at your watch with ease. These options strike a balance between extending battery life and ensuring quick access to information.

The Forerunner 265 also offers an array of stunning watch faces, perhaps some of the most visually appealing among Garmin’s stock offerings. The increased pixel count allows for intricate and vibrant watch face designs, letting users personalize their watch to their liking. Get Garmin Forerunner 265 here.

Battery Life

Despite the power-hungry AMOLED display, Garmin has managed to optimize the Forerunner 265’s battery life effectively. When used solely as a smartwatch, the Forerunner 265 can last for approximately two weeks on a single charge, an impressive feat. However, enabling the always-on display reduces the battery life to around five days, which is still commendable compared to other smartwatches on the market.

For outdoor activities, the Forerunner 265’s battery life holds up well, especially when using the Dual Band Satellite System mode for improved GPS accuracy. In real-life testing, the watch managed to record six hours of outdoor activities on the highest accuracy setting, along with five hours of indoor activities, while still maintaining about four and a half days of battery life with the always-on display enabled.

Smartwatch Features

The Forerunner 265 offers a comprehensive set of smartwatch features, making it a versatile device for everyday use. When paired with a compatible smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone or Android device, you can receive notifications for apps, texts, and calls directly on the watch. You can also access weather information and view calendar events seamlessly.

One notable feature available when pairing with an Android phone is the ability to reply to texts and calls with predefined responses, offering a convenient way to stay connected without taking out your phone. Unfortunately, this functionality is not available when pairing with an iPhone, as it’s exclusive to Apple Watch devices.

As for music enthusiasts, the Forerunner 265 comes with offline music storage and playback options, supporting popular music services like Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music. With the capacity to store up to 500 songs for offline listening, you can enjoy your favorite tunes during workouts without needing to carry your phone.

Health and Activity Tracking

Garmin has equipped the Forerunner 265 with a range of health and activity tracking features, making it a reliable companion for monitoring your daily well-being. It tracks your heart rate continuously throughout the day and can measure your blood oxygen saturation levels (SpO2). Step tracking, floors climbed tracking (thanks to the altimeter), and intensity minutes tracking are also included.

One of Garmin’s unique metrics is the Body Battery, which provides an overview of your energy levels based on factors like workouts and sleep patterns. Additionally, the watch offers a Health Snapshot feature that gathers various health metrics, including heart rate, SpO2, respiration rate, and stress level.

The Forerunner 265 boasts advanced sleep tracking capabilities, providing insights into your sleep stages and assigning a sleep score. While the watch doesn’t include an ECG app like some competitors, it offers a comprehensive suite of health monitoring tools suitable for most users. Get Garmin Forerunner 265 here.

Sports and Fitness

Where the Forerunner 265 truly shines is in its sports and fitness capabilities. It inherits a wide range of sports profiles from its predecessor, including running (both indoors and outdoors), cycling (including mountain biking and indoor cycling), swimming (pool and open water), triathlon, and various gym workouts like strength training, high-intensity interval training, and yoga.

Performance feedback features abound in the Forerunner 265, including VO2 max estimation for running and cycling, a race predictor for common running distances, training status based on VO2 max trends, HRV status, and training load. These metrics are invaluable for tracking your progress and optimizing your training regimen.

A noteworthy addition to the Forerunner 265 is the Training Readiness feature, originally introduced with the Garmin Forerunner 955. This feature assesses multiple factors, such as sleep quality, recovery time, HRV status, and more, to provide a readiness score for your next training session. It’s a practical tool for ensuring you’re adequately prepared for your workouts.

Running Dynamics and Power

The Garmin Forerunner 265 introduces significant advancements in running metrics. It now has the capability to collect running dynamics like vertical oscillation, vertical ratio, and ground contact time directly from the watch, eliminating the need for additional accessories. This provides valuable insights into your running form and efficiency.

Furthermore, the Forerunner 265 can measure running power without the need for a separate accessory. This metric quantifies the effort required to move forward, providing a more standardized measure of your exertion level compared to pace. It’s a valuable tool for optimizing your training and pacing strategies.

GPS and Altitude Accuracy

The Forerunner 265 incorporates Garmin’s dual-band GPS chipset, ensuring reliable and accurate location tracking in various environments. In testing, the watch performed admirably, maintaining accuracy even in challenging conditions with tall buildings and dense tree cover.

For those who engage in activities that require precise altitude measurements, the built-in altimeter on the Forerunner 265 proved to be accurate. Whether for trail running or cycling, the altimeter provided reliable data for tracking elevation changes.

Heart Rate Accuracy

The Forerunner 265 is equipped with Garmin’s fourth-generation Elevate heart rate sensor, a proven performer in previous models. In testing, the watch consistently delivered accurate heart rate readings during a range of activities, including running, cycling, and indoor workouts.

Even during outdoor road biking, where wrist-based heart rate sensors can face challenges due to vibrations and movement, the Forerunner 265 held its own and provided reliable heart rate data. While there were occasional moments of minor discrepancies, overall performance was impressive.

Conclusion: The Ultimate Sports Smartwatch

In the Garmin Forerunner 265, Garmin has created a true powerhouse of a smartwatch. By combining the best features of its predecessor with a stunning AMOLED display, Garmin offers a device that caters to both style-conscious users and sports enthusiasts. The watch’s versatility, from its extensive sports profiles to its comprehensive health and activity tracking, makes it a top contender in the smartwatch market.

The Forerunner 265’s exceptional battery life, given the demands of the AMOLED display, is a testament to Garmin’s engineering prowess. The addition of features like Training Readiness, advanced running metrics, and running power further elevate its appeal for serious athletes.

While the Forerunner 265 comes at a slightly higher price point compared to its predecessor, the enhancements in display technology, performance metrics, and overall user experience more than justify the investment. For individuals seeking a premium sports smartwatch that seamlessly combines form and function, the Garmin Forerunner 265 stands as an excellent choice.

In summary, the Garmin Forerunner 265 is a triumph of engineering, blending cutting-edge technology with practical fitness features. Whether you’re a dedicated athlete or someone looking for a stylish and reliable smartwatch, the Forerunner 265 delivers on all fronts. With its impressive display, extensive sports capabilities, and robust health tracking, it sets a new standard for what a sports smartwatch can achieve. Get Garmin Forerunner 265 here.


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About the author: Edouard Balik is a Tech writer at website. He creates Tech related articles using natural creativity and language tools, Market realities. Edouard loves discussing smartphones and smartwatches Tech and specs using his expertise in the field and reading their news.