Is The Garmin Forerunner 165 Worth It? Yes! Here’s Why…

I’ve used and tested a bunch of Garmin watches over the years, but I think its new Forerunner 165 could be one of its best releases to date…

Garmin Forerunner 165 Key Takeaways

The Garmin Forerunner 165 combines high-end features and design at a much lower price point than normal, making it one of best options for value for money inside Garmin’s 2024 lineup of smartwatches.

Here’s a quick summary of what it’s packing:

  • Affordable Price: 💰 Starting from £250, offering high-end features for less.
  • Compact and Colorful Design: 📱 1.2-inch OLED screen in a 43mm case, available in various colors.
  • Connectivity: 🤝 Syncs with both Android and iPhone via Garmin Connect, customizable faces, WiFi for music in pricier version.
  • Battery Life: 🔋 Lasts 5 days with continuous use or over 11 days with motion-activated screen wake-up.
  • Sport Modes: 🏃‍♂️ Supports 24 sport modes but lacks multisport tracking for triathlons.
  • GPS and Health Tracking: 🛰️ Robust tracking performance without dual-band GPS, tracks sleep, steps, stress but no ECG.
  • Sustainability and Security: 🌍 At least two years of security updates, focuses on repairability and recycling.

If you’re even remotely serious about running, you’ll have heard of Garmin. Its watches are considered by many – myself included – the gold standard for anyone that’s into running.

Prices vary across the Garmin range, topping $1000 for its EPIX and Fenix series. At the lower end, you can pick one up for around $150. But the cheaper watches always look a bit, well… rubbish.

The screens are terrible, the build quality isn’t anything to write home about. They have all the features most new runners need. But none of the pizzaz you get with Apple Watch.

Well, this is where the “affordable” Garmin Forerunner 165 comes into play: it is an entry-level Garmin watch but unlike Garmin’s usual entry-level models, it doesn’t look like something you’d get inside a Kinder Egg.

Here’s why you might want to consider picking one up in 2024…

Pricing: It’s Not Cheap, But It Is More Accessible

Is The Garmin Forerunner 165 Worth It? Yes! Here’s Why…Pin

Priced at just over £250/$240, the Garmin Forerunner 165 is all about bringing high-end features to a more budget-friendly device. And that is something we can all get behind. As someone that has only really ever used cheaper Garmin watches, the 165 is a massive step up from something like the Forerunner 49.

It sports a 1.2-inch OLED screen housed in a 43mm case. This size strikes an ideal balance, ensuring that the display is large enough for easy readability while maintaining a compact form factor that doesn’t feel cumbersome during a run.

Plus, it comes in various colors, allowing for a bit of personal expression.

Connectivity and Battery Life

Is The Garmin Forerunner 165 Worth It? Yes! Here’s Why…Pin

One of the key features that drew me to the Forerunner 165 is its seamless connectivity with both Android and iPhone through the Garmin Connect app.

This functionality is crucial for me, as it allows for easy tracking and analysis of my running metrics. The option for customizable watch faces is a nice touch, offering personalization that I value.

Additionally, the pricier version’s ability to connect to the internet through WiFi for offline music playback addresses my need for entertainment during long runs without the need to carry my phone.

Battery life is another strong suit of the Forerunner 165. It lasts about five days with continuous use, including sleep tracking and a daily run of 40 minutes.

If you’re like me and prefer the motion-activated screen wake-up feature, you’ll be delighted to know the battery can stretch over 11 days, minimizing the frequency of charges.

Focused on Running, With Some Limitations

Is The Garmin Forerunner 165 Worth It? Yes! Here’s Why…Pin

The Forerunner 165 is tailored for runners, featuring 24 sport modes that include running dynamics and power metrics.

However, it lacks multisport tracking for triathlons, which might be a deal-breaker for some.

Additionally, while it doesn’t include dual-band GPS for enhanced accuracy in challenging environments, I’ve found its tracking performance to be robust and reliable for my city runs.

Health tracking features are comprehensive, covering sleep, steps, and stress. Although it lacks ECG capability, which is becoming more common in smartwatches, I consider this a minor drawback given the watch’s focus and price point.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Is The Garmin Forerunner 165 Worth It? Yes! Here’s Why…Pin

Despite its compelling features and competitive pricing, the Forerunner 165 isn’t without its drawbacks.

Its lack of offline maps, advanced training metrics, and wider Garmin Pay compatibility are definitely drawbacks, and you will want to keep these in mind before pulling the trigger on one.

Additionally, the price point, while reasonable for its offerings, might still be a hurdle for beginners just dipping their toes into the world of running watches.

Me? I’m pretty much sold on the Forerunner 165; I need a new watch, my current model is now 3+ years old and is showing its age. The price point is doable for me and it has all the features I need (plus that shiny, new OLED display) for where I’m at right now.

I run like 30K a week, I don’t do marathons or triathlons and have no desire too. All I need is a basic watch with Garmin’s excellent tracking. The 165 has all of these things and it looks a hell of a lot better than my old Forerunner 45 as well.

If you need something higher-end with more features and tracking abilities, check out my review of the Garmin Forerunner 955 – it’s ideal for more serious athletes.

Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin is a leading UK technology journalist with a focus on consumer tech trends and data security. Renowned for his insightful analysis, Richard has contributed to Sky News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, and CNBC, making complex tech issues accessible to a broad audience.

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