Quick Garmin 735xt Review + How & what Garmin products I use to train and race

New Garmin 735xt - I am passing on this upgrade

I saw the announcement this morning of the immediate release of the Garmin 735xt and decided to quickly review whether I need this device over my Garmin 235. Contrary to what I normally do, I am going thru publicly my own internal review decision, which only takes a couple of minutes, and sharing it with you.

A bit of background though. As a professional triathlete I use Garmin products almost exclusively now. The Garmin 235 has come to be my go to gadget on the run while the Garmin Edge 520 has been my go to bike computer having skipped the Garmin Edge 510, and using the Garmin Edge 500 like the rockstar it was for many many years. Surprisingly to some, I don't use the Garmin 920xt.

My go to bike device - Garmin Edge 520
The end result, although super flashy, the Garmin 735xt doesn't offer any new features I personally need over the Garmin 235. It has some extra features that some might be interested in, but for me, I like my simplicity. The Garmin 235 meets everything I need for training and racing in one device. Had the Garmin 735xt supported open-water swimming in a slimmed down profile I would have been all over it but alas I must wait.

Before leaving I thought I would explain how and what Garmin products I use to train and race.

First off, I don't use the Garmin 920xt. The only thing I would use the 920xt is for open-water swim workouts and seeing the Garmin 910xt is a lot cheaper for just this one feature I opt for that. I would never race with a Garmin 910xt or 920xt, the device is slowing you down in the swim considerably, and is simply one more thing to rip your wetsuit over.

Instead, I have a Garmin Edge 520 strapped into my bike and ready to go when I get there. The Edge 520 has 10 data field screens over 8 for the Edge 500, while having a considerably larger screen and weighing essentially the same and having a similar profile. The larger 800 and 1000s series weigh considerably more than my Garmin Edge 520 and have larger profiles creating more aerodynamic drag and slowing you down further. The Garmin Edge 520 is the perfect companion to train and race on.

Garmin 235 - My go to GPS watch
for running and casual cycling
For the run I use a Garmin 235. I have had nearly ever Garmin run device ever created but the Garmin 235 is the right device for me. Although the optical HR lags for interval workouts, for stable workouts and racing it works great. It is also super light. I have come to really like the automatic syncing of the Garmin 235 over Bluetooth to the iPhone and then Garmin Connect and Strava automatically. It grabs satellites super quick in comparison to previous generations. It's accurate!!! The only down side I experience with the Garmin 235 is it limits you to 2 specific data screens you can customize with data fields. I would like to have a couple of extra pages. I also use the Garmin 235 in the pool in the "other" mode for lap swimming. It acts as a great pace clock, especially when swimming at night. I also use it for all my casual bike rides where I only really care about pace and distance.

Lastly, I will say that I still use a chest strap for interval workouts and on the bike. The old-fashion Garmin chest straps (premium soft strap to be exact) are more responsive and more accurate - especially in interval workouts where you bring your heart rate up and down quickly. 


  1. The Garmin website says it can be used in open water.

  2. DC rainmaker says it has open water, see post 221.. http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/05/hands-on-with-the-new-garmin-fr735xt-triathlon-watch.html

  3. Good thoughts Tom. Until I received a 910 for a gift I used the 310 for several years, both for run and bike training. I use an inexpensive polar HR monitor when I race to see overall time and HR. Simple and easy. I do like the polar for open water swimming as it gives my HR. I recently received a Stages powermeter as a gift which has complicated my life. I have to mount the 910 on the top tube to pick up the power numbers. I'm afraid I'll have to buy a bike computer now. I yearn for the simplicity that I had when I first took up the sport.


    1. Thanks for the comment steve. There is beauty in simplicity :)

  4. I would never race with a Garmin 910xt or 920xt, the device is slowing you down in the swim considerably, and is simply one more thing to rip your wetsuit over.

    I feel the same way. How much do you think it would slow down a swimmer in a race...say an Olympic swim?

    1. Joe it depends on what your goals are. If you care about time lose the watch. If you just want to finish wear it. There is the drag and the time it takes to get it on off

  5. The most recent GPS gadgets have every one of the capacities which permit drivers to get to their preferred area speedier and less demanding. An incredible model for you to consider is the Garmin Nuvi 1250 Portable GPS Navigator. http://www.gurufocus.com/news/446229/garmin-is-gaining-favor-after-a-turbulent-period