Garmin Fenix 5s vs. Garmin Forerunner 235

Fenix 5s
Forerunner 235
 GarminFenix 5sBuy NowGarminForerunner 235Buy Now

Basic Info

Suggested Price$599.99$299.99

Activity & Fitness

Cycling (Bicycling)


DurationUp to 9 days9 days


Windows Phone




Resolution218x 218215 x 180
Size1.1 inches1.23 inches


Audio Speaker


Barometer or Altimeter
Ultraviolet Sensor
Water Resistance10ATM5 ATM




Operating System

Comparing Forerunner 235 and Fenix 5s

Garmin, a leading brand in smart wearables, offers an extensive range of smartwatches tailor-made for various activities and functionalities. Two popular models from their lineup are the Garmin Fenix 5s and the Garmin Forerunner 235. Picking the right watch is essential, as it offers invaluable insights into one’s fitness progress and daily activities. Garmin’s reputation for reliability and innovation goes a long way in helping users make their choice.

In this article, we compare the Fenix 5s and the Forerunner 235, discussing their design, build, features, user interface, price, and value for money. This comprehensive comparison will provide the necessary information to help make an informed decision about which watch best suits individual needs and preferences.

Design and Build

Garmin Fenix 5s

The Fenix 5s features a rugged design with a stainless steel bezel, fiber-reinforced polymer case, and a sapphire crystal lens. Its dimensions are 42 x 42 x 14.5 mm, and it weighs 67 grams. The watch also has a 1.1-inch color display with a resolution of 218 x 218 pixels.

Garmin Forerunner 235

On the other hand, the Forerunner 235 is designed with a fiber-reinforced polymer case and chemically-strengthened glass lens. Its dimensions are 45 x 45 x 11.7 mm, and it weighs 42 grams. The smartwatch has a 1.23-inch color MIP display with a resolution of 215 x 180 pixels.

Comparison of design and build quality

Comparing the two devices, the Fenix 5s offers a more premium build quality with its stainless steel bezel and sapphire crystal lens, while the Forerunner 235 is lighter and more affordable. The Fenix 5s has a slightly higher screen resolution, but both watches offer clear and readable color displays.

Features and Functionality

Garmin Fenix 5s

The Fenix 5s is powered by Garmin’s proprietary software and offers a rich feature set, including GPS, calories, cycling, distance, heart rate, oxygen, sleep, steps, and swim tracking, along with a barometer and altimeter. It has a battery life of up to 9 days and is compatible with Android and iOS devices. It also offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, but lacks cellular and NFC capabilities.

Garmin Forerunner 235

The Forerunner 235 also runs on Garmin’s software and includes similar tracking features as the Fenix 5s, but lacks a barometer and altimeter. The watch has a battery life of 9 days and is compatible with Android devices and iOS, but not with Windows Phones. The Forerunner 235 supports Bluetooth connectivity, but not Wi-Fi, cellular, or NFC.

Comparison of features and performance

Both the Fenix 5s and the Forerunner 235 offer an extensive array of features and functionalities, with the Fenix 5s having a slight edge due to the inclusion of a barometer and altimeter. However, the Forerunner 235 is a more budget-friendly option with a comparable feature set, apart from the mentioned differences.

User Interface and User Experience

Garmin Fenix 5s

The Fenix 5s offers a user-friendly interface with an intuitive display, easy navigation, and a wide range of apps and customization options. It is compatible with smartphones, allowing users to receive notifications and control certain phone functions.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Similarly, the Forerunner 235 provides a simple and easy-to-navigate interface, apps and customization options, and compatibility with smartphones. It also offers smartphone notifications and control features, along with an audio speaker and vibration for alerts.

Comparison of user interface and user experience

Both devices offer a smooth and enjoyable user experience, with an easy-to-navigate interface and a range of features tailored to one’s fitness and activity tracking needs. The choice ultimately depends on personal preferences and budget considerations.

Price and Value

Garmin Fenix 5s

The Fenix 5s is priced at $599.99, offering a premium build quality and a slightly more extensive feature set than the Forerunner 235. While it might be more expensive, the additional features and rugged build may justify the price for some users.

Garmin Forerunner 235

With a price of $299.99, the Forerunner 235 provides a more affordable option for those seeking a feature-rich and reliable smartwatch without the premium build materials of the Fenix 5s.

Comparison of price and value

The Fenix 5s and the Forerunner 235 cater to different segments of the market, with the former targeting users looking for premium build quality and advanced features, while the latter is meant for those seeking a more affordable yet feature-rich device. The choice falls upon individual preferences, requirements, and budget.


Ultimately, both the Garmin Fenix 5s and the Forerunner 235 are feature-rich and reliable smartwatches, catering to different preferences in build quality and budget. The decision comes down to individual needs, with the Fenix 5s being ideal for those seeking a premium design and the Forerunner 235 for those who prioritize affordability without sacrificing functionality.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are the Fenix 5s and Forerunner 235 waterproof?

Yes, both devices are water-resistant. The Fenix 5s has a water resistance of 10 ATM, while the Forerunner 235 is rated at 5 ATM.

2. Can I use music streaming services on either smartwatch?

Both the Fenix 5s and Forerunner 235 allow the user to control music playback on a paired smartphone, but neither device supports standalone music streaming.

3. Do either of the watches support contactless payments?

No, neither the Fenix 5s nor the Forerunner 235 offer NFC capability for contactless payments.

4. Can either of these smartwatches be used for sleep tracking?

Yes, both the Fenix 5s and the Forerunner 235 support sleep tracking, providing insights into sleep patterns and quality.

5. Is it necessary to have a smartphone to use the GPS features of these watches?

No, both the Fenix 5s and Forerunner 235 have built-in GPS, allowing for accurate tracking without the need for a smartphone connection.

All Wearables