Fenix ​​5 vs Forerunner 935: which one to choose?


  • Garmin Fenix ​​5 vs Forerunner 935 Comparison
  • How to choose between Fenix ​​5 and Forerunner 935?
  • Where to buy these watches?

Garmin has just released two new high-end and ultra-complete multisport GPS watches, one more oriented towards outdoor sports (the Fenix ​​5), the other dedicated to running and triathlon (the Forerunner 935).

  • Read our review on the Fenix ​​5 (also discover the new Fenix ​​5 Plus)
  • Read our opinion on the Forerunner 935 (also discover the new Forerunner 945)

However, in terms of features and sports available, the two watches are strictly identical (with the exception of the Fenix ​​5X which includes topographic maps and cycle paths of Europe and other interesting data). So, what differences are there between the 2 watches and especially how to choose between the Forerunner 935 and the Fenix ​​5? You will find below a commented comparison between the 2 models and tips for choosing the right watch according to your objectives.

Buy the Fenix ​​5

Price (from)

599 € 499

599 € 407

Buy the Forerunner 935

Price (from)

449 € 329

€ 397

Commercial links. Non contractual prices. Please consult the merchant website.

Garmin Fenix ​​5 vs Forerunner 935 Comparison

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Garmin based its Forerunner 935 on the Fenix ​​5: we find the same functionality with a few differences related to the model (Sapphire version or not, 5S, 5 or 5X model for the Fenix). It is especially in terms of materials, size, battery life, aesthetics and price that the difference lies. And what a difference! Learn more: read our review on the Forerunner 935.

The Fenix ​​5X model being particular, we did not consider it in this comparison. It has a memory of 12 GB (the equivalent of 2.5 DVDs or 17 CDs) containing maps, more than 40,000 golf courses worldwide, details of centers of interest (hotels, restaurants, etc.). .) and other functions that set it apart. Find out more: read our review on the Fenix ​​5.

Find below our comparative table between the Fenix ​​5 and the Forerunner 935.

Autonomy: difficult to do better!

The autonomy of GPS watches is a real workhorse for manufacturers. With GPS, the optical heart rate sensor and the growing number of operations performed, these mini-laptops are more and more energy-hungry and the batteries, always more efficient, are nonetheless a bulky object to fit in the watch case.

Garmin surprises us here with his Forerunner 935: the announced autonomy is 24 hours in GPS mode and 50 to 60 hours in energy saving mode (UltraTrack), depending on whether or not the optical sensor for measuring the pulse. Hard to beat. The Fenix ​​5 offers the same autonomy but we go to 2 p.m. for the special model "fine wrists" (Fenix ​​5S).

Long-distance enthusiasts (ultra-marathon, ultra-trail, Ironman) will therefore be satisfied with the Forerunner 935 or the standard Fenix ​​5 model.

Weight: a difference in size

Foreruner 935 black and yellow
The Forerunner 935 is an ultra-light watch (49g) and comfortable to wear

Regarding the weight, the Forerunner 935 is very light and even significantly more than the Fenix. With 49g against 67 g for the Fenix ​​5S or 87 g for the Fenix ​​5 (model with standard glass), there is no photo! It is also relatively thin: 13.9 mm against 14.5 to 17.5 mm for the Fenix!

For a triathlon watch, weight and size are important points to take into account. Garmin has not overlooked this detail and it is, with autonomy, one of the objectives that the designer and manufacturer of sports watches has clearly set itself to attract the greatest number. 49 g and a 24 h autonomy in GPS mode, bravo Garmin!

To achieve this result, Garmin did not go there by four paths. Exit the designer bezel in stainless steel and the pretty brushed steel case, and make way for plastic (fiber-reinforced polymer). Glass is also imposed: standard glass for the 935 but sapphire crystal glass (anti-scratch and barely heavier) optional on its Fenix ​​(basic on the 5X).

Robustness: a good compromise

3 Fenix ​​5S, 5 and 5X watches
Fenix ​​5: 3 case sizes, brushed steel and sapphire crystal glass (optional) for an elegant and robust watch

In return for a substantial weight gain, the Forerunner 935 is less robust than the Fenix ​​5. The case and the plastic bezel obviously make it more fragile. Standard glass is more easily scratched than sapphire crystal. But this is the price to pay for a watch that is both light and therefore offers the advantages of the Fenix ​​5 (ultra-complete, multisport, onboard many sensors while remaining fine). But given its main use (running, cycling, swimming, i.e. activities less prone to impact and scratches), this is rather a good compromise.

Please note, Wi-Fi connectivity, standard on the Forerunner 935, is only available on the Fenix ​​5 with the Sapphire version (sapphire crystal), more expensive by € 100 according to the price recommended by Garmin.

Aesthetics and size: sporty or chic look, you have to choose

Unlike the Forerunner 935, the Fenix ​​5 is available in several bracelet sizes (20 to 26 mm depending on the model) but also and above all in cases: 42 to 51 mm for the diameter and 14.5 to 17.5 mm for the 'thickness. An innovation by Garmin. Thus, people with fine wrists, and therefore many women, will find a watch better suited to their morphology, therefore more practical for sport, but also much prettier to wear on a daily basis. Note that the Fenix ​​5S (the small model) has a lower resolution screen (218 x 218 pixels compared to 240 x 240 px for other watches). It is therefore a little less comfortable.

In addition to this advantage concerning the size, the bezel and the steel case of the Fenix ​​and its sapphire crystal, which is always impeccable over time, have a great effect, all the more if the watch is worn with a pretty metallic or leather strap. For the Fenix ​​5, Garmin offers 3 types of bracelets: silicone (light and colorful) for sports, leather (suede) or metallic for the city.

As for the Forerunner 935, it only offers the 22 mm thick silicone strap and only one case size (47 mm). With its plastic shell and its silicone strap, it is certainly lighter than the Fenix ​​but much less chic for the city.

For the two watches, the strap is easily interchangeable, without tools, thanks to the QuickFit ™ quick-attach system. It's a very practical side, especially if you often practice a sport and wear your watch every day.

5 pretty garmin Fenix ​​5 watches
The Fenix ​​5 is a chic watch that adapts to all wrist sizes. As with the Forerunner 935, its straps are interchangeable without tools. For the Fenix, the choice is more varied: leather and metallic bracelets are added to the silicone.

The sensors: no difference

The same sensors are found on the 2 watches. Note that Garmin has equipped its latest models (including the 2 compared here) with a barometric altimeter. Based on atmospheric pressure, it is much more precise than other Garmin watches that use GPS to deduce altitude. The difference can be observed in particular for height difference measurements (cumulative ascent or descent, ascent or vertical speed, etc.). It is therefore a noticeable improvement compared to other models like the recent Forerunner 735XT, especially for races with vertical drop, in particular the trail.

Connectivity: expensive Wi-Fi

Please note, Wi-Fi connectivity, very practical for a GPS watch, is available on the 935 but for the Fenix ​​5, it is only available on Sapphire models (sapphire crystal). To enjoy it, you will have to pay the full price (count 100 € extra!).

Features: certified copies!

The 2 watches are strictly identical in terms of functionality (apart from, as we write above, the Fenix ​​5X which has topographic maps and more).

For an overview of the characteristics of these 2 watches, see our article on the Fenix ​​5.


swimmer in pool
The 2 watches are waterproof but the Fenix ​​5 is more suitable for snorkeling

The 2 watches are waterproof. The Fenix ​​5 supports up to 10 ATM (10 bars), or 100 meters in theory. In reality, this allows diving in shallow water (snorkeling).

The Forerunner 935, on the other hand, supports 5 ATM (5 bars), which, like the Fenix, earns it the designation "waterproof" but it does not allow diving.

Whether for one or the other watch, we advise you to avoid using the push buttons underwater.

The price: a small difference that can make the difference

It is also on the price that the difference between the 2 watches is made. The Forerunner 935, less robust but lighter and with a large autonomy, is less expensive than the Fenix ​​5. A difference of only 50 € for the model with standard glass and all the same 150 € for the Sapphire model.

Comparative table: Forerunner 935 versus Fenix ​​5

In this table, we have included the Fenix ​​5X but we have not added its own characteristics since we do not find them on other Fenix ​​and Forerunner watches.

Characteristics Fenix ​​5S Fenix ​​5 Fenix ​​5X Forerunner 935
Weight(1) 67 to 69 g 85 to 87 g 98g 49g
Case diameter 42 mm 47 mm 51 mm 47 mm
Screen diameter 27.9mm 30.5mm 30.5mm 30.5mm
Thickness 14.5mm 15.5mm 17.5mm 13.9mm
Autonomy(2) 9 d / 2 p.m. / 35 h 2 weeks / 24h / 60h 12d / 20h / 35h 2 weeks / 24h / 50-60h(3)
Bracelet 20 mm 22 mm 26 mm 22 mm
Bracelet material Silicone, suede or metal Silicone or metal Silicone or metal Silicone
Housing material Stainless steel Stainless steel Stainless steel Fiber-reinforced polymer
Touchscreen No No No No
Resolution (px) 218 x 218 px 240 x 240 px 240 x 240 px 240 x 240 px
Number of colors 64 64 64 64
Sapphire crystal Optional Optional YES NO
Memory 64 MB 64 MB 12 GB 64 MB
Optical HR sensor YES YES YES YES
Sealing 10 ATM 10 ATM 10 ATM 5 ATM
Connectivity Bluetooth Smart, ANT +, Wi-Fi(4) Bluetooth Smart, ANT +, Wi-Fi(4) Bluetooth Smart, ANT +, Wi-Fi Bluetooth Smart, ANT +, Wi-Fi

1 : Weight with silicone strap. For Fenix ​​5, the sapphire crystal (anti-scratch) weighs 2g more than ordinary glass
2 : Autonomy in smart health watch / GPS / UltraTrac mode (economy mode)
3 : Depending on whether heart rate monitoring is activated or not
4 : Wi-fi is only available on the Sapphire model

How to choose between Fenix ​​5 and Forerunner 935?

Forerunner 935 vs Fenix ​​5: how to choose?

One might wonder why Garmin offers a watch dedicated to running and triathlon where the Fénix 5 already does all this. In fact, it is on the weight, the size, the autonomy, the aesthetics but also the price that everything is decided. There is also talk of optimizing performance for top athletes. Note that the 2 watches are top of the range and that they are both ultra-complete. We are dealing with the ultimate in sports watches.

It is up to you, depending on how you plan to use your watch, which of the two is the better choice. And if, after reading this article, you still do not know which watch to choose and that the budget is not a concern for you, why not simply buy both? 🙂

Forerunner 935: for running, triathlon or long race pros

If you are a professional or passionate about running or triathlon, or if you do competitions, we can only recommend the Forerunner 935 which has been designed for this. It is its weight first that makes the difference. In a competition, everything must be taken into account, in particular the weight and the comfort of the watch. The Forerunner is also less bulky than the Fenix, so less annoying and more aerodynamic, especially for swimming.

For demanding athletes, the Forerunner 935 is also available in an economical triathlon pack (€ 150 extra, Garmin recommended price) with an instructor HRM-Tri, a monitoring HRM-Swim, a spare bracelet and a triathlon quick assembly kit. The chest belts allow a measurement of the heart rate underwater and a more precise measurement for the interval training. They also have a Dynamics Pod sensor for analyzing various parameters (stride, etc.). More details in our article Garmin Forerunner 935: the new GPS watch dedicated to running and triathlon.

For followers of theultra-trail, ultra-marathon or Ironman, autonomy is also an essential parameter. The Fenix ​​5 as the Forerunner 935 have a long autonomy (up to 24 hours in GPS mode). On the other hand, the Fenix ​​5S has an autonomy of only 14 hours at most, which may require using the UltraTrack mode (energy saving). This mode is less precise: the GPS readings are more widely spaced, for example. Even if the on-board gyroscope catches up with the approximation of measurements, the recorded distances are less reliable and the GPS track more approximate.

If you plan to use your Garmin for activities that use the watch more (diving, activities causing shock to the watch for example), read the following section on the Fenix ​​5 …

Last point, if you plan to put your watch on 24 hours a day, the Forerunner 935 is more pleasant to wear (lighter) and less bulky than the Fenix ​​5, especially for sleeping … On the other hand, it is less elegant with its bracelet silicone and its plastic case. It can also be a bit "mastodon" on a thin wrist.

Fenix ​​5: for elegance, robustness and outdoor sports in general (including running and triathlon …)

The Fenix ​​5 has been designed for dual use. Like the Forerunner 935, it is a complete watch that covers most sports and offers a number of tools and analyzes for training and monitoring the athlete. It is also an elegant watch intended to be worn daily as a watch and activity tracker.

Its advantage, compared to the Forerunner, is to be more robust thanks to its steel case and bezel, as well as its anti-scratch sapphire crystal glass (optional on Fenix ​​5S and 5). For activities likeclimbing, exploration, the hiking, or even for daily use, the Fenix ​​5 will be more suitable. You can leave with peace of mind, she will be able to absorb shocks without too many sores. The Fenix ​​5 is therefore more intended for multisport use than the Forerunner 935, although the two watches offer exactly the same sports!

Garmin Fenix ​​5X with topographic map
The 5X model has the map of Europe including cycle paths

If you are looking for a watch for hiking or trekking, or if you want your watch to suggest round-trip routes on road or bike path where you are, then go instead on a Fenix ​​5X which carries topological maps and cycle routes from Europe and, if you are also a golfer, over 40,000 golf courses in the world!

For followers of the diving, the Forerunner 935 is only waterproof to 5 ATM, that is to say 50 meters of pressure. In reality, this pressure is reached much faster because of movements, jumps, etc. To be able to dive with your Garmin, at most snorkeling, you will need the Fenix ​​5.

For everyday use, at work or in the city, it is clear (but it also depends on tastes too!) That the Fenix ​​5 is a more chic than the Forerunner 935. Its bezel and its steel case, its sapphire crystal still impeccable despite the hours of use, its size adapted to each wrist have a nice effect, all the more if it is worn with a pretty metallic bracelet or leather (easily interchangeable without tools). Whether in the gym, outdoors, at work, with friends or at health home, you can match your bracelet to your outfit and look great in any situation. The flip side is that it is thicker and heavier than the Forerunner 935, except in its 5S version.

For people with thin cuffs which no longer support oversized multisport watches, the Fenix ​​5S will be perfect since it was designed for that. If this parameter is important to you, in particular if you plan to wear the watch on a daily basis, opt for this model even if your main sporting activity is limited to running or triathlon. Remember, however, that the battery life is relatively short and this can therefore be limiting. But with UltraTrack mode, this is not necessarily a problem.

Fenix ​​5: sapphire crystal glass or not?

Garmin has well thought out its Fenix ​​5 by offering the optional sapphire crystal on the 5 and 5S models (the 5X model being rather intended for adventurers, it seems logical to have put the sapphire glass by default). The Forerunner 935, meanwhile, has a standard lens, which is very suitable for the activities for which the watch was intended, especially since this choice has made it possible to reduce its price.

The sapphire crystal adds 2 g to the weight of the watch (rather negligible) but above all € 100 to its price. It must be said that this version also includes Wi-Fi connectivity (not available on the model with standard glass). Sapphire crystal is a scratch-resistant, scratch-resistant glass. If you want to extend the life of your watch or keep an impeccable glass over time, it is better to opt for such a model. Apart from the shocks caused by adventure sports, climbing, hiking and other activities, the watch can also be scratched easily if worn everyday.

In addition, if Wi-Fi connectivity is an important parameter for you, you will have to choose the Sapphire version of the Fenix ​​5. Note that Wi-Fi is standard on the Forerunner 935.

Our opinion is that the choice of the Fenix ​​5 rather than the Forerunner 935 is mainly dictated by its elegance which allows it to be worn on a daily basis and its resistance to any Review. The sapphire crystal presents a real interest, in addition to the price to pay, since it allows to protect your watch as well as possible and keep it as pretty as possible. In the end, the choice of Fenix ​​5 for aesthetic reasons should logically encourage to choose this type of glass but, moreover, it also increases the bill …

Where to buy the Forerunner 935 and the Fenix ​​5 and at what price?

You will find these two watches on the Internet (see below) and in specialist shops. Sport Passion offers you, with its partners, promotional codes.

New for 2018: also discover the brand new Fenix ​​5 Plus, a major evolution of Fenix ​​5. It integrates color mapping of Europe (topographic maps, city maps, cycle paths), an mp3 music player, contactless payment and new route analysis functions ( altimetric profile), a generator of popular routes and more …

Fenix ​​5 Plus review and our review

Buy the Fenix ​​5

Price (from)

599 € 499

599 € 407

Buy the Forerunner 935

Price (from)

449 € 329

€ 397

Commercial links. Non contractual prices. Please consult the merchant website.

Philippe Baudoin
Reproduction prohibited – Copyright © Sport Passion
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Photo credit: Fotolia.com, Garmin.com. This article contains commercial links


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