Garmin Instinct vs Forerunner 235

Garmin Instinct

Garmin makes the most outstanding watches in the market. The wrist watches are of high quality. They are also made to fit the target audience. They come in varieties. Their performances are different according to hardware and software. Garmin Instinct is stylish and classy. It is an outdoor watch. It is used for trail running, cycling, and hiking.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Forerunner 235 is meant for sporty people. If you love running this is an incredible watch for you. The watches are rugged and can be used for many sporting activities. Forerunner 235 followed the steps of Forerunner 225. They are compatible with both Android and iOS. They have no limits when it comes to giving the best experiences. Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 235 are different in many aspects. Read on to know how they differ.

Cost of the Watches and date of release

The wristwatches are priced differently. Garmin Instinct costs at $299.99 (check current price). On the other hand, the Forerunner will cost you $249.99 (check current price). The $50 price might be catered in the difference of how they function. Forerunner 235 has the best budget so far. Sometimes you might find that prizes differ according to online sites.

The ideal place to get reasonable prices is the Garmin website and Amazon. Garmin Instinct was first launched in 2018 while Forerunner 235 was released in the year 2017.

Connectivity Support

Garmin watches have some connectivity differences. Garmin Instinct can be used with Bluetooth and ANT+ devices. This helps in tracking fitness. Forerunner 235 supports 4.1v Bluetooth connectivity. It doesn’t connect with Wi-Fi Hotspot. As for GPS, they are both enabled.

The characteristics are, however, distinct. Garmin Instinct has global positioning of GLONASS and Galileo. Forerunner 235 only has GLONASS positioning. GLONASS satellites have proved to be more accurate than GPS at higher altitudes. Hence you can be able to search and find more accurate locations in the far north or south. Features in both watches allow you to choose the satellite that you want to use. You can use either of the three or combine them for accuracy. This will depend on the wristwatch as explained.

Battery Life

Garmin Instinct has longer battery life. It lasts up to 14 days. This is when you are in smartwatch mode only. If you are using GPS it can serve you for a maximum of 16 hours. You get 40 hours with Ultra Trac which saves on the battery while you use it.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Forerunner 235 has an endurance of 9 days in watch mode. In GPS mode the battery will take you for 11 hours. This is also with the heart rate monitor functioning. The battery capacity is 240mAh. The battery is inbuilt hence it cannot be removed. You have to charge the Lithium-ion battery fully for optimal performance. If not fully charged the battery life reduces with them and may not function perfectly.


Garmin Instinct

They have unique makes that differentiate them apart. Garmin Instinct has a rugged design and is lightweight. It is an outdoor wristwatch. It has water and shock resistance. The water resistance is at 10ATM. The wristwatch is also designed to resist any heat that would make it malfunction. It is available in colors such as monterra gray, thundra and flame red. The band material is silicone. Garmin Instinct weighs 52 grams. It does not come with touch screen options.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Forerunner 235 has a rubber band material. It is made of resin. The colors of the wristwatch come in pink, red, orange and green. It has an overall sporty design. With a water resistance of 5 ATM, you can expect it not to get damaged by water. It weighs 42 grams. The wristwatch is not a touch screen device as well.


Garmin instinct has a resolution of 128 ×128 pixels. Forerunner 235 has a screen resolution of 215×180. It can be seen well in extreme sunlight conditions. Its dimensions are 45×45mm×15.3mm. The size of the display in Garmin Instinct is 0.9 inches. The display type is AMOLED.

Forerunner 235 has a display size of 1.23 inches. It has the MIP type. The dimensions are 4.5 by 4.5 by 1.15. Garmin Instinct has a screen protector while Forerunner 235 lacks it. Garmin fitness wearable display is strengthened with silicone chemicals.

The screen in Instinct acts as navigation equipment. You can be able to view what you are doing at that moment. The current status will show whether you are taking time to scroll. It also displays when you have paused a work-out. The screen also shows if you are checking your heart rate or looking for direction of a certain location.


They both function differently. They have separate sensors that work well with each of the wristwatches. Garmin Instinct has several sensors. They include the Optical Heart Rate, Compass, Barometer, Thermometer, and Accelerometer. Forerunner on the other side has one sensor which is the Optical Heart Rate.

The Optical Heart Rate sensor gives consistent and correct readings. Forerunner has 24/7 activity tracking sensors. You can be able to monitor how your heart is beating as you continue with the sport. The barometer in Instinct measures elevation when climbing the mountain or hill. It also notifies on a looming storm. The thermometer senses the temperature and the accelerometer measures speed at which you are moving.


The warranty length of Garmin Instinct is one year. That means you can be able to return the watch if it doesn’t function or it gets damaged. Forerunner 235 has no specified warranty. It only has a money back guarantee of 30 days. If you are not satisfied with the watch you can return it within 30 days of purchase. Then, you will get your money back.


Garmin Instinct is able to receive notifications. This can be in the form of text messages. You can also be notified through phone and E-mails. Forerunner 235 receives the same notifications. It only needs to be compatible with the device. This way you can get the information. If there is a problem with compatibility then you will only read the heading of the message. The whole message will not be shown. The alerts are in the form of vibration and voice.


Garmin Instinct has memory storage of 16GB hence you can be able to store all the information you need. The large storage means that you don’t need to delete some items to free up space. Forerunner 235 has an inbuilt memory system.

Sports Activities

There are events suited for each of the wrist watches. Garmin instinct has more sporting activities as compared to Forerunner 235. Garmin Instinct works well with swimming, work-outs, sleep tracking, and stress tracking. Other fitness activities include heart rate monitoring, and cycling. It also has V02 max stats to give you an idea about the recovery time. Distance covered is also shown by the wristwatch. It is a multi-sport wristwatch.

Forerunner 235 does not support cycling. It supports activities such as sleep and stress monitoring. Swimming and heart rate detection is also supported by Forerunner 235. The biggest difference is that it does not have a V02 max to show oxygen consumption.


Garmin instinct allows for application to be downloaded. You can, therefore, download fitness apps. This can be Strava, Runkeeper, Runtastic or Google Fit. The list is long hence you can select one of your own liking and preference. Forerunner does not permit any app to be downloaded on to it. It is a bit restricting when you need a variety of applications.

As for the music feature, you can play music with both smartwatches. They both have Spotify support. Garmin Instinct has the trackback feature that enables you to follow the roué in reverse mode. Forerunner 235 lacks this attribute. Instinct also has an important feature called Connect IQ which is responsible for app extensions. Forerunner does not have a Connect IQ as software.

NFC is a payment technology found only in Garmin Instinct. It allows for contactless payment. Hence it is true to say that that you can use Garmin Pay with Instinct. Forerunner 235 misses out on this vital feature. They both have clocks to display the time taken for a work-out or any activity. GPX routes can be found in Garmin Instinct, however, with Forerunner 235, you only get the GPS routes which help a lot in mapping.


Garmin Instinct and Forerunner 235 are similar in some ways, for instance, the battery rechargeability. They both support Android and iPhones in their performance. Differences come in with the software and hardware. They have varied designs and colors. They also vary in the sports that you can use them for. The sensors in each of them are divergent. The Optical Heart Rate Sensor is the one they share in common.

When it comes to pricing, Forerunner 235 will save you fifty dollars. They both work great depending on what you need. If you are interested in many sports then Garmin Instinct is the ideal wristwatch for you.

Garmin Forerunner 235 features
All you need to know about Garmin Instinct

Related links:
Garmin International website

Garmin Instinct on Amazon

Garmin Forerunner 235 on Amazon