The Forerunner 265 is easy to set up out of the box, too. Just turn it on with the top left button, labeled “light,” and watch it power to life. You’ll answer a series of questions about your preferred language, gender, weight and height (in order to give accurate training insights), along with directions to pair your watch to your smartphone. Pairing your watch with your smartphone through the Garmin Connect app is critical if you want to make the most of your Garmin watch. We’ll get into more detail on that below.
The Forerunner 265 comes equipped with GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems, so you can track your runs no matter where you are. According to Garmin, using GPS combined with either GLONASS or Galileo systems can increase the accuracy and speed of GPS positioning, it can also wear down battery life quicker—something to keep in mind if you’re going to be trekking through an ultramarathon or an otherwise lengthy trip.
The Forerunner 265 boasts a battery life of 13 days if you’re using it solely as a smartwatch, that is, not using the GPS signal to run or walk. But what fun is that? Since we assume you want to make the most of your Forerunner 265 by taking it on a few adventures, be advised that it can last up to 20 hours in GPS-only mode and up to 7 hours with GPS and music (yes, that’s right, you can crank your favorite tunes from your Forerunner 265).
The watch also comes with battery-saving features. Although beautiful, the AMOLED touchscreen can drain battery life faster than the traditional digital screen of Forerunners past. For that reason, the watch face times out very quickly when you’re not actively using it to save battery life.
“I noticed that the watch face timed out much quicker than the Forerunner 55 that I was using before, but any time I flicked my wrist to look at my watch, it instantly came back to life,” Caroline says. “My Forerunner 55 supposedly has this technology too, but sometimes I’d have to literally shake my wrist back and forth to get it to light up–not so with the Forerunner 265.”
A piece of Corning Gorilla Glass, a brand of chemically strengthened glass, covers the digital display, which is locked in place by a fiber-reinforced polymer bezel.
The Forerunner 265 is jam-packed with sensors, too. In addition to the three GPS-tracking sensors, a wrist-based heart rate monitor is built into the back of the watch face. You can choose to have your data screen display this during a run or not.
“I never have my heart rate show during a run or a race because it freaks me out, but it’s definitely a helpful tool for those who are utilizing heart rate training,” Caroline says. “It also just gives you a general idea of when to pick it up or when to dial it back.”
Other sensors include a barometric altimeter sensor to measure altitude, a gyroscope to measure the orientation of the watch (remember how the watch face automatically lights up when you hold your wrist up?), a thermometer and a pulse ox blood oxygen saturation monitor. This measures the saturation of oxygen carried in your red blood cells. This helps you measure your blood oxygen level which can be useful if you’re training at altitude.