Garmin Forerunner 965 Review: Only for triathletes and serious fitness buffs

In a nutshell, the Garmin Forerunner 965 is the Forerunner 955 with an upgraded and gorgeous 1.4-inch AMOLED display. If you have the 955, you can stop reading and ponder whether the new screen is worth the upgrade. If not, please read on to see if you need this smartwatch that is packed with plenty of fitness features.

The Forerunner 965 comes with built-in maps and multi-band GPS as well as triathlon and multi-sport profiles that let you easily switch between sports with one press. You can practically track any workout you can think of with this watch. On the flip side, you probably would not use most of its fitness features.

Garmin Forerunner 965 comes with pre-loaded maps. (Photo: Garmin)

You also get a training readiness score based on your sleep quality, recovery and training load, so you do not need to second-guess if you should go out for a run. That said, once I forgot to track my weightlifting workout, and the watch thought I was stressed because the increase in my heart rate.

  • Price: S$919, get it at Lazada and Shopee
  • Display: 1.4 inches (454 x 454 pixels)
  • Bezel: Titanium
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Case: 47mm
  • Front: Corning Gorilla Glass 3 DX
  • Strap: Silicone
  • Weight: 53g
Tons of fitness featuresExpensive
Gorgeous touchscreen displayOnly available in one size
Titanium bezel looks sleekNo solar power
Long battery life

As a smartwatch, it offers Garmin Pay, so you do not even need to bring cash on your runs. It mirrors my iPhone’s notifications, so you can see what’s going on without reaching out to your smartphone. But it has limitations, for example, you cannot reply WhatsApp message from.

Design wise, it does not differ much from its predecessor. It comes in only one size of 47mm but three colours of black, yellow and white (version reviewed) with colour-matching rubber straps. I like the new titanium bezel that adds a bit of beauty brownie points to it. Still, it looks too sporty. And it is certainly not a watch I would wear to wedding dinners or even to the office.

Looks like you are ready to run, according to Forerunner 965. (Photo: Garmin)

There are three left and two right buttons to control the functions of the watch. Despite having reviewed many Garmin GPS running watches, I still cannot get used to using the bottom two left buttons for toggling up and down, the bottom right button for back, and the top right Start/Stop button for selecting an option.

Thankfully, unlike many of its older predecessors, the 965’s display is now touchscreen. So, it makes it much easier to navigate through the menus of the watch. The display also lights up pretty quickly when you raise your wrist, so you will not be left hanging waiting to read the time.

With its rubber strap, the 965 is really comfortable to wear. Plus, it is really lightweight at only 53g. During workouts or normal wear, it felt as though the watch was not on my wrist at all.

It’s so light that you will not feel it during workouts. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

On my first run with it, the watch took around 30 seconds to lock onto GPS signals in the streets of my HDB estate. On subsequent runs, it took only around 5sec to secure a GPS fix. Its distance tracking for runs was very accurate on my usual 4.2km jogging route along a park connector, with a difference of only around 10m.

Daily steps readings showed a surprisingly big difference of around 9 per cent when compared to my calibrated Apple Watch Series 7. However, sleep tracking is comparable to my Google Nest Hub, which has been tracking my sleep for over a year.

If you are a triathlete, you will need the Garmin Forerunner 965. (Photo: Garmin)

The Forerunner 965 is supposed to last 31hr in GPS mode and up to 23 days in smartwatch mode, according to Garmin. During the review, I found the watch’s battery level dropped to 27 per cent in 10 days when connected to my iPhone 13 Pro Max for notifications, during which I took it for two 4.2km runs.


Apart from no solar power and no alternative sizes, the Garmin Forerunner 965’s biggest bugbear is its rather steep price of S$919. Considering that you can get an Apple Watch Series 8 for as low as S$604.55, you really need to be a triathlete to fully utilise its functions to justify this purchase.