Forerunner 235, Vivoactive 3, or A.N Other?

portlandersportlanders ✭✭✭
I need a watch / tracker to replace my samsung gear fit2 which has terrible battery drain and i fear won't last a half-marathon distance.

Apart from the battery drain i really like the watch/tracker, and use the following features daily - sleep tracker, steps, hm, running, notifications (email / calls / text / facebook, etc) so would like to see these in the new watch which would also have a much improved battery life, have some water resistancy to say 50m (salt water if poss), and have the ability to sync to strava.

My budget is around the £200 mark, I would have liked some music storage but wouldn't give-up the quality of the above preference for that, and so think that's above my budget.

So from my research todate i've come up with 2 options, the forerunner 235 and the vivoactive 3 - both garmins. I'm tending to favour the vivoactive as it seems to encompass more with still a decent battery suitable i think for say a marathon run (my ultimate goal). I like the round dials on these in preference to the fitbit ionic which again i would put appearance before the ability to store music as the watch will be for everyday wear.

Anyone have a preference over these 2 models, or perhaps can suggest an alternative?

Thanks in advance

Comments

  • PeersPeers ✭✭✭
    I had the vivoactive 3 briefly, but it froze on me and wouldn't come back to life.  The shop didn't have a replacement so I got a refund.  That isn't the experience everybody has with the device though.  It was a good watch up to that point.

    I currently have the Fenix 5 and 100% recommend it, but it may be stretching the budget a little.  Battery life of over a week even with using the GPS 7 hours+ a week.  Have had it last 10 days+ when doing less running.  The Vivoactive 3 lasted around 4 days with a few hours GPS use during that time.

    The 235 seems a good solid watch.  It's been out for more than 2 years now and expect a replacement will be on the way soon.  It was on my shortlist, but the only thing that stopped me was the styling.  I wanted something I could happily wear all day and didn't look like a sports watch.

    I'd recommend checking out DCRainmaker reviews if you have not seen them already, as they are probably the most in-depth out there;

    Vivoactive 3 - https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2017/08/garmin-vivoactive-3-everything-you-need-to-know.html

    Forerunner 235 - https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/11/garmin-fr230-fr235-review.html
  • I have the vivoactive 3.. I got it about ,4 months ago.. at first I thought it was awful and too complicated to figure out how to work everything out.
    But as time has gone by, and as I am training for next weekends marathon I have found it invaluable. It does take a minute or so to find the GPS signal, but once found I haven't found any issues. There are masses of stats to be mulled over from your runs if you download everything via playstores connect.
    Before any big run using GPS I always charge up the battery, and have found no problems even with being out four a four hour run.
    I do find that the first 10 minutes of a run my heart rate goes really high, and is wrong...
    The watch gets charged up really fast, about 45 minutes unlike the older Garmin's which take hours to charge.
    The watch face can be changed to whatever face you want, including day and date.
    My old Garmin's watch strap broke and the watchstrap couldn't be changed but with the vivoactive 3 you can change the watchstrap, without having to bin the watch.
  • portlandersportlanders ✭✭✭
    Many thanks for the comments, I went in to Currys yesterday and got the chance to see the watches in the flesh, tried the fitbit iconic which was comfortable - wasn't allowed to try the VA3 unless i bought it first - i could have then opened the box, tried it on, and if not liked it got a refund..... seemed a bit of a pathetic system to me.... so when i got home i ordered the VA3 from Amazon, at least there i can give it a couple of weeks use before deciding if i like it or not... cheaper from Amazon too, just a couple of quid over budget.... look forward to trying it out and will report back how it goes.
  • PeersPeers ✭✭✭
    edited April 15
    Hope it works out well for you. I did like the watch while I had it.

    Came here to post the 235 is currently £140 on Sports Direct, but I guess you don’t need it now https://www.sportsdirect.com/garmin-forerunner-235-gps-hrm-watch-940558?colcode=94055852
  • portlandersportlanders ✭✭✭
    Cheers Peers, i'll see how i get on with this one. The 235 i ruled out as i'm used to a touch-screen, could just see me hitting the watch face of it wondering why it won't respond lol
  • I would recommend Forerunner 235, I did a heap of research and that came out as the best low-cost running watch for me. Vivoactive looked nice, especially if you like having more smart watch features, but the touch screen and higher price were downsides for me.

    I recommend the Runner Window Connect IQ app if you go with a garmin watch, it's an activity screen that shows all the useful running data on one screen (cadence, average pace, current pace, HR, time, distance, battery etc).
  • portlandersportlanders ✭✭✭
    Well, been a week since i got the VA3, and wow! so much better than my previous gear fit2 - primary reason for change was the battery life, where the gear fit2 would barely last a half marathon distance whilst the VA3 takes only about 20-25% juice over that distance. I also find it lighter and a more pleasing design overall being that i use this as my everyday watch.
    Still got lots of options and settings to figure out, but have installed a custom timing screen that NicBathgate recommended, thanks fella, it shows everything i need on the one screen and is easy to read.. Brilliant!.

    Just like you say Dave turpitt, it's a hell of a learning curve, but i'm enjoy finding out how to do more things, but yeah well impressed, even got a pack of glass screen protectors (don't even use these for my mobile) but want to ensure i protect this beauty. 
  • Apologies for the thread revival but does anyone know of any good deals on the 235 at the moment? I see Blacks have it for £185, but the £140 Sport Direct deal mentioned above has expired now.

    My Fitbit Surge has always been a little unsatisfying as a running watch, so I'm looking to change (and the Surge is falling to bits so I have an excuse). I don't want to spend as much as £350 on a Garmin 645, but I think I would use a bit more functionality than the Garmin 35 provides. I am aware the 235 is getting a bit old now so am wary of "over paying" for it only to find out the "245" is released very soon.

    I would prefer Garmin as I have an Edge 520 for cycling so am already familiar with how Garmins work, although I wouldn't completely discount a TomTom or a Polar (I used to have an "old fashioned Polar HRM 15+ years ago which lasted me for ages until I replaced with the Fitbit Surge).

    Thanks in advance.
  • FWIW, I bought a second-hand 235 from a regular on another forum I use. But I noticed that Amazon Prime day has the 235 for £155 today if anyone is looking for one.
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