Garmin Forerunner 165 affordable runners smartwatch features

The recently launched Forerunner 165 runners smartwatch has been specifically designed to enhance your training without breaking the bank Offering a dedicated companion for runners and sports enthusiasts who are serious about tracking their performance. With a price tag that’s easy on the wallet, the Forerunner 165 offers a suite of features that can rival its more expensive counterparts. Let’s delve into what makes this watch a noteworthy contender in the world of fitness technology.

The Garmin Forerunner 165 is available in two versions: the base model at $249 and the music edition at $299. What sets this watch apart is its AMOLED color touchscreen display, a luxury usually found on pricier models. The display is not only a pleasure to look at with its vivid colors and sharp visuals, but it also enhances the user experience, making interactions with the watch a breeze.

Garmin Forerunner 165 runners watch

When it comes to battery life, the Forerunner 165 impresses with an estimated four days of use, even with the always-on display feature activated. This means less time tethered to a charger and more time out on the track or in the gym. The GPS system is built on Garmin’s robust satellite tracking technology, ensuring accuracy in most conditions. However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t have the multiband support that some of the high-end models boast. The Garmin Forerunner 165 is a budget-friendly smartwatch designed primarily for runners but suitable for various athletic activities.

Garmin Forerunner 165 runners smartwatch features

Health and fitness tracking is where the Forerunner 165 really shines. It includes comprehensive sleep tracking, heart rate variability (HRV) status, and even monitors your naps. The body battery feature is particularly intriguing, as it monitors your energy levels throughout the day, advising you on the best times to exert yourself or take a rest. For those who like to have their music on the go, the music edition allows you to store playlists and podcasts, providing that extra motivation while you’re working up a sweat. The watch also suggests daily workouts and includes a race calendar, which is perfect for keeping your training on track.

Runners will appreciate the Forerunner 165’s ability to measure running power and dynamics directly from the wrist, giving insights into form and efficiency. While it doesn’t support a multisport mode or power meter sensors, it does offer post-exercise metrics like training effect and recovery time. These features help you understand the impact of your workouts and how much rest you need before the next one. The data from your sessions syncs seamlessly with Garmin Connect and can be shared with platforms like Strava, allowing you to connect with a community of athletes and gain deeper insights into your performance.

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Garmin Connect

Garmin Forerunner 165 Feature List:

Key Specifications:

  • Price: $249 for the base edition and $299 for the music edition.
  • Display: AMOLED color touchscreen display, a first for the Forerunner series at this price point.
  • Battery Life: Up to 4 days with always-on display mode, based on real-world usage including 1-2 hours of GPS workouts per day.
  • GPS: Features all-systems GPS, but lacks the multi-band/dual-frequency GPS found in higher-end models.
  • Music Storage: Available in the music edition, supporting Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, MP3 files, and podcasts.
  • Garmin Pay: Contactless payment feature available on both editions.
  • Design: Incorporates buttons for navigation, contrasting with the Vivoactive 5’s limited two-button design.
  • Fitness Tracking: Offers detailed running-focused features, sleep tracking, HRV status, recovery time, and VO2 Max predictions.
  • Customization: Supports customizable watch faces and widgets through Garmin Connect IQ.
  • Sensor Compatibility: Supports heart rate straps, cycling radar, cadence, and speed sensors, among others, but lacks support for cycling power meters.


  • Affordability: Positioned as a budget-friendly option with high-end features like an AMOLED display.
  • Focused on Runners: Tailored features for runners, including advanced workout suggestions and running dynamics.
  • Music and Payment Features: The music edition and Garmin Pay add convenience for on-the-go athletes.
  • Battery Life: Offers solid battery performance, especially considering the always-on display functionality.
  • Customizable: High degree of customization available for data fields, screens, and appearance.
  • Sleep and Recovery Tracking: Includes comprehensive sleep tracking and insights into recovery and HRV status.


  • Lacks Multi-Band GPS: While the GPS is competent, it does not have the advanced multi-band support found in more expensive models, potentially affecting accuracy in challenging environments.
  • No Cycling Power Meter Support: Cyclists with power meters cannot use this watch to track their power data.
  • Complex Product Lineup: Garmin’s extensive range of models around this price point can make choosing the right watch confusing.
  • Limited High-End Features: Missing features like training readiness and more advanced metrics found in higher-end Forerunner models.
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In terms of accuracy, the Forerunner 165’s GPS and heart rate sensors perform very well. They provide dependable data that you can trust to reflect your true training efforts. While the watch may not have every feature that the top-tier models do—such as training readiness—it still delivers many of the most desired functionalities at a more accessible price point.

The Garmin Forerunner 165 positions itself as an attractive option for athletes, especially runners, who are looking for a reliable training tool without spending a fortune. The standout AMOLED display, accurate sensors, and a variety of customizable features make it a competitive choice in the budget smartwatch segment. It’s true that it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the more expensive Garmin models, but it offers enough to satisfy the needs of both beginners and seasoned athletes.

Choosing the right Garmin watch is all about understanding your specific needs and matching them with the features that each model offers. The Forerunner 165, with its balance of functionality and affordability, could very well be the perfect fit for those who want to take their training to the next level without overspending. Whether you’re preparing for a marathon or just looking to stay active, this watch is designed to be by your side every step of the way, providing the data and motivation you need to reach your fitness goals.

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