This article compares and contrasts the Garmin Forerunner 230 vs 235 models. Including basic information on the watches, customer comments, and a final verdict.

Garmin Forerunner 230 vs 235 - What's the difference?

Garmin is passionate about delivering state-of-the-art GPS products for a variety of fields, such as vehicle navigation, marine, fitness, recreation, etc. One of Garmin’s caption is to, “make products that are engineered on the inside for life on the outside.” They also understand athletes need dynamics tools to help pursue their athletic endeavors.

This is evident through their line of GPS watches, and they have several different models that athletes can choose from according to their budget and needs.

This article compares and contrasts two of their Forerunner models: 230 vs 235. It has basic information on the watches, customer comments, and a final verdict. For a quick breakdown of the watches I put together this fancy table for you. 

Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
55 Reviews
1,336 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Battery Life
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 5 weeks GPS mode: Up to 16 hours + notifications + heart rate.
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days GPS mode: Up to 11 hours
Physical Dimensions
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Weight
1.5 oz. (41g)
1.5 oz. (42g)
Smart Notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)
Music Control
Time/ Distance Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)
Syncs Wirelessly
$189.99
$247.70
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
55 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Battery Life
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 5 weeks GPS mode: Up to 16 hours + notifications + heart rate.
Physical Dimensions
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Weight
1.5 oz. (41g)
Smart Notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)
Music Control
Time/ Distance Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)
Syncs Wirelessly
$189.99
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
1,336 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Battery Life
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days GPS mode: Up to 11 hours
Physical Dimensions
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Weight
1.5 oz. (42g)
Smart Notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)
Music Control
Time/ Distance Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)
Syncs Wirelessly
$247.70

Garmin Forerunner 230 vs 235 Overview: 

These two models offer runners various information to help you.

Let's break them down:

The features that they both have:

  • check
    Track essential training data, such as distance, heart rate, pace, distance, and VO2 levels
  • check
    Data is automatically stored in Garmin Connect app.
  • check
    A tracker that documents number of steps, distance, and sleep.
  • check
    Ability to receive text/call notifications from phone.
  • check
    Water rating of 50 meters.
  • check
    Option to download watch faces, widgets, etc for a customizable experience

There are a few technologies used to help runners train effectively. Distance and pace are tracked using both GPS and GLONASS. These two technologies also help track steps taken as well as mapping a course. It also has a built-in accelerometer to help track distance and pace while training on a treadmill or indoor track. The accelerometer eliminates the need for a separate accessory called a foot pod.

Garmin understands that runners come with different training needs and goals. This understanding is the reason why people can download watch faces, widgets, data fields, and other apps through the Connect IQ store. Having this option helps runners organize data and customize their watches to their style and liking.

Another popular feature of the Garmin Forerunner 230 is the use of Garmin Connect app. Runners can download advanced training plans and workouts through this app. The app displays charts, graphs, and maps in a user-friendly way. It also allows the runner to wirelessly upload into app and share data with friends, which fosters camaraderie and/or competition within one another. The screens on both versions are a large 1.23 inch diameter.

The Differences: 

When it comes to the Forerunner 235, both versions are practically the same with a couple differences.

  • 235 has a wrist monitor that takes heart rate, but one has to buy a chest strap and connect to Ant+ with the 230.
  • The wrist monitor in the 235 can document pulse and heart rate at all times.
  • The 235 has a shorter battery life than the 230 due to the Garmin Elevate technology.
  • The 230 gets 16 hours in battery life in exercise mode while the 235 gets 11 hours.
  • Price
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
55 Reviews
1,336 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Battery Life
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 5 weeks GPS mode: Up to 16 hours + notifications + heart rate.
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days GPS mode: Up to 11 hours
Physical Dimensions
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Weight
1.5 oz. (41g)
1.5 oz. (42g)
Smart Notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)
Music Control
Time/ Distance Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)
Syncs Wirelessly
$189.99
$247.70
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
55 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Battery Life
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 5 weeks GPS mode: Up to 16 hours + notifications + heart rate.
Physical Dimensions
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Weight
1.5 oz. (41g)
Smart Notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)
Music Control
Time/ Distance Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)
Syncs Wirelessly
$189.99
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
1,336 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Battery Life
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days GPS mode: Up to 11 hours
Physical Dimensions
45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Weight
1.5 oz. (42g)
Smart Notifications (displays email, text and other alerts when paired with your compatible phone)
Music Control
Time/ Distance Alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)
Syncs Wirelessly
$247.70

What Actual Users Are Saying

The Forerunner 230 became a popular choice among runners for many reasons. Customers loved the accuracy of the GPS and GLONASS working together. The GPS connects quicker (as less as 3 seconds) than previous Garmin models. The screen is big enough to show 4 data fields at once, and the text is easy to read. It takes two weeks to get to 30% battery life with moderate exercise use. It is also lightweight, comfortable, and suitable for tiny wrists.

As with any progressing technologies, there are always areas to work on. Some customers say there are too many features, which makes it overwhelming to learn the device. There are a number reports stating the notifications glitch out from time-to-time. There are a few who reported inaccuracies with distance and pacing when running on trails or under tree cover and issues with the bluetooth connectivity to phone.

Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
55 Reviews
Garmin Forerunner 230 - Purple/white (Certified Refurbished)
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box. Only select sellers who maintain a high performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on Amazon.com
  • AUDIO PROMPTS - Receive audio prompts from your connected smartphone that include laps and lap times.
  • LARGER SCREEN - A 44% larger screen than the 220 but the same physical size.

 Besides technology, there are some other negative comments for the 230. One comment is the GPS watch is not durable enough for the price. The other is a layout issue, and the buttons are placed where they get accidentally pushed. Also, the charging cord is a clip (instead of a USB) and 2’ long.

Like the base features, the 235 received almost the same type of praise as the 230 with some different commentary. Many claim the heart rate monitor in the 235 is spot on. The design is very attractive and lightweight. The 235 gets faster connection and syncs up almost immediately with apps. It is Connect IQ supported, so customers can customize the screen to their liking.

Sale
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
1,336 Reviews
Garmin Forerunner 235 - Black/Gray, 010-03717-54
  • GPS Running Watch with Wrist-based Heart Rate and display type is sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel(MIP)
  • Customize Your Watch and Your Training, Larger Screen - a 44% Larger Screen than the 225 but the Same Physical Size
  • Audio Prompts - Receive Audio Prompts from Your Connected Smartphone That Include Laps and Lap Times

There are a couple of negative comments that are different from the 230. Some disagree with the GPS accuracy of the GPS watch. There also seems to be issues with the real-time running parameters, such as pacing discrepancies.

Which is Better?

This is a hard decision because both offer the same main features. As stated above, the striking difference between the two are heart rate monitor availability, battery life, and price. The 230 is also discontinued, but can be purchased used or refurbished. The 235 is a current model of the Forerunner and is available in retail stores and Amazon.

For those who just want to track basic data and not incorporate heart rate as a factor, the 230 is an economical choice. The 235 adds more value into the watch because of its comprehensive wrist heart monitor. Regardless of which watch a person picks, it will help him or her achieve more with their training and goals.

Conclusion

Garmin has proved to be a leader in fitness GPS products. According to customer response, the 230 and 235 have helped customers stay on track with their fitness goals without too much interruption. An example of an interruption is GPS taking too long connecting to a satellite. Garmin has also proved to stay ahead of progressing technology by continuously updating and providing different models of their products.


Last update on 2018-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API