Garmin Forerunner 25 vs. 35 Review

The Garmin Forerunner 35 was released a year after the Forerunner 25 was announced, promising to bring all the latest and greatest of Garmin’s tech right on your wrist.

If you’re in the market for a new smartwatch, you’re probably wondering whether you should go for the Garmin Forerunner 35 or save some cash and opt for the older Garmin Forerunner 25.

Well, it’s all about comparing the two models, and based on your needs, you can pick the right one for you.

To spare you the effort of comparing them, we’ve put them head-to-head in our full-blown Garmin Forerunner 25 vs. 35 comparison.

Garmin Forerunner 25


  • Long standby time
  • More affordable
  • Multiple color options


  • No built-in heart rate monitor

Garmin Forerunner 35


  • Great battery life in training mode
  • Has a built-in vibration alert
  • Music controls
  • Large, bright display
  • More activity tracking capabilities
  • Compatible with more Garmin accessories


  • A bit pricey

Compare Garmin Forerunner 25 and 35


Garmin Forerunner 35

Garmin Forerunner 25


0.93” mono 128p

0.91” or 0.73” mono 128p

Heart Rate Monitor



Activity Tracking

Running, walking, cycling, and interval training



Sound and vibration


Color Options



Battery Life

Up to 8 days or 13 hours in training mode

Up to 10 weeks or 10 hours in training mode

Design and Fit

The Garmin Forerunner 25 comes in two size options: 1.57” x 1.85” and 1.38” x 1.73”, while the Forerunner 35 comes in just one size: 1.397” x 1.6”. 

Neither the Forerunner 25 nor the 35 have a touch screen. Instead, they utilize a button-based user interface, and there are 4 buttons: down scroll arrow, activity, back, and backlight buttons. 

Pressing on any of the buttons will produce a beep, which can be pretty handy when you’re working out, but you can always turn it off if you want to. 

Both the Garmin Forerunner 25 and 35 are water-resistant down to a maximum depth of 50 meters. They also have roughly the same weight, with the Forerunner 35 weighing 37.3g and the Forerunner 25’s large model standing at 39g. The smaller Forerunner 25 model is the most lightweight of the trio, with a gross weight of 31g.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 35


Both the Garmin Forerunner 25 and 35 have 128p black and white displays. However, the one on the Forerunner 35 is a lot brighter. It’s also a bit bigger, with a 0.93” diagonal compared to the 0.73” on Forerunner 25’s smallest model and 0.91” on the largest model.

While running, taking a quick glance at the Garmin Forerunner 35’s display is more than enough for you to keep track of your pace, while the Forerunner 25’s display would require you to squint your eyes or make a stop to be able to read the data. Also, the older model’s display can be a bit challenging to read under sunlight, especially the one in the small model.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 35

Battery Life

In watch mode, the Garmin Forerunner 25’s small model can last you up to 8 weeks, while the large one can hold a charge for up to 10 weeks. In training mode, you can get 8 hours out of the small model, while the large model can last for 10 hours. 

On the other hand, the Garmin Forerunner 35 falls behind in watch mode compared to the Forerunner 25, lasting just 9 days. That was expected considering that the Forerunner 35 has more sensors than its predecessor, but 9 days isn’t that bad anyway. Of course, you can improve battery life by turning off GPS or any other always-on sensors.

However, the Forerunner 35 beats the Forerunner 25 in training mode, lasting for up to 13 hours compared to the Forerunner 25’s 10-hour rating in the large model. However, the Forerunner 25’s exceptional standby endurance more than makes up for that.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 25

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Activity Tracking and Sensors

Activity tracking is where the Garmin Forerunner 25 falls behind quite a bit. It can only track running activity, providing very little details about your jogs. However, for someone who has just started running, it should be enough. 

On the other side of the coin, the Garmin Forerunner 35 can track many more activities, including running, walking, cycling, and interval training, making it a more favorable choice for cross-fitters, bodybuilders, and cyclists. You also get sports profiles that provide you with vital metrics about your performance and progress. 

Not to mention, the Forerunner 35 has the Move IQ feature that allows you to seamlessly switch from one activity to the other without having to click any buttons. The watch instantly recognizes your movement and automatically switches to the other activity. It’s also worth noting that the Forerunner 35 can track workout intensity, while the Forerunner 25 can’t.

Another area where the Forerunner 35 outshines the other model is heart rate monitoring. To monitor your heart rate on the Forerunner 25, you need to attach a chest strap, which can be uncomfortable. 

The Forerunner 35 ditches that for a wrist-based optical heart-rate monitor that doesn’t require a chest strap. Unfortunately, it’s a bit slow, but it’s still better than the other option, right?

You can connect both Forerunner watches to many of Garmin’s sensors, including the Garmin Heart Rate Monitor, Garmin Soft Strap Premium HRM, and Garmin Footpad. 

The Forerunner 35 has a slight edge here because, unlike the Forerunner 25, you can pair it with the Garmin Bike Cadence Sensor and the Garmin Bike Speed Sensor. This is because the Forerunner 35 supports cycling tracking while the Forerunner 25 doesn’t.

Last but not least, both Forerunner 25 and 35 have a Move Bar that motivates you to get up and start working out if you sit for a prolonged period. 

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 35

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Software and User Interface

Garmin Forerunner 25’s user interface is pretty basic, but the good news is that it’s super easy to use. You’ll be able to figure out how to do everything within a day or two of using the watch.

On the contrary, the Forerunner 35’s interface is a bit more polished and boasts a modern look and feel. It may take a while for you to explore the watch’s features, but once you get the hang of it, using the watch on a daily basis will be a breeze.

Not to mention, the Forerunner 35 is capable of displaying 3 metrics at the same time, compared to the Forerunner 25’s ability to display only 2 at a time.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 35


Since the Garmin Forerunner 35 is the Forerunner 25’s successor, it comes at a higher price tag. The price difference isn’t huge, but it’s up to you to decide whether the additional features are worth the extra cash. 

However, if you’re on a budget, the Forerunner 25 is the clear winner here.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 25

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The Garmin Forerunner 25 is available in 4 color options, which are:

  • Black and violet
  • White and pink
  • Black and blue
  • Black and red

However, keep in mind that the first two are exclusive to the smaller models because they’re targeted at women, while the other two are available in the larger model only.

On the other hand, the Garmin Forerunner 35 is available in only two color options: all-black or black and cyan.

We like the fact that Garmin offers women-friendly models with the Forerunner 25. Not exactly sure why they followed a different path with the Forerunner 35, though.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 25


Both the Garmin Forerunner 25 and 35 support notifications like text, email, and other alerts. You can also use Bluetooth Smart to connect your watch to Garmin’s Connect smartphone app. The app also lets you track your location live and sync automatically. 

Since the Garmin Forerunner 35 is an upgrade over the Forerunner 25, it’s a no-brainer that it has some new tech built inside it. One of the most notable upgrades is the built-in vibration alert, which is quite intuitive to use. 

You can set your smartwatch to vibrate when you receive a message, call, or any other notification. Not to mention, you can use it to set sports milestones.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 35

Music Playing

The Garmin Forerunner 35 also introduces music controls, a cool feature that allows you to control the music on your smartphone without having to take it out of your pocket. You can pause, skip, and replay songs easily while exercising with the click of a button. Unfortunately, this feature is absent in the older model.

Winner: Garmin Forerunner 35

Garmin Forerunner 25 vs. 35: Final Verdict

To sum up our Garmin Forerunner 25 vs. 35 comparison, the Garmin Forerunner 35 wins by a good margin. 

It makes sense because it’s the newer model, and thus, it has more features and refinements. Things like the music controls, optical heart-rate monitor, better activity tracking, sports profiles, and larger display can all persuade you into getting it.

This doesn’t mean that the Forerunner 25 isn’t worth the purchase, though. Sure, you’ll get fewer features, but you’ll pay less too. We also like that the Forerunner 25 has more size options, potentially making it a more attractive choice for kids and women with small wrists. It’s also worth noting that the Forerunner 25 has more color options.

So, which one should you get? It’s up to you to decide! But the short answer is to go for the Forerunner 35 for more advanced features and the Forerunner 25 for a better price and more size options.

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