Garmin Forerunner 965 Review: The Ultimate Smartwatch Experience with AMOLED Display

Table of Contents

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is a smartwatch that has been making waves in the market. This article will review the watch, focusing on its AMOLED display, navigation features, and other key metrics. If you’re considering investing in a new running watch, this review will provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Garmin Forerunner 965

Garmin Forerunner 965 Review

Elevate Your Performance

  • Standout screen, outstanding battery life, exceptional quality, superior performance.
  • Impressive appearance, high accuracy, advanced tracking capabilities.
  • Excellent battery life, top-notch quality, precise accuracy, impressive performance.
  • Extensive customization options, high-quality display, comprehensive tracking features.

Key Takeaways

  • The Forerunner 965 features a high-resolution AMOLED display and a durable design.
  • It offers an impressive battery life of up to 23 days in smartwatch mode.
  • The watch provides accurate GPS tracking and a range of workout features.
  • It also functions as a smartwatch, offering features like notifications and Garmin Pay.
  • Overall, the Forerunner 965 is a versatile and reliable running watch that is worth considering.

Introduction to the Forerunner Series

The Garmin Forerunner series has been a staple in the running community for years. The Forerunner 965 is the latest addition to this esteemed line, following the Forerunner 955 and Forerunner 265. This watch offers a host of features designed to enhance your workouts and provide valuable metrics.

Design and Display: What Sets the Forerunner 965 Apart?

The Forerunner 965 boasts a sleek design, featuring a titanium bezel and a high-resolution AMOLED display. This new AMOLED screen is a significant upgrade from the previous Garmin models, offering vibrant colors and crisp visuals. The watch face is protected by Gorilla Glass, ensuring durability.

Garmin Forerunner 965 Review: The Ultimate Smartwatch Experience with AMOLED Display

Battery Life: How Long Does the Forerunner 965 Last?

One of the standout features of the Forerunner 965 is its impressive battery life. Garmin says the watch can stay on for up to 23 days in smartwatch mode, which is a big improvement compared to the Forerunner 955. This extended battery life makes the Forerunner 965 an excellent choice for long-distance runners and athletes.

FeatureBattery Life (Up to)What it Means for You
UltraTrac™ Mode (No Music)34 hoursPerfect for ultramarathons or all-day adventures where pinpoint accuracy isn’t crucial. Hike until the sun sets, and your watch will still be going strong.
GPS Only Mode (No Music)31 hoursTrack your runs or bike rides with detailed GPS data, without music draining the battery. Conquer those long training sessions with confidence. ‍♀️
SatIQ™ Technology (AutoSelect) without Music22 hoursThis mode smartly switches between GPS and other satellite systems, saving battery while maintaining good accuracy for most activities. Enjoy a balance of performance and endurance.
All + Multi-Band GNSS Mode without Music19 hoursGo all-in with maximum accuracy using all available satellite systems. Ideal for technical trails, deep canyons, or urban environments with tricky GPS reception. ️
GPS Only Mode with Music10.5 hoursBlast your workout playlist while tracking your run or bike ride. Perfect for shorter sessions where motivation matters most.
All Systems GNSS with Music10 hoursCrank up the tunes and enjoy full tracking accuracy, but be mindful of battery drain on longer adventures. This mode shines for high-intensity workouts or races.
Smartwatch Mode (Without Activity Tracking)14 daysWear your Forerunner 965 all day, every day, for notifications, sleep tracking, and basic activity monitoring. Stay connected and informed, worry-free.

GPS Accuracy: How Reliable is the Forerunner 965?

The Forerunner 965 uses Garmin’s renowned GPS technology to provide accurate tracking during workouts. Whether you’re on a trail run or navigating through the city, you can rely on the Forerunner 965 to keep you on track.

SettingAccuracyIdeal Use CaseNotes
All Systems + Multi-BandExcellent (90-95%)Technical trails, canyons, urban areasMost accurate, but drains battery faster.
SatIQ™ Technology (AutoSelect)Good (85-90%)Most activities, balances accuracy and battery life.Adapts to environment, not always perfect.
All Systems GNSSGood (80-85%)Open terrain, moderate accuracy needs.Less precise than Multi-Band, good battery balance.
GPS OnlyModerate (75-80%)Open terrain, basic tracking.Least accurate, good for casual runs.

Accuracy Factors:

  • Environment: Open fields offer better reception than dense forests or buildings.
  • Satellite Availability: More satellites improve accuracy, especially in challenging environments.
  • Battery Life: Higher accuracy modes drain battery faster.

Additional Considerations:

  • UltraTrac™ Mode: Records fewer points, sacrificing accuracy for longer battery life (ideal for ultramarathons).
  • Calibration: Regularly calibrate your watch for optimal accuracy.
  • Third-Party Reviews: Check reviews with real-world GPS tests for specific insights.

Remember: GPS accuracy can vary, so treat these figures as estimates. Focus on the mode that best suits your activity and desired balance between accuracy and battery life.

Workout Features: What Can the Forerunner 965 Do?

Workout Features: What Can the Forerunner 965 Do?

The Forerunner 965 is more than just a running watch. It offers a range of workout features, including heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and suggested workouts. These features, combined with the Garmin Connect app, provide a comprehensive overview of your fitness and training readiness.

Heart Rate Monitoring: How Accurate is the Forerunner 965?

The Forerunner 965 features a heart rate monitor that provides real-time data during workouts. This allows you to track your heart rate zones and adjust your training intensity accordingly.

Sensors: What’s Inside the Forerunner 965?

The Forerunner 965 is packed with sensors to provide a wealth of data. These include a GPS, a heart rate sensor, and a barometric altimeter. These sensors work together to provide accurate workout data and insights.

SensorFunctionKey FeaturesAdditional Notes
GPS + Multi-Band GNSSLocation TrackingMulti-band support for improved accuracy in challenging environments (forests, cities). Choose between varying GNSS combinations for optimized battery life.Accuracy may vary depending on environment and settings.
BarometerAltitude and PressureProvides elevation data, supports ClimbPro ascent planner, and may assist with weather tracking.Calibrate regularly for accurate altitude readings.
CompassDirectional GuidanceNavigates you back to your starting point or helps follow a course.Ensure proper calibration for best results.
AccelerometerMotion DetectionTracks steps, activities, sleep, and running dynamics.Plays a crucial role in various advanced running metrics.
GyroscopeMovement and OrientationAids in running dynamics analysis and indoor activity tracking.Works in conjunction with the accelerometer for precise motion detection.
ThermometerSkin TemperatureMeasures skin temperature while wearing the watch.Limited usability, mainly for wellness insights.
Optical Heart Rate (Elevate™ 5)Heart Rate MonitoringTracks 24/7 heart rate, provides workout intensity insights, and supports recovery metrics.Accuracy may vary, especially during high-intensity activities.
Pulse OximeterBlood Oxygen SaturationMeasures blood oxygen levels for sleep monitoring and altitude acclimatization insights.Not a medical device, intended for general wellness tracking.

Additional Compatibility:

  • ANT+ and Bluetooth Sensors: Pair external sensors like foot pods, bike speed/cadence sensors, or power meters for even more detailed data.
  • Garmin Ecosystem: Leverage compatible accessories like tempe™ external temperature sensor or inReach® remote for enhanced functionality.

Navigation and Mapping: How Does the Forerunner 965 Guide You?

The Forerunner 965 features built-in navigation and mapping capabilities. Whether you’re exploring new trails or navigating your local neighborhood, the Forerunner 965 can guide you every step of the way.

Smartwatch Capabilities: Is the Forerunner 965 More Than Just a Running Watch?

Beyond its workout features, the Forerunner 965 also functions as a fully-fledged smartwatch. You can receive notifications, use Garmin Pay for contactless payments, and even customize your watch face to match your style.

Garmin Forerunner Comparison: Find Your Perfect Match

Garmin Forerunner Comparison: Find Your Perfect Match

Choosing the right Forerunner can be overwhelming! Here’s a table to help you compare key features of the Forerunner 965, 955, 265, and 945:

FeatureForerunner 965Forerunner 955Forerunner 265Forerunner 945
DisplayAMOLED (1.4″, 454×454)MIP (1.3″, 260×260)AMOLED (1.1″, 416×416)MIP (1.2″, 240×240)
Battery Life (Max)34h (UltraTrac), 22h (SatIQ), 19h (All GNSS)35h (GPS), 20h (All GNSS), 14d (Smartwatch)13h (GPS), 24d (Smartwatch)36h (GPS), 16d (Smartwatch)
SensorsMulti-band GNSS, Barometer, Compass, Accel., Gyro, Thermometer, HR, Pulse OxMulti-band GNSS, Barometer, Compass, Accel., Gyro, HR, Pulse OxMulti-band GNSS, Barometer, Compass, Accel., Gyro, HR, Pulse OxGPS, Barometer, Compass, Accel., Gyro, HR
Advanced Training FeaturesRunning Power, Training Load Focus, Recovery Time Advisor, PacePro Pacing StrategiesRunning Power, Training Load Focus, Recovery Time Advisor, PacePro Pacing StrategiesRunning Power, Training Load Focus, Recovery Time AdvisorYes, but fewer features
Music StorageYes (up to 2000 songs)Yes (up to 2000 songs)NoYes (up to 1000 songs)
MappingTopo & Landscape Maps WorldwideNo Maps PreloadedTopo Maps Available for PurchaseTopo Maps Available for Purchase

Key Differences:

  • Display: The 965 and 265 boast brighter, more vibrant AMOLED displays, while the 955 and 945 use MIP displays with longer battery life.
  • Advanced Training Features: The 965 and 955 offer the most advanced running dynamics and training metrics.
  • Music Storage: Only the 965, 955, and 945 allow music storage on the device.
  • Mapping: The 965 comes with preloaded worldwide topo and landscape maps, while the others require map purchases.

Who Should Choose Which:

  • Forerunner 965: The ultimate triathlete watch with superior display, advanced features, and global maps.
  • Forerunner 955: Great for serious runners and multisport athletes who want top-tier training features and good battery life.
  • Forerunner 265: A fantastic option for runners seeking advanced features and a vibrant display at a more affordable price. 
  • Forerunner 945: A solid choice for veteran multisport athletes who value battery life and essential training features.

Conclusion: Is the Forerunner 965 Worth It?

The Forerunner 965 is a powerful running watch that offers a host of features. From its impressive battery life to its accurate GPS, this watch is a worthy investment for any athlete.

Garmin Forerunner 965: Pros and Cons

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is a high-end GPS watch aimed at serious runners, cyclists, and triathletes. It boasts a slew of features and improvements over its predecessors, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. Let’s weigh the pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you:


  • Stunning Display: The 1.4-inch AMOLED display is bright, colorful, and easy to read in any light, even direct sunlight.
  • Advanced Training Features: Offers comprehensive running power, training load focus, recovery time advisor, and PacePro pacing strategies.
  • Superior GPS Accuracy: Multi-band GNSS support ensures accurate tracking even in challenging environments.
  • Music Storage: Store and play up to 2000 songs directly on the watch, perfect for music-loving athletes.
  • Preloaded Maps: Includes worldwide topo and landscape maps for navigation and route planning.
  • Long Battery Life: Offers up to 34 hours in UltraTrac mode, enough for even the longest adventures.
  • Improved Recovery Metrics: Provides more detailed insights into your recovery status and readiness for training.
  • Durable Design: Built to withstand tough workouts and harsh environments.


  • Expensive: Priced significantly higher than other Forerunner models.
  • No Touchscreen: Relies on physical buttons, which some users may find less intuitive.
  • Large and Bulky: May feel uncomfortable for smaller wrists.
  • Limited Smartwatch Features: Lacks features like contactless payments and app notifications compared to some smartwatches.
  • No Solar Charging: Unlike some competitors, the 965 doesn’t offer solar charging options.
  • Optical Heart Rate Accuracy: May not be as accurate as chest strap heart rate monitors during high-intensity activities.


The Garmin Forerunner 965 is a top-of-the-line GPS watch with a plethora of features for serious athletes. If you prioritize a stunning display, advanced training metrics, accurate GPS tracking, and built-in maps, it’s a compelling option. However, its high price tag, lack of a touchscreen, and limited smartwatch features might deter some users. Carefully consider your needs and budget before taking the plunge.