The most frequent question: “Should I buy the 735XT or a Fenix 3 multisport watch?” Here is the answer.

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Regarding the Garmin 735XT multisport watch,  one question ended up more than any other in EverFit’s inbox: “Should I buy the 735XT or the Fenix 3?”. The 735XT and the Fenix 3 have lots in common, but they differ as much. If you make your choice in terms of what each watch can or can’t do, you are only halfway there.

There is a definite list of differences in terms of features, but each watch offers a unique practical experience. In terms of features, much of it has a wow factor, but the real question is: is it of any relevance to you? Here are some wow specs. The 735XT is the first Garmin watch that supports the Varia Vision heads-up display. This is a gadget you attach to your specs that displays your activity stats within your heads-up, peripheral vision. Think fighter pilot vibe. The 735XT also displays the Shimano Di2 electronic cycle gear position. The Fenix 3 offers its own excitement, like superior short cut keys to disable or enable certain functions like Bluetooth, locking your watch and others. The real question is, how would the watch feature on your arm as a practical tool, and would it be of optimal benefit for your sporting lifestyle.

A very quantifiable difference is the price, so let’s get that out of the way. The Fenix 3 HRM (with wrist heart rate monitor) costs R9500 and the 735XT (735XT is not available without wrist HRM) is R7600.

Garmin Fenix 3 left and Garmin 735XT on the right.

In terms of wearable tech, if you want your sports watch to double up as a dress watch, the Fenix 3 gets the win. If you want your watch to be light and very comfortable, the 735XT wins. During training, the 735XT is so light and comfortable (40 grams), you hardly notice its presence, whereas the Fenix 3 at 80 grams is double the weight. For women, with small wrists, the 735XT will also get the nod. As a 24/7 activity tracker the 735XT is totally unobtrusive, whereas the Fenix 3 lets you know of its presence, being more bulky and weighty. As a 24/7 activity tracker the 735XT also does not give you daily stairs due to the absence of the barometric altimeter.

Regarding technical features: the Fenix 3 has a barometric altimeter (plus GPS altimeter), which gives more accurate elevation during the activity. The 735Xt does GPS elevation which is not as accurate, but it gets corrected once you upload your activity. The other big plus of the Fenix 3 is the battery life. Garmin suggests 20 hours in GPS mode for the Fenix 3 and 14 for the 735XT. If your Ironman time, or any other projected race time is over 14 hours, train harder and race faster if you like the 735XT. For anything like Ironman 70.3 or shorter, the 735XT is the perfect multisport watch.

There are other technical differences, but the battery life is actually the main deal breaker. If you are in for serious ultra races, the Fenix 3 would be the right choice. If you are into shorter stuff, for anything up to and including Ironman 70.3, the 735XT is perfect. Both will serve you 100% under the right circumstances, offering its own unique benefits.

For more detailed info check these charts courtesy of DC Rainmaker.

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2016/06/garmin-forerunner-735xt-in-depth-review.html

FEATURE ▾ FR920XT FR735XT FENIX3 FENIX3 HR
3D DISTANCE, CLIMBING SCREENS NO NO YES YES
ADVANCED HIKING/NAVIGATION FUNCTIONS NO NO YES YES
BAROMETRIC ALTIMETER YES NO YES YES
BASIC COURSE FOLLOWING YES YES YES YES
BLUETOOTH SMART/USB TRANSFERS YES YES YES YES
FTP TESTING FUNCTIONALITY NO YES NO NO
GEAR SHIFTING: SHIMANO DI2 SUPPORT YES YES NO NO
GPS BATTERY (OFFICIAL DURATIONS) 24 HOURS 14 HOURS 20 HOURS 16 HOURS
INTENSITY MINUTES METRICS NO YES YES YES
LACTATE THRESHOLD TEST NO WITH HR STRAP WITH HR STRAP WITH HR STRAP
LARGEST DISPLAY SCREEN YES NO NO NO
OPTICAL HR SENSOR NO YES NO YES
PHONE BASED AUDIO PROMPTS NO YES YES YES
POWER METER SUPPORT YES YES YES YES
WORKS WITH HRM-SWIM/TRI YES YES YES YES
QUICK RELEASE KIT YES NO YES YES (BUT BLOCKS OPTICAL SENSOR)
STRAVA LIVE SEGMENTS NO NO NO NO
STRAVA SUFFER SCORE (APP) YES YES YES YES
SUPPORTS CONNECT IQ FOR APPS YES YES YES YES
SWIM WORKOUT SUPPORT YES YES YES YES
TOUCHSCREEN NO NO NO NO
VARIA LIGHTS SUPPORT NO YES NO NO
VARIA RADAR SUPPORT NO YES NO NO
VARIA VISION (HUD) SUPPORT NO YES NO NO
WIFI TRANSFERS YES NO YES YES

 

About Frank Smuts 188 Articles
“The greatest moments happen when you step out of your comfort zone.”

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