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.
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.
|FEATURE ▾||FR920XT||FR735XT||FENIX3||FENIX3 HR|
|3D DISTANCE, CLIMBING SCREENS||NO||NO||YES||YES|
|ADVANCED HIKING/NAVIGATION FUNCTIONS||NO||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|
|VARIA LIGHTS SUPPORT||NO||YES||NO||NO|
|VARIA RADAR SUPPORT||NO||YES||NO||NO|
|VARIA VISION (HUD) SUPPORT||NO||YES||NO||NO|