Garmin watch suggestions needed

Hi, i have been searching forums, reading reviews and watching youtube videos (despite my repulsion to the format), and wasted too much of the holiday time off on the topic. Yet i can’t quite wrap my head around what i should get (or not) for my use case and can really use help from actual users, both of smartwatches and TR.
I will start a new year of training in a couple of weeks, from base after the end of year time off; have been with TR for several years and generally happy with it. A few months ago i finally changed my MTB and added a PM and a Garmin 530; i’m enjoying the upgrade quite a bit and i do get a lot more data both from the outside rides in TR and from Garmin connect - besides the interface i don’t like, i do enjoy some of the metrics and estimations i get from the latter.
This year i will add more volume to my training; i’m thinking a Garmin smartwatch could help better monitor my state and progress and be generally useful.
I don’t run and since Covid don’t go to the swimming pool; mainly or almost solely MTB. OTOH i can be quite active in my daily work and also do strength training 2 or 3 times a week (body weight only).
From the 530 i get good tracking for the cycling, but none for the day to day wear, rest or sleep and actual recovery; do you actually find it useful to track these other things? Stuff like body battery and sleep tracking…
I was thinking that a Fenix would definitely be overkill (and too big for my taste to wear constantly; also too expensive); a Venu 2S is what i think could be a better fit (both in terms of functionality and size / weight).
But this things are expensive and could be gimmicks; what do you users or ex-users think?
Thank you for all the suggestions, happy new year,

I have an F6 Pro. I would rather have it than the 830 I also have.

The metrics are fun to look at, occasionally useful, but mostly just fun.

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Triathlete with formerly a 935, now 945 LTE. I’ve found the metrics to be pretty useful. Hard to argue with how much sleep I think I got when the watch tells me exactly. Even if I go to bed at 9 but don’t actually fall asleep until 10, waking up at 6 gives me 8 hours instead of 9 hours. Also, it’s cool to track resting HR which is a pretty good proxy for long term fitness.

That all being said, a Garmin watch itself might be a bit overkill and I have friends that use Samung or Apple watches. They tend to have all the recovery/health metrics my Garmin has but also interact more seamlessly with their phones. Maybe that’s a route you should investigate as well.


If you don’t think you’ll ever need to track to track cycling with the watch, then the Fenix series is definitely overkill. Only the higher end models connect to power meters (Forerunner 7**,Forerunner 9**, Fenix) which is why I assume a lot of the Garmin folks end up with those models.

The question I’d ask are:

  1. Do you have an iPhone or an Android phone?
    There is a lot more “smart” integration on the Android side, Apple locks Garmin out of some of the stuff

  2. Do you care about the smart features or do you just want to track body battery and daily activity.
    You could go as cheap as a Forerunner 55 or 245, Vivomove, or Vivosmart to get those features. I actually kinda like the Vivomove if you want something that just looks like a normal watch. If you’d want GPS without your phone, then you’d need a Forerunner or step up to the Venu.

I wish Garmin would come out with something like the Amazon Halo, or Whoop strap, as I’d love to have something super simple to track that stuff within the Garmin ecosystem.


They do, its just built into their watches like Venu/V2 have the body metrics functions without ALL of the bells and whistles of the 945 or Fenix series

I mean, simple. Like a strap, no screen, no GPS, super low-key. Basically a Vivosmart that looks like a whoop and not a toy watch you give your 5-year-old niece.

If you don’t want a watch, you’re SOL. Also, the Venu 2 models are in the $350-450 range. I snagged a Fenix 6 Pro for $400 a month ago (and returned it, overkill), so at those prices it’s sorta defeating the point.

I tried a couple of garmin watches: Fenix, 935, 745, 245, most recently Venu2.

The Venu2 had by far the most reliable HR wrist measurement, by far. I even let go my TickrX chestband wearing the Venu2 during cycling workouts… all fine and good enough for me.

But all the rest of the data is just unreliable, i did not see much value in it.

Body Battery is pure marketing imo. Stress measurements did not make sense to me. Sleep tracking… I dont know if we need a device to tell us, if we rested well. And Health snapshot with HRV was all over the place. Two Snapshots taken right after each other under same conditions gave very differing results.

Eventually I returned even the Venu2.

Btw. I hate wearing a watch during sleep. I tried hard with the Venu2, but eventually it just felt unnatural to me to wear a watch at night.

Thanks. These are the kind of things that are worrying me; the marketing machine is working hard enough to convince me I’d need one of these. Yet i might end up a few hundreds short and not get any real value; even worse, hating to wear it all the time, including at night.
With the 530 i knew exactly what I was looking for: pushing outside workouts from TR and follow them with the PM on the bike. Works GREAT for that and all the rest is a bonus.
I know that it’s best to fill a need i actually have than believe i need something i did not know, or fall for FOMO. But at times you can REALLY miss something; after all, getting a trainer and starting with TR were not needs i felt, yet several years after i started i got tremendous value out of it. Close to life changing.

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It sounds to me like you already decided you don’t think it’s worth the money before you ever asked the question. If that’s the case, my advice is DON’T BUY IT. No matter how good it is, you will end up feeling like you wasted money. I say that in a 100% positive way, not sarcastic.

If you DO end up buying one, I highly recommend spending the extra cash to go sapphire. When you spend $400+ on a watch and scratch the glass a few weeks later, you want to throw the thing off a cliff and hate yourself for cheaping out. Ask me how I know. :grin:


I have a 745, i do triathlon and it works great. Battery could be better. And that’s what the 945 is for.

If you’re ever gonna get back into swimming, 745 can do indoors and open water without an issue

I also have a glass protector on it to avoid any scratching (funny enough it’s already cracked…and ive just been rocking that for months now)

Not exactly; i’m just very skeptical about gimmicks and devices ‘you did’t know you needed’. But as i said, i’m open to be wrong too; in the case of the smart trainers, it has been one of the best purchases i’ve made. It also can sound gimmicky; you know, being locked in your cave spinning still staring at a monitor… But with TR it actually means i train many hours more every year than i would otherwise.
So in the case of the smartwhatch, i’m seriously wondering if it can add value to my activities helping out while adding volume to my schedule this year: can it help in monitoring my state better and not burn out while still working more, can it push me to do more things like TR does often etc.? Or will it be a few undreds for a watch i don’t normally use that gives me some fairly useless data?
The 530, for instance, is surprising me for how nicely it ‘estimates’ my FTP by itself, how it determines training status with the volume and intensities i put in etc.
If the watch can improve and add to that, it could be great; there is potential there. But in practice i have no idea if that’s the case, and i’m not really willing to spend that money to find out. And i hate to use the money back policy this way myself; don’t feel comfortable, hence can’t really evaluate things.
As for the sapphire, i can’t see myself spending as much for a fenix knowing i don’t need many of the features i pay for and that it’s definitely too chunky for me to like wearing it.

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It can make you aware. Which can make a world of difference. Made me aware of how little sleep i get. How many (or how little) steps i take during a day
Stress levels, etc…
Estimated Vo2 improvements and training load, etc.

For me it’s a must because i run and because i swim as well. I had a watch way before having a cycling computer and even then its an Edge 810 that i got for a steal. Also i’m going to be doing weekly skiing so i can use that to track as well.

So for someone that’s multi-disciplinary and does various activities (hikes, swims, etc) a watch might be worth it.
And as a + mine also plays music so i don’t feel the need to bring my phone with me when i go on a run which is liberating.

I wouldn’t go to an apple watch or “smarter” watch, i find those too gimmicky for the use i’d get out of them… i prefer the activity trackers like garmin, coros, and the like.

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Fenix 6 for me.

Right out-of-the-box, it’s configured for wing suit flying, harpoon fishing, and tracking my Paris-Dakkar rally times. Those are my three go-to activities when I’m not playing golf.

But seriously, Fenix 6 does just about everything except play music through a speaker or Ask Jeeves.


do you use a cheststrap for HR with the watch during activities?


On the trainer, I wear a Sosche HR thing on my right arm.
Outside on the bike, I wear a Wahoo Tickr

On my wingsuit, I just carry a Bible (old testament)


Chest strap always for accuracy (i don’t have the swim one)


i am not a swimmer, mainly a cyclist, doing runs and walks also indoor rowing to ease off the body from cycling only. I actually track my rowing, walks and runs with cheststrap and my edge 530 in my shirts backpocket or hanging loose on my backpack during hikes, serves me great for navigation too.

Garmin claims it is not intended to be used for that, but comparing the data to some watches I had it is quite fine and the distance and pace is only off by a bit.

Recently I even tracked an intense tennis match just for the fun of it, worked fine as well although I wont do that again.

for me it is sufficient. And the 530 adds my efforts based on HR to my overall training load. Something a Garmin watch outside of the 745, 945 and fenix cant do.

All the other tracking like Body Battery and stuff I found odd and mostly off or weird. Moreover I hate wearing a watch during sleep so I just could not get used to do that.

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Yeah, chalk me down as 100% you should not purchase. It’s not life changing, it’s a watch that tracks activities, plays music, gives you directions, etc., and nicely integrates into your athletic data ecosystem. It is absolutely not going to make the kind of difference in your life that TrainerRoad or a good teacher made. You’ll get 90% of the benefit you’re looking for with the Sleep/RHR tracking in an AppleWatch and a charger you can use during the day so you can wear the AW while sleeping (but I’d still recommend getting the better glass)

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Venu2 user here…had it around 6 months and not regretted the purchase. Use the sleep tracking, running, steps and like to nerd out of heart rate sleep etc. Have that baseline now, heart breathing rate, spo2,so maybe I can spot something wrong. I’ve even used it with the Varia radar whilst running!

Have binned using a heart rate strap because its so reliable, don’t miss searching for that strap, forgetting to put it on, wrestling it around body, and this time of year if it’s been left in the garage it’s stone cold… Just flick watch to cardio mode and it broadcasts ant+

Hope you find right one…

I ended up with the Vivioactive as my Edge tracks everything that I need on the bike and its only filling that sleep gap for me (and lol now walking) and I didn’t want to break the bank. Another bonus IMO it didn’t look too bad. The only reason why I would change it would be if I suddenly became a serious swimmer, which with my upper body strength isn’t going to happen :joy: