Garmin Forerunner 165 Review: Accurate and affordable, this may be your new running partner

Garmin introduces the Forerunner® 165, a smartwatch engineered to enhance your running experience. This GPS-enabled running watch is designed for athletes who crave precision and control over their training routines. 

It offers a unique combination of style, comfort, and advanced technological features aimed at optimizing performance and health monitoring.

The Forerunner 165 targets fitness enthusiasts of all levels—from beginner runners to seasoned athletes—providing them with detailed insights into their training metrics. 

What sets this device apart is its intuitive touchscreen display, which ensures ease of navigation through various features. 

Additionally, users benefit from up to 11 days of battery life, making it one of the most reliable watches on the market for extended training sessions.

Garmin, renowned for its innovation in GPS technology, has solidified its reputation within the tech industry by consistently delivering high-quality, durable, and technologically advanced wearables. 

This product underscores Garmin’s commitment to enhancing athletic performance through cutting-edge technology and user-focused design.

About Forerunner 165

The Garmin Forerunner 165 is not just a running watch; it’s a powerhouse of technology tailored for athletes. Equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS, it tracks your location with impeccable accuracy. 

The device is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms, ensuring a broad user base can sync their data effortlessly. It features a responsive touchscreen display for ease of use during rigorous activities. 

Durability is paramount with its chemically strengthened glass and water resistance up to 5 ATM. The Forerunner 165 boasts a long battery life, offering up to 11 days in smartwatch mode and 22 hours in GPS mode. 

Innovative connectivity options like Bluetooth and ANT+ enable seamless communication with compatible devices and sensors.

Technical specifications

  • GPS: High-sensitivity receiver for precise location tracking.
  • Display: AMOLED 1.3 inches (33 mm) diameter, 416 x 416 pixels
  • Weight: 46 grams
  • Compatibility: Works with both Android and iOS devices.
  • Sensors: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor
  • Durability: Chemically strengthened glass and water-resistant up to 5 ATM.
  • Battery Life: Up to 11 days in smartwatch mode and 19 hours in GPS mode.
  • Connectivity: Supports Bluetooth and ANT+ for connecting with other devices and sensors.
  • Software: Compatible with Garmin Connect for comprehensive data analysis and training insights.
  • Smart features: Smart notifications, calendar, weather, controls smartphone music, Find My Phone and Find My Watch features

How to use

To get started with your Forerunner 165, charge the device using the included USB cable. Once charged, power it on and follow the on-screen instructions to pair it with your smartphone via the Garmin Connect app. 

Customize your display and settings through the app to suit your training needs. For optimal GPS tracking, ensure the watch has a clear view of the sky during outdoor activities. 

Regularly sync your data to Garmin Connect to track your progress and gain insights into your training patterns and health metrics.

These features make the Forerunner 165 a versatile tool in the arsenal of any fitness enthusiast, combining robust functionality with user-friendly design.

How does Forerunner 165 compare with its closest competitors?

The Garmin Forerunner 165, COROS Pace 3, and Garmin vívoactive® 5 each cater to fitness enthusiasts with specific needs, showcasing distinct features that appeal to different user segments. 

The Forerunner 165 boasts an AMOLED display and superior battery life with up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, setting a high standard for usability in extended training. It stands out with a touchscreen interface and extensive compatibility across mobile platforms, enhancing user experience.

In contrast, the COROS Pace 3 emphasizes its ultra-lightweight design and extensive battery life, with up to 20 days of regular use, making it ideal for multi-sport athletes who prioritize endurance and comfort over extended periods. 

It also supports advanced navigation features like turn-by-turn guidance, which are not highlighted in the Forerunner 165.

The Garmin vívoactive 5 introduces additional lifestyle features, including contactless payments and a broad range of built-in sports apps, making it a versatile choice for those who seek a blend of fitness tracking and smart capabilities

It also features a high-resolution display, which provides clear visuals under various lighting conditions.

Each model offers unique advantages, from the Forerunner 165’s balanced performance and interface to the Pace 3’s focus on lightweight endurance and the vívoactive 5’s smartwatch functionalities, catering to different preferences and training demands.

FeaturesForerunner 165COROS Pace 3Vivoactive 5
MaterialChemically strengthened glassFiber reinforced polymer, silicone/nylon bandsFiber reinforced polymer, silicone bands
Battery lifeUp to 11 days in smartwatch mode, 19 hours in GPS modeUp to 20 days regular use, 30 hours in GPS modeUp to 7 days in smartwatch mode, 13 hours in GPS mode
Charging timeApprox. 2 hoursLess than 2 hoursApprox. 2 hours
Health monitoringHeart rate, sleep monitoringHeart rate, SpO2, sleep trackingHeart rate, sleep monitoring, stress tracking
Tracking featuresGPS, GLONASS, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, BeiDouGPS, GLONASS, Galileo
DurabilityWater-resistant up to 5 ATMWater-resistant up to 5 ATMWater-resistant up to 5 ATM
CompatibilityAndroid and iOS, Bluetooth, ANT+Android and iOS, Bluetooth, ANT+Android and iOS, Bluetooth, ANT+
Innovative technologyAMOLED touchscreen, Garmin ConnectUltraMax mode, COROS training softwareGarmin Pay, music storage, touchscreen display

Looking for a reliable running partner that won’t break the bank? Learn more about the Garmin Forerunner 165’s features and how it can enhance your workouts today!

User reviews and experiences

The Garmin Forerunner 165 has garnered positive reviews for its performance, durability, ease of use, and value for money. 

Users praise its AMOLED display, which offers clarity and vibrancy, enhancing visibility during various activities. 

The watch’s battery life is frequently highlighted, with up to 11 days in smartwatch mode and 19 hours in GPS mode, providing long-lasting performance for extensive training sessions​​​​​​.


  • Performance: Users report that the GPS accuracy is excellent, closely matching more expensive models, especially praised during runs under tree cover where it maintains reliable tracking​​​​.
  • Durability and design: The Forerunner 165 is noted for its comfortable and lightweight design, suitable for continuous wear, even while sleeping. The material quality, although plastic, is deemed satisfactory for its price point​​.
  • Ease of use: The interface is user-friendly with both a touchscreen and button navigation, making it accessible for tech-savvy users and those who prefer traditional controls​​.
  • Value for money: Offering a middle ground between entry-level and high-end sports watches, it retains many premium features at a more affordable price, making it a great choice for budget-conscious athletes​​.

Less than perfect:

  • Health monitoring: While it includes essential sensors like a heart rate monitor and VO2 max estimation, the heart rate tracking occasionally shows inaccuracies, particularly in higher intensity activities, which might require pairing with a chest strap for better accuracy​​.
  • Limited advanced features: Compared to higher-end smartwatches, it lacks some advanced training metrics and multisport modes, which may deter triathletes or those engaged in varied sports disciplines​​.
  • Material quality: Some users find the plastic feel of the watch a bit cheap compared to competitors that offer metal casings at similar price points​​.

Overall, the Forerunner 165 is praised for its fundamental sports tracking capabilities, making it a solid choice for runners and general fitness enthusiasts looking for a reliable, cost-effective option. 

However, those seeking extensive multisport features or the most precise health metrics might find it lacking.

Our verdict

The Garmin Forerunner 165 emerges as a commendable contender in the crowded field of sports watches, particularly appealing to those new to running or those upgrading from very basic models. 

It strikes a balance between affordability and functionality by retaining core features that cater to the everyday athlete.

Go LongGo Short
Offers clear and bright visuals, enhancing user interaction even in varied lighting conditions.Lacks higher-end training metrics and multisport modes, which might be a dealbreaker for more serious athletes.
Excellent GPS accuracy for tracking runs, with additional fitness and wellness monitoring capabilities.The plastic build may not appeal to everyone, especially those used to more premium materials.
Up to 11 days in smartwatch mode and 19 hours in GPS mode, ideal for long training sessions.
Easy navigation with a combination of touchscreen and physical buttons, praised for its simplicity and effectiveness.

In terms of overall performance, the Forerunner 165 offers substantial value for its price point, making it a solid choice for most recreational runners. 

However, for those looking for more in-depth features like multisport tracking or advanced biometric sensors, alternatives such as the COROS Pace 3 or the more advanced Garmin Forerunner 265 could be better suited. 

These models offer enhanced capabilities that may justify the extra investment for serious athletes or multisport enthusiasts.

Longevity.Technology scored Garmin Forerunner 165 at 24/25
Does the product do what it claims to do, and does it do it well?
Value for money
How does it stack-up with competitors or similar products or services?
Proven claims/science
How well has the company conducted or used scientific research and studies to validate its product/service?
Longevity specific
How applicable is it to the longevity marketplace and the daily life of a longevity enthusiast?
Ease of use
How straightforward is it for users to use the product without facing any difficulty?

Final thoughts

The Garmin Forerunner 165 is a robust entry in the sports smartwatch market, ideally suited for runners and fitness enthusiasts looking for a dependable yet affordable GPS watch. 

It combines a vivid AMOLED display, reliable GPS functionality, user-friendly interface, and durable design to cater to daily fitness routines. 

While it excels in basic sports tracking and user experience, it lacks advanced features and the premium build of higher-priced models.

For those primarily engaged in running and basic fitness activities, the Forerunner 165 is an excellent choice, providing essential features without overwhelming complexity. 

However, athletes seeking more comprehensive training tools or multisport functionalities might consider alternatives like the COROS Pace 3 for its extended battery life and lighter build, or the Garmin Forerunner 265 for its additional training insights and multisport modes, better supporting varied and intensive training schedules.

Is the Garmin Forerunner 165 the right fit for your active lifestyle? Check it out now and begin your journey towards improved health and performance!

The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.