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Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Instinct: Here’s How They Compare!

The Forerunner 235 and Instinct are two popular Garmin watches. Both watches offer several features, including heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking. However, it can be challenging to decide which watch to purchase. To help you make an informed decision, I will compare the “Garmin Forerunner 235 and Instinct” in this (vs) guide.

Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Instinct Comparison Table

Below is a comparison table that quickly outlines the similarities and differences between the Garmin Forerunner 235 and Instinct.

Resolution215 x 180 pixels128 x 128 pixels
ConnectivityCompatible With Android, Syncs Wirelessly, Don’t Support Wi-Fi, Syncs AutomaticallySyncs Wirelessly, Compatible With Android, Syncs Automatically, Don’t Support Wi-Fi  
Added FeaturesBarometer, Tracks Distance, Tracks Sleep, Measures Pace, Goal Settings, Weight Tracking, Tracks Water Intake, Heart Rate MonitorCompass, Barometer, Cadence Sensor, Tracks Sleep, Tracks Distance, HR monitor, Measures Pace, Detects Activity Automatically, Goal Settings, Multiple Sports modes, Stroke Counter For Swimming
Battery LifeUp to 9 daysUp to 14 days
Battery Life on GPSAbout 11 hoursAbout 16 hours
Water ResistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 100 meters
Pixel Density227ppi201ppi
Garmin Forerunner 235
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Garmin Instinct
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Design and Display – Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Instinct

If you are looking for a Garmin watch with a touchscreen display, you may want to consider other models as the Forerunner 235 and Instinct do not have one.

It is easy to tell them apart as the Forerunner 235 is larger with a 1.23-inch display, while the Instinct is smaller with a 0.9-inch display.

The Forerunner 235 has a higher resolution of 215 x 180 pixels, providing sharper graphics compared to the Instinct’s 128 x 128 pixels.

Both watches use side buttons to operate, which may be challenging for some users.

If used to watches that use a touch interface from brands like Fitbit, Amazfit, Xiaomi, Samsung, and Apple Watch, you may find the Forerunner 235 and Instinct different to operate.


The Instinct has an automatic activity detection feature, while the Forerunner 235 does not.

The Instinct has a compass, while the Forerunner 235 does not. Fortunately, with the Forerunner 235, you can track how much water you drink, which the Instinct cannot.

The Garmin Instinct offers several sports modes, which include swimming. It can identify different swimming strokes in the pool or beach. Additionally, it comes with a cadence sensor that measures energy output in rotations per minute (RPM), making it an excellent option for cyclists who want to optimize their workout outcomes.

Both watches can track your sleep, have barometers to determine changes in pressure due to weather patterns, and can measure pace, track distance, and monitor heart rate.

They both come with goal-setting features. Users can manually calibrate the watches for an accuracy within +/- 50 feet.

Location Tracking: Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Instinct

Each Garmin watch has a GPS monitor, which is a significant smartwatch feature. This feature allows you to keep track of your distances, routes, and paces while you exercise.

Compared to a compass, GPS is more precise in providing directions to prevent you from getting lost.

The GPS feature is useful to individuals who enjoy walking, running, and cycling, as it can give them the right direction so that they don’t get lost.


Both the Garmin Forerunner 235 and Instinct can connect automatically and wirelessly, but they do not connect over Wi-Fi. Additionally, they are both compatible with Android and iPhones. 

Water Resistance: Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Instinct

If you are a swimmer or spend more time around water, you might be interested in these Garmin watches. 

The Garmin Instinct is waterproof up to 100 meters and can track swimming activities. The Instinct has double the water resistance rating of the Forerunner 235, which is 50 meters. Both Garmin watches can also be worn while showering.


The Garmin Instinct is priced higher than the Garmin Forerunner 235 at $299.99 and $249.99, respectively. Despite the cost, both watches are built to last and offer durability for long-term use.

Battery Life: Garmin Forerunner 235 vs Instinct

Each has a good battery life, but they differ. For instance, the Garmin Instinct can last up to 14 days on smartwatch mode, and when GPS is active on UltraTrac power management mode, it can go for about 16 hours.

On the other hand, the Garmin Forerunner 235 can keep a charge for 9 days on smartwatch mode and last for about 11 hours when GPS is active.

I like the new Garmin Instinct Solar watch because it can charge using the energy from the sun.

Both battery lives are impressive, but if you’re looking for a watch with the best battery life, choose Garmin Instinct.

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