Garmin Forerunner 965: Everything you need to know about Garmin’s latest watch

Garmin Forerunner 965 on wrist in the dark
(Image credit: Garmin)

In a break from tradition, Garmin released a new set of Forerunner watches two years running. The Garmin Forerunner 965, Garmin Forerunner 265 and the smaller 265S have arrived to shake up our list of the best Garmin watches, complete with their new AMOLED screens - a vast improvement in looks and brightness over their predecessor’s dull memory-in-pixel displays. 

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is the biggest and best of the range, and it’s this one we’ll be diving into to help you decide whether it’s really worth your money. Stay tuned for our full review very soon, but in the meantime, we’ve broken down all the information you need to help you decide whether you want the watch before it arrives on shelves.

Garmin Forerunner 965: Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Garmin’s next premium running watch and the sequel to the acclaimed Forerunner 955
  • When is it out? March 27
  • How much? $599.99 / £599.99 / AU$999 

 Garmin Forerunner 965: Specifications

Below, we’ve created a table detailing the Garmin Forerunner 965’s key specs, and how it compares to its predecessor, the Garmin Forerunner 955

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Garmin Forerunner 965 and 955 specs:
ComponentGarmin Forerunner 965Garmin Forerunner 955
Price$599.99 / £599.99 / AU$999 Solar: $599.99 / £549.99 / AU$899.99. Non-solar: $499.99 £479.99 / AU$799
Dimensions47.2 x 47.2 x 13.2 (mm)46.5 x 46.5 x 14.4 (mm)
Weight53 g52g
Case/bezelTitaniumFibre-reinforced polymer
Display454 x 454 px AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass260 x 260 px MIP, Corning Gorilla Glass
Battery life23 days (31 hours GPS)Solar: 20 days (49 hours GPS), Non-solar: 15 days (41 hours GPS)
ConnectionBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Water resistant?Yes, 5ATMYes, 5ATM

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Garmin)

 Garmin Forerunner 965: Design 

The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar was crowned our favorite running watch of last year, and not much has changed internally: it’s still the same excellent watch at heart. In fact, its innards are a little too similar; it’ll handle almost exactly like the 955, leading us to believe this updated version might be a little premature. 

However, the exterior has at least been redesigned, with the bright AMOLED screen the most noticeable feature. The Garmin Forerunner 965’s 1.4-inch, 454 x 454 px touchscreen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, ensuring it’s just as durable as the old version. The 955 was also a touchscreen, but it had the old memory-in-pixel format and was only 1.3-inches. You can see the AMOLED touchscreen in more detail in our early hands-on look at the Garmin Forerunner 265S.

The case has also been redesigned to accommodate the larger screen, but that’s not the only change. The up and down buttons have been replaced with ‘music’ and ‘list’ icons (although functionally, they’re still the same), and the ‘play’ icon is now center-stage on the larger upper-right button, which typically is used to stop and start workouts. The larger button is more glove-friendly than the previous iteration, although the 265 and 265S have replaced the ‘play’ icon with the ‘run’ legend. 

The watch comes in three colors: matt black, whitestone and a fetching AMP yellow, which you can see below:

Garmin Forerunner 965

(Image credit: Garmin)

 Garmin Forerunner 965: Features 

The Forerunner 965 comes with all the things that made the 955 great, with one exception: no solar option. The 955 used Garmin’s battery-extending Power Glass to help extend the watch’s life with solar power when you spend a few hours outside. That’s gone, presumably because Garmin couldn’t provide both the AMOLED screen and the Power Glass functionality yet.

However, Garmin claims the battery will still last longer than the 955 Solar in smartwatch mode, up to 23 days rather than the Solar’s 20, but that power-guzzling AMOLED screen takes the GPS mode life down to 31 hours. While still impressive, it's not as good, so those doing full-trail weekends need to bear this in mind.  

Otherwise, the watch functions almost the same way, with very little internal change: both can play music with 32GB of storage, both pack Garmin’s multi-band GPS with GNSS and GLONASS coverage, and both can take advantage of newer features like Garmin’s Training Readiness score, an updated version of the Body Battery widget that feeds you a morning report highlighting key recovery metrics. 

Pulse oxygen saturation, fitness age, abnormal heart rate alerts after a workout, women’s health and more health metrics have also been ported over. It’s also got the same advanced running metrics including pace, distance, time, heart rate and effort.  Full-color maps and TracBack allow you to navigate while on running routes or in the wilderness, although we would have liked to have seen more audio navigation. 

Other than the cosmetic changes, it’s more or less the same watch in every way, so while it’s a beautiful-looking fitness watch in its own right, if you already own a 955 there’s very little point upgrading. 

Garmin Forerunner 265

The AMOLED next to the MIP screen (Image credit: Future)

 Garmin Forerunner 965: The leaks leading up to the watch's release

Before the launch of both watches, we knew they were coming due to the following leaks surrounding the smaller 265. 

As reported by The5KRunner, a reliable site for leaks, images of the Garmin Forerunner 265 surfaced online last year. The images purported to show a new AMOLED screen replacing the 255’s battery-saving MIP offering, suggesting that Garmin has developed its energy efficiency tech to such a degree that it can offer the AMOLED screen of a ‘true’ modern smartwatch without compromising on the Forerunner’s impressive battery life.

An early listing that was published on a golfing website and then quickly taken down according to our sibling site Advnture and Flo of Fitness Tracker Test, contained more reported details about the 965 and 265. The retailer listing from 5 Under Golf corroborated the rumor about improved AMOLED screens for both models, as well as the fact that the 955’s Training Readiness score feature would be available on the 265 as well as the 965. The listing also suggested that there will be a brighter yellow and black color option for busy bees sick of matt black watch cases and looking for something a bit brighter. 

Another apparently premature listing that was quickly taken down was from retailer Running Direct, which included pricing info: the Forerunner 965 is said to be priced at €649.99, while the 265 is said to be €499.99; if correct those prices would work out to around $700 / £570 / AU$1000 and $530 / £440 / AU$770, although the actual pricing is likely to be different.

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Another tweet by FTTest reported on a leak from Garmin’s own website, which accidentally showcased pictures of the watches. 

A render below shows the Forerunner 965’s screen dimensions based on all the rumors above, which is 0.1-inch bigger than the screen on the 955, with a larger version of Garmin’s ‘start’ button at the top right. It wasn't too far off!

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Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.