Garmin’s Forerunner 165 Smartwatches Are a Runner’s Dream (Realized Under $300)

What to know

  • Garmin has launched two new smartwatches in its Forerunner series – Forerunner 165 and Forerunner 165 Music. 
  • Both smartwatches are ideally suited for runners, trainers, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts, and include such features as fitness and training metrics, a built-in pulse oximeter, sleep tracker and recovery insights, and a bright 1.2-inch AMOLED display.
  • Forerunner 165 is available at $250 while its cousin Forerunner 165 Music – which also includes the ability to download and listen to music without a phone – is priced at $300. 

There’s no shortage of smartwatches in the market. But not all are made equal, or priced as such for that matter. For runners and fitness trainers, Garmin is one brand that stands out among the rest. Fresh off the back of the disappointing display (pun intended) of Forerunner 265 and 965 models, Garmin looks to make amends with ForeRunner 165 and Forerunner 165 Music smartwatches which are not only packed with round-the-clock wellness tracking features but are also available at a very affordable price. 

Garmin Forerunner 165 and Forerunner 165 Music smartwatches for runners and fitness enthusiasts

Garmin’s Forerunner series of smartwatches are built keeping in mind the needs of runners, trainers, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts. Although Garmin is a well-known brand in its own right, it received quite a bit of flak from users for the sub-part display of some of its previous Forerunner models. The new Forerunner models – 165 and 165 Music – don’t appear to suffer from the same shortcomings, as Garmin is advertising them as having “a bright AMOLED display”, among a wide variety of features that are designed to keep the needs of fitness enthusiasts and runners at the forefront.



Going by the list of features alone, Forerunner 165 and 165 Music seem no less than a runner’s dream. Let’s go over them and see how they could enhance your training and fitness sessions.

AMOLED displays

As we’ve already harped on before, Garmin has sought to redress the issue of displays that become barely visible in the sunlight by adding a vibrant 1.2-inch AMOLED display in Forerunner 165. It is the display, after all, where you’ll view your training sights, read smart notifications, and check out recovery insights. 

Blood oxygen saturation

With a built-in pulse oximeter, the Forerunner 165 models will track your blood oxygen saturation levels at all times, whether you’re awake or asleep. Though one shouldn’t expect it to be as accurate as a medical device, it should provide a fair estimate of an important health marker.   

Sleep tracking

To assist users in keeping track of how well they recover, the watches deliver a sleep score each morning and insights into different sleep stages that they went through at night. There’s also a nap detection feature to register how long one dozed off and the recommended nap times and durations to help recover better. 

Training tips and professional assistance (with a Garmin Connect subscription)

Both Forerunner 165 and 165 Music deliver personalized training plans. Based on the details of the race entered into the Garmin Connect app, the smartwatches provide workout recommendations, tips, and estimated race completion times to help runners get a better understanding of what to expect on race day. Those who require professional assistance will benefit from a Garmin Connect subscription. 

Music and audio prompts

For those who prefer training with music in their ears, the Forerunner 165 Music model lets one download songs and playlists from Deezer, Spotify, and Amazon Music and listen to them without being bogged down by the bulk of their phones. The Music model also lets one listen to and follow audio prompts and performance-based alerts for workouts.  

Other features

Some other notable features include contactless payments using Garmin Pay, though participating partners could be few and far between. Additionally, the Garmin Connect app allows one to find existing courses for training, or create one’s own. The smartwatches also measure important running metrics such as stride length and contact time to help improve one’s form.  

Colors and Price

Priced at $250, Forerunner 165 comes in two different color combinations – Black/Slate Gray and Mist Gray/Whitestone. On the other hand, Forerunner 165 Music has, along with the standard color combinations, two additional colors –  Turquoise/Aqua and Berry/Lilac – and is priced at $300.  

Given the landslide of features you get on the two Garmin smartwatches, their value for money is undeniably impressive. But whether or not you’re a fitness freak, you’re sure to find something of definite worth in these latest offerings by Garmin, and perhaps even be motivated to get fitter in the process.  

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