Garmin’s Forerunner 265 & 965 Offer Vibrant OLED - IMBOLDN
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Garmin’s Forerunner 265 & 965 Offer Vibrant OLED

There’s a new contender in the smartwatch space.

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$ 450+

Just like when it comes to phones, there are only a handful of true players in the wearables category: Apple, Samsung, and, to an extent, Fitbit. Garmin has always had a cult classic cache in this space, holding a devoted following with a segment that’s typically more concerned about tracking mid-marathon blood oxygen saturation than smart capabilities.

It’s also why Garmin’s choice to use an AMOLED display on its new Forerunner 265 & 965 instead of the fan-favorite memory-in-pixel (MIP) display was no small risk. But it appears to have paid off: the new displays offer vibrant color even in bright lighting, with a level of detail MIP can’t touch. The battery difference is negligible between the 255 and 265, and Garmin somehow managed to wrangle ten days’ worth of additional power between the 955 and 965.

The Forerunner 965 loses its solar charging capability but gains a titanium bezel for its monstrous 47mm body and 1.4” 454×454 pixel AMOLED screen. The 965 especially makes excellent use of its new display with full-color mapping that far surpasses MIP’s level of map detail. The Forerunner 265 comes in 42mm and 46mm sizes, with a 1.3” 416×416 pixel AMOLED screen.

Both Garmin watches feature a variety of case and silicone strap color combos, though we like the Whitestone/Tidal Blue of the 265 and the buzzworthy Amp Yellow/Carbon Gray of the 965.

With snappy displays, plentiful screen customizations, and beefy battery balance, Garmin’s latest Forerunners show they’re ready to redefine their role in the smart wearables world. The watches fill a growing fitness-minded group looking for competitively-priced devices with better biometric bona-fides than Apple and more style than Fitbit. The Forerunner 265 and 965 are available for $450 and $600, respectively, and will ship between three to eight weeks.

In other watch-related news, check out the Farer Moonphase Timepieces.