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Garmin Forerunner 165 – Entry-level sports watch for runner unveiled

Garmin has introduced the Forerunner 165, a new sports watch designed for running. It is primarily aimed at ambitious running beginners and provides sufficient features for when demands increase.

Last year, Garmin provided product updates for sports watches in the mid-range and high-end segments with the Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 965. With the Forerunner 165, the entry-level segment now sees an addition.

Garmin Forerunner 165 | Source: Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 165 | Source: Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 165 – Extensive Updates in Hardware and Software

Despite the somewhat unexpected nomenclature, the Forerunner 165 is likely understood as the successor to the Forerunner 55. Garmin’s decision not to name the watch “Forerunner 65” may be due to the numerous enhancements incorporated into the Forerunner 165.

Forerunner 55Forerunner 165Forerunner 265
Display1,04" MIP1,2" AMOLED1,3" AMOLED
Resolution208 × 208390 × 390416 × 416
Dimensions42 × 42 × 11.6 mm43 × 43 × 11.6 mm46.1 × 46.1 × 12.9 mm
Weight37 g39 g47 g
Storage-4 GB8 GB
Wristband20 mm20 mm22 mm

To better understand the Forerunner 165 in relation to the adjacent products Forerunner 55 and Forerunner 265, the basic specs are listed in the table above.

  • Music and Non-Music Models

    Garmin offers the Forerunner 165 in two variants: In addition to the standard model, the Forerunner 165 Music features built-in storage for storing music content, which can then be played on Bluetooth headphones or speakers. As an “entry-level model,” the Forerunner 165 Music only has 4 GB of storage available. In this aspect, it resembles the Garmin vivoactive 5.

    The larger models Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 965, on the other hand, offer 8 GB and 32 GB, respectively. However, the storage of the Forerunner 965 is also used to store map data.

    Given the large amount of data that can be transferred to the watch, the Forerunner 165 Music supports Wi-Fi connections, which the standard model lacks.

  • 1.2″ AMOLED Display

    One of the biggest changes concerns the display. Even in the small Forerunner 165, Garmin makes the switch from transflective MIP to AMOLED display. This display, at 1.2 inches, not only is larger, with a resolution of 390 x 390 pixels, but also allows for a more contrast-rich display with vibrant colors. With this, at least in the Forerunner series, the transflective MIP display technology has been discontinued.

    Despite the larger display, the case size only moderately increases to 43 x 43 x 11.6 mm, and the weight gain to 39 grams is also not noticeable.

  • Battery Life up to 11 Days

    With a battery life of up to 11 days in smartwatch mode, the Forerunner 165 doesn’t quite reach the values of its predecessor, but it also has the significantly more power-consuming display.

    When using GPS, the Forerunner 165 lasts up to 19 hours. When using all GNSS, the battery lasts up to 17 hours. If music playback is used simultaneously, the maximum runtime decreases to 7 or 6.5 hours.

  • PPG Sensor “Elevate V4”

    Garmin incorporates its fourth-generation PPG sensor into the Forerunner 165. The technology, named “Elevate V4,” is mainly responsible for measuring heart rates and heart rate variability, deriving a series of metrics from them. It was expected that the Forerunner 165 would not feature the EKG-capable Elevate sensor of the fifth generation.

  • Barometric Altimeter

    Additionally, Garmin integrates a barometric altimeter into the Forerunner 165. This allows the determination of altitude in addition to GPS and recording it during sports activities. In everyday life, the Forerunner 165 can also determine the number of floors climbed.


Corresponding to its performance class, the Forerunner 165 doesn’t introduce entirely new functions, but rather those that have benefited some Garmin products in the last 2.5 years.

Many of the new functions are attributed to the “Elevate V4” sensor. Although not brand new, the fifth generation capable of EKG remains reserved for premium models for now.

  • Heart Rate Variability / HRV Status

    Of interest to athletes is the measurement of heart rate variability, from which Garmin derives the HRV status. A high HRV value suggests that the body can respond well to physical stress. Even impending infections can usually be detected by changes in heart rate variability.

  • Blood Oxygen Saturation SpO2

    Using infrared and red LED light, the Forerunner 165 can determine blood oxygen levels. Although the data is not medically reliable, it provides indications of breathing difficulties during sleep or acclimatization at high altitudes. While data is continuously collected during sleep, daytime measurements must be initiated manually.

  • Cardiovascular Fitness VO2max

    The Forerunner 165 calculates the cardiovascular fitness value VO2max not only for road runs but also for trail runs.

  • Running Dynamics

    Quite surprisingly, the Forerunner 165 offers Garmin’s “Running Dynamics,” which include metrics of running efficiency. These include stride length, stride frequency, vertical oscillation, vertical ratio, and ground contact time, among others. The Forerunner 165 even calculates running performance without additional accessories.

  • Morning Report

    The Morning Report provides a summary of sleep, physical condition, and upcoming appointments shortly after waking up. Because different information is important for everyone, the Morning Report can be customized to individual needs.

  • Nap Detection

    Quite new is the Nap Detection, which detects short naps during the day. Garmin credits the energy gained from this to the Body Battery. This describes how much physical “energy” is available for the rest of the day.

  • Simple Navigation

    Those who create routes via Garmin Connect or Komoot can display the route on the watch during exercise. However, it’s only a “dotted line” – proper map material remains reserved for the Forerunner 965 and the Epix and Fenix models. At least the watch informs when deviating from the planned route.

For a product update, in my opinion, these are indeed many and high-quality features. Admittedly, the Forerunner 265 has even more features, but for running beginners, the Forerunner 165 seems to be shaping up as the model of choice. And even when the first 5 or 10 km are completed and demands on performance and the sports watch increase, the Forerunner 165 offers many useful functions.

Differentiation from the Garmin Forerunner 265

The fact that the Forerunner 55 offers significantly fewer features due to its age and the sensors it incorporates can already be seen in the above-mentioned innovations of the Forerunner 165. However, it also lacks a few features that are only provided by the next larger model, namely the Forerunner 265:

  • Multiband GPS
  • SatIQ
  • Training Readiness
  • Training Status
  • Support for Multisport / Triathlons
  • More supported sport profiles
  • More supported external sensors

In my opinion, these are primarily features that become more important when the demand for personal performance and targeted training increases. They are not necessarily essential for running beginners.

Prices and Availability

As previously announced, Garmin offers the Forerunner 165 for €279. For the Forerunner 165 Music, Garmin suggests a recommended retail price of €329. The watch is available in four additional color variants:

Garmin Forerunner 165- Black / Slate Gray
- Mist Gray / Whitestone
279.99 €
Garmin Forerunner 165 Music- Black / Slate Gray
- Mist Gray / Whitestone
- Turquoise / Aqua
- Berry / Lilac
329.99 €

The Forerunner 165 is available from today on. Even on Amazon, which had to wait a long time for the Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 965 to become available, both Forerunner 165 variants may already be ordered.

Garmin Forerunner 165
Garmin Forerunner 165 Music
Profilfoto von Florian

I am the creative mastermind behind this page, with a passion for both sports and technology. By combining these interests, I write about wearables and gadgets that can enhance your sports experience. As a regular consumer, I offer insights from the perspective of a genuine user.

You can learn more about me and this site here.

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