Garmin Forerunner 165 vs Forerunner 265 comparison

  • Aqua Garmin Forerunner 265 on white background

    Garmin Forerunner 265

    Popular for a reason

    The Forerunner 265 watch is Garmin’s updated 2024 model and is one of the best GPS running watches for casual marathoners and distance runners. It comes in two different watch face sizes, making it perfect for women or runners with smaller wrists. There are extensive training and recovery functions, as well as a music version, but it’s not overly complex like the Garmin Forerunner 965.


    • Dial size available 42mm or 46mm
    • Better battery life than Forerunner 165 watch
    • Bright, attractive AMOLED screen
    • Advanced training metrics
    • Sleep and health tracking

    • More expensive than Forerunner 165
    • Missing some advanced tracking features

  • Garmin Forerunner 165 matt gray and whetstone

    Garmin Forerunner 165

    Entry-level pricing

    The Forerunner 165 watch is perfect for beginners looking for a high-quality GPS running watch at an affordable price. It offers fewer training features and recovery data, but still has accurate GPS tracking and most of the basic metrics and features a beginner needs. There’s also a Forerunner 165 Music Edition, which offers onboard storage for your workout playlists or podcasts.


    • lower price point
    • Decent battery life
    • Bright, attractive AMOLED screen
    • Training and recovery metrics for runners
    • Sleep and health tracking

    • Only available in one case size
    • Lacks detailed training and recovery features

There are a variety of Garmin Forerunner watches, so choosing between different models can be overwhelming. Understanding the differences will help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

We compared the specs, features, and performance of the Garmin Forerunner 165 and Forerunner 265 because the latter is one of the most popular Garmin running watches (if not the most popular GPS running watch overall), while the Forerunner 165 is a brand- New entry-level alternative at a lower price point. Before we do a head-to-head comparison of these two models, let’s dive into a brief overview of each running watch.


How to pair Bluetooth headphones with a Garmin watch

Pairing Bluetooth headphones with your Garmin watch is quick and easy.

Close-up of Garmin Forerunner 165Prices, specifications and availability:

Whether you buy the 42mm or 46mm watch size, the Forerunner 265 is priced at $450.

The Forerunner 165 standard version is priced at $250, and the Forerunner 165 Music Edition is priced at $300 and has built-in music storage. The Forerunner 165 is only 43mm in size. Therefore, you can save $150 to $200 by using the Forerunner 165 over the Forerunner 265.

Despite their similar appearance, there are many differences between the two devices.

The Garmin Forerunner 265 and 165 look surprisingly similar. They both have very similar displays, touchscreens, five buttons, and polycarbonate casings. However, despite their similar appearance, there are many differences between the two devices.

  • Garmin Forerunner 265 Garmin Forerunner 165
    Battery Life 15-day(s) or 13-day, 24-hour(s) or 20-hour GPS tracking usage 11 days and 19 hours of GPS training
    exhibit Color, AMOLED, 1.1-inch (S) or 1.3-inch, 360 x 360 (S) or 416 x 416 pixels, touch screen AMOLED screen, 390 x 390 pixels
    health sensor HRM, GPS, SpO2, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, thermometer heart rate, pulse oximeter
    mobile payment Jiaming Pay Jiaming Pay

Garmin Forerunner 265s 11Watch and case dimensions and weight

small but mighty

In appearance and functionality, the Forerunner 165 and Forerunner 265 are very similar, with the same polycarbonate shell, touchscreen display, and design. There are subtle differences in screen scaling between the two sizes, as well as the weight of the watch.

  • The smaller Forerunner 265 It has a 1.1-inch screen and a 42mm case size. It weighs about 39 grams, which is quite light.
  • this Pioneer 165 Music The standard version comes with a 1.2-inch display and a 43mm case size. They also weigh about 39 grams, the same as the smaller Forerunner 265.
  • larger Forerunner 265 It has a wide 1.3-inch screen and a large 46mm casing. Here, the weight comes in at 47 grams, which may sound like a lot, but it’s still surprisingly light and much more compact than previous GPS watches.

In addition, the Forerunner 265 uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is a higher-quality, scratch-resistant material compared to the chemically strengthened glass on the Forerunner 165. As someone who bumps into things a lot, I think this is a good upgrade.

Garmin Forerunner 265s 1Battery life and charging

All in the same stadium

One thing I like about Garmin running watches is that they always have good battery life, even on the affordable models.

There is a difference in battery life between the Forerunner 165 and the two Forerunner 265 sizes.

  • Forerunner 165 Battery life: 19 hours with GPS; 11 days as standard smartwatch
  • 46mm Forerunner 265 Battery life: 20 hours with GPS; 13 days as standard smartwatch
  • 42mm Forerunner 265 Battery life: 24 hours with GPS; 15 days as standard smartwatch

Here, the larger screen size on the Forerunner 265 consumes more battery. Ultimately, there’s not much difference between the Forerunner 265 and Forerunner 165, but the smaller Forerunner 265 adds 5 hours of GPS battery life and 4 days of smartwatch battery life over the Forerunner 165.

This might be helpful for ultramarathoners, but for everyday runners there won’t be much real difference as long as you charge the watch after every few workouts.

Garmin Forerunner 265s 2GPS accuracy and support

Dual-frequency GPS on Forerunner 265

There are some functional differences between the GPS functionality on the Forerunner 165 and Forerunner 265. The Forerunner 265 model has a dual-frequency GPS antenna, while the Forerunner 165 only uses single-frequency GPS.

This means the Forerunner 265’s signal is likely to be more reliable, especially when trail running, running with a lot of cloud cover, or running in cities with tall buildings. With dual-frequency GPS, it’s more likely that the GPS signal won’t drop, so you’ll get the most accurate tracking possible.


Garmin Forerunner 165 vs. Forerunner 55: Is there any difference in OLED screen?

With a modern display, extra running features, and a better battery, is the Forerunner 165 worth the extra $50?

The good news is that user reviews do not mention the issue of GPS loss on the Forerunner 165 watch. However, it may take longer to find the initial GPS signal before starting your workout because a single-frequency antenna cannot communicate with as many satellites.

As long as you don’t live in a super remote area or do a lot of trail running, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but it’s something to consider. Otherwise, most of the built-in technology in both Garmin Forerunner watches is similar.

There’s a heart rate sensor, a SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels, and an onboard altimeter to get accurate altitude data.

Health and fitness features

Simple vs. Advanced Operation and Recovery Metrics

The main difference between the Forerunner 265 and the Forerunner 165 is the workout tracking and recovery features, with the 265 offering more advanced metrics.

What I like about the Forerunner 265 is that it includes two features that Garmin calls “training readiness” and “training status” that the Forerunner 165 doesn’t have.

Training readiness is a daily score based on your sleep data, recent workouts, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, stress levels, and more. It can give you insight into how well your body is resting and whether you should be doing an intense or relaxing workout.

Training status helps you determine if you’re overtraining based on a number of metrics and workout goals. I’m a competitive runner, so I also appreciate the advanced running features on the Forerunner 265. It has a virtual training partner so you can try to stick to a certain pace, as well as lots of advanced interval training features.

There are even more sports features on the Forerunner 265. In fact, you can track 37 additional activities such as multisport, skiing, XC skiing, MTB, eMTB, ice skating, boxing, MMA, rollerblading, squash, table tennis and tons of team sports like basketball, ultimate frisbee and football.

Garmin Forerunner 165 vs. Forerunner 55: Which GPS running watch is best for you?

Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 165 is a great entry-level GPS running watch, but the Forerunner 265 offers more powerful training and recovery tools, built-in music in both models, the choice of larger or smaller bezels, and dual-frequency GPS , to achieve more functions. Accurate, reliable, and fast signal detection at runtime. The more expensive models also have slightly better battery life. Serious runners and those looking to do any kind of triathlon training should definitely choose the Forerunner 265 over the Forerunner 165.

Garmin Forerunner 165 matt gray and whetstone

Garmin Forerunner 265

Best for serious runners

If you’re looking to save a lot of change and aren’t as “numbers-conscious” as a recreational runner, the Forerunner 165 offers you great value and provides enough training support to keep you on track with your workouts.

Aqua Garmin Forerunner 265 on white background

Garmin Forerunner 165

Very suitable for beginners

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