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Garmin Forerunner 165 vs Apple Watch SE 2: Which should you buy?

Garmin has recently launched the new Forerunner 165 sportwatch. But how does it compare to the Apple Watch SE 2? 

Although not the most up-to-date Apple Watch, as the Ultra and Series 9 launched in September 2023, the SE 2 remains a popular model. As the Apple Watch SE 2 starts at £219, it’s not far off from the Forerunner 165’s RRP of £249.99.

Despite similar pricing, there are a few key differences between the Garmin Forerunner 165 and Apple Watch SE 2. Read on to learn more about the two smartwatches and see which one is better suited for you.

Forerunner 165 offers more health/fitness features

According to Garmin, the Forerunner 165 is targeted more towards runners and athletes of all skill levels, whereas the Apple Watch SE 2 is targeted more for general health and fitness tracking.

The Forerunner 165 offers a variety of dedicated health and monitoring functions, from energy monitoring with Best Battery to fitness age which can estimate how fit runners are compared to their actual age. You can also find a heart rate monitor, GPS and a blood oxygen sensor. 

Although the Watch SE 2 does feature useful sensors, including heart rate monitoring and GPS, unlike the Forerunner 165 it lacks a blood oxygen sensor. 

Both the Watch SE 2 and Forerunner 165 offer female cycle and pregnancy tracking, in app form, however the Watch SE 2 doesn’t feature a dedicated temperature sensor. This means it cannot track retrospective ovulation estimates, In addition, the lack of a temperature sensor means it can’t give an overview of body temperature either.

Apple Watch Ultra price cut

Apple Watch Ultra price cut

The original Apple Watch Ultra is down to £649, which is £200 down off its original price. Mr. Argos must be losing his marbles.

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The Forerunner 165 claims longer battery life

Apple claims that the Watch SE 2 can offer up to 18 hours of battery life, which although is fairly generous, isn’t ideal if you plan on using your Watch during the day and then to track your sleep.

In comparison, Garmin claims the battery of the Forerunner 165 can last for up to an impressive 11 days when in smartwatch mode. Neither smartwatch offers fast charging or wireless charging.

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Forerunner 165 supports both iPhone and Android

The Garmin Connect app, which accompanies the Forerunner 165, is available on both Android and iPhone, whereas the Watch SE 2 is not compatible with any Android smartphone. If you do have an Android phone, then a Watch SE 2 is not worth investing in.

It is worth noting, however, that if you already are a devout Apple user, then the Apple Watch SE 2 will naturally fit seamlessly with your other devices.

Apple Watch SE 2 has access to the App Store

With the supporting app, Garmin Connect, you’ll have access to numerous free downloads of apps, watch faces and widgets to customise your smartwatch. This includes music streaming apps such as Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer, which is particularly useful if you plan on getting the Forerunner 165 Music edition, which offers phone-free listening. 

The Apple Watch SE 2, however, has access to Apple’s App Store, which means you can find numerous third-party options for health and fitness apps. You can also easily install apps you already have on your iPhone, which makes transferring existing data much easier.

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