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From skeptic to fan: How the Garmin Forerunner 165 changed my everyday life

Garmin Forerunner 165 Music on the wrist (Image: Thomas Wolf)
Garmin Forerunner 165 Music on the wrist (Image: Thomas Wolf)

My smart journey began with a fair amount of skepticism. Like many of us, I was reluctant to tolerate a constant buzzing on my wrist. After all, my smartphone and AirPods are constant companions anyway - a contradiction in terms, right?

My heart beat for Apple for a long time, and every search for an Apple Watch ended with a hefty sum of around 1,000 euros. For me, at the time, this was definitely too high a price for entering the world of smartwatches. Looking back, I had a Garmin watch that was equipped with a pedometer, but eight years ago this could hardly be called "smart", even with a Health app link.

However, in 2024, at the ripe old age of 44, the need to pay more attention to my health grew. After initially flirting with Apple, I decided to give Garmin a chance, especially after an informative exchange with a smartwatch-wearing friend. The choice fell on the Garmin Forerunner 165 Music, a decision that represented my immersion into the world of health monitoring.

After four weeks of use, I don't consider myself a professional tester, rather an everyday user sharing my unvarnished impressions.

The learning curve: operation and features

The watch is a lightweight on the wrist, accompanied by an impressive battery life. The combination of touchscreen and side buttons may seem unintuitive at first, but the learning curve is flat - accelerated by an included guide and supporting videos.

Unexpectedly, I became an advocate of health KPIs, which promptly influenced my behavior. Wearing the watch while sleeping may not be for everyone, but for me it was a guide to getting more rest - especially as I could track my "body battery" charge and understand which activities were draining energy.

A nice gimmick: the Garmin app store has a variety of display designs, and you can even create your own watch faces. Synchronization with the Garmin Health app is seamless, and initiating sports activities is child's play.

Garmin Pay even turned my watch into a wallet. Who needs cash when you can pay with a flick of the wrist?

The innovative concept of the Body Battery

Let's get to the heart of the matter, the Body Battery concept: this function reveals the available energy reserves, which it calculates from four vital signs. It is fascinating to see how heart rate variability, stress level, sleep quality and activity are incorporated into this index and become an everyday compass needle for your own well-being.

I find it particularly exciting that I can now compare my personal well-being with data and classify it much better. The more I wore the watch, the clearer the picture of my daily energy rhythms became. It's one thing to feel tired, it's another to see that my body battery is only at 20 percent. An invitation to pause, which I would never have given myself otherwise.

It took a few days for the watch to "get to know" me, but then I had the feeling that it understood me better than many an old friend. It tracked my sleep, my stress and my activity and put it all together into an energy profile that helped me plan and live my day better.

Go to bed with your smartwatch

Imagine having someone sitting next to you every night keeping a record - how well you sleep, how often you toss and turn, and whether you're really in the land of dreams or just pretending. Well, the Garmin Forerunner 165 Music does just that, only less creepy and much, much smarter. Its sleep tracking makes me feel like a scientist studying my own night's rest. And the results? Revealing! The watch shows me when I'm drifting off into deep REM sleep and when I'm just bobbing on the surface - a treasure map to better recovery.

Then there's the "Pulse Ox" feature, my personal oxygen spy. While I'm in the realm of dreams, the watch measures the oxygen content of my blood. Sounds like science fiction, but it's pure science that helps me understand how well my body actually regenerates overnight. I mean, who would have thought that a glance at the watch in the morning could tell me if I'm getting enough air while I sleep?

It's almost like having a little lab on my wrist. Every night, the Forerunner 165 collects data that not only tells me more about my sleeping habits, but also how they affect my energy levels. The watch has made me a better sleeper because I now understand what good sleep really means. And when I forget to go to bed early, there's this little smart thing to remind me that quality is just as important as quantity - at least when it comes to sleep.

The smartphone stays at home more often

Gone are the days when I had to take my wallet with me for a quick coffee after my morning run. With Garmin Pay on the side of my wrist, it feels like I have a magical wallet that never gets in the way or adds bulk. A simple tap on the card reader and poof, the cappuccino is paid for. It's this kind of freedom that puts a smile on my face when I go jogging with light luggage and am still prepared for anything.

And then there's the music - oh, the music! The Forerunner 165 Music reminded me how liberating it can be to just start running and stream my favorite playlist straight from my wrist. No clunky smartphone bouncing around in my pocket, just me and the beats, which unite in perfect sync with my steps. This watch gave me the tune for my movement and the freedom to leave my smartphone where it belongs when I slip into my running shoes - at home on the table.


I'll admit, I'm far from a pro tester and certainly jumped on the smart watch bandwagon far too late. But that is precisely what makes my perspective perhaps interesting for all those who are still hesitating or wondering whether a smartwatch can really make a difference in everyday life. My experiences are those of an everyday user who had the same questions and concerns as many others.

It's easy to feel lost in the world of technology, especially if you don't keep up with every wave of innovation. But the Garmin Forerunner 165 Music has shown me that it's never too late to take the plunge. It has integrated smart technology into my life without being intrusive and has helped me raise my health awareness in a simple and intuitive way.

I'm sharing my thoughts in the hope that they may be of help to other skeptics out there. Maybe it's time for you to take the plunge into the smart watch world too. If you recognize yourself in the desire for a healthier, more informed lifestyle without being overwhelmed by gadgets, then the Forerunner 165 could be just the tool to start you on that journey.