Garmin Forerunner 265 vs Vivoactive 4

Garmin Forerunner 265 was released in March 2023 while the Vivoactive 4 watch has been around since 2019. Both watches are within a tight price range.

Which of these two smartwatches would you buy? Let us have a look at some features and functions of each watch below.

Main differences

  • Forerunner 265 comes at a list price of $449.99 and the Vivoactive 4 comes at a list price of $349.99. There is a $100 difference in cost between the two variants.
  • Garmin Forerunner 265 has an AMOLED display. This leads to a much-improved display performance of Forerunner 265 than the Vivoactive 4 smartwatch.
  • Forerunner 265 supports multi-band GPS. This feature is missing on Vivoactive 4.
  • Forerunner 265 uses SatIQ technology for efficient GPS performance.
  • Forerunner 265 has higher device storage than Vivoactive 4.
  • Forerunner 265 has an ambient light sensor.
  • Forerunner 265 also has safety features of spectator messaging.
  • There is an in-built thermometer sensor on Forerunner 265. For temperature readings on Vivoactive 4, you will need to separately buy a tempe sensor. Temperature sensors are used to take wrist-based temperature readings.
  • The battery backup of Forerunner 265 is almost one and a half times higher than the backup offered by the Vivoactive 4 smartwatch on the smartwatch mode.

We look at these features in more detail below.


The biggest differentiator between the Forerunner 265 and Vivoactive 4 is the display technology used on both watches.

Forerunner 265 uses an AMOLED display. Due to the AMOLED display, Forerunner 265 is able to achieve:

  • Better display resolution than Vivoactive 4
  • Always-on-display or AOD mode is available on the Forerunner 265 smartwatch

Overall display specifications of both smartwatches are shared hereunder.

Display specificationsForerunner 265Vivoactive 4
Display lensCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Display typeAMOLEDMIP (Memory in pixel)
Display size1.3″ or 33 mm1.3″ or 33 mm
Display resolution416 x 416 pixels260 x 260 pixels
Pixel density452 ppi283 ppi
Color displayYesYes

Both watches use the 3rd generation Corning Gorilla Glass for the display screen.

We feel that the AMOLED display of Forerunner 265 is a significant differentiator. Forerunner 265 is the clear winner for its display specifications and technology.

Forerunner 265 smartwatch outdoor activities

Physical specifications

There are two important points of difference between the Forerunner 265 and Vivoactive 4 when it comes to physical specifications.

  • Forerunner 265 has a higher device storage of 8 GB. Vivoactive 4 has storage to store up to 200 hours of activity data.
  • Vivoactive 4 has a stainless steel bezel while the Forerunner 265 uses a bezel made of fiber-enforced polymer.

A complete list of physical specifications of both watches is shared below.

SpecificationsForerunner 265Vivoactive 4
Watch size46.1 x 46.1 x 12.9 mm45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8 mm
Thickness12.9 mm12.8 mm
Watch materialFiber-enforced polymerFiber-enforced polymer with metal rear cover
BezelFiber-enforced polymerStainless steel
Watch weight47 g50.5 g
Band size22 mm22 mm
Band materialSiliconeSilicone
Recommended wrist circumference135-205 mm135-200 mm
Device storage8 GB200 hours of activity data
Water rating5 ATM5 ATM

We feel that the higher device storage of Forerunner 265 is a big positive for the watch. Vivoactive 4 is limited in terms of storage on the watch.


Forerunner 265 is designed for runners and offers reliable GPS data. Forerunner 265 comes with a multi-frequency positioning sensor.

The multi-frequency positioning sensor helps in providing the multi-band GPS capability on the Forerunner 265.

With multi-band GPS, you can get GPS data from multiple satellites at the same time. Multi-mode GPS is very useful when the quality and strength of GPS signals are poor.

Getting GPS data from different satellites improves the accuracy of GPS data.

Since multi-mode GPS puts a severe drain on the smartwatch battery, Garmin has also added the SatIQ technology on the Forerunner 265.

SatIQ automatically toggles on or off the multi-mode GPS. If the GPS signals are of good quality, SatIQ will make use of the default simple GPS mode.

If the GPS signals are weak, SatIQ will automatically bring up the multi-mode GPS mode.

Vivoactive 4 does not have multi-mode GPS or SatIQ technology.

It may be pertinent to mention that both watches offer GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo GPS networks for getting geolocational data.

On account of a much improved GPS performance due to multi-mode GPS and SatIQ, Forerunner 265 is the clear winner against the Vivoactive 4.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 smartwatch


Forerunner 265 is a newer watch. It does offer extended battery life to ensure that the runners are never out of battery backup during their runs.

On different watch modes, we list the battery backup offered by the Forerunenr 265 and Vivoactive 4 smartwatches.

Watch modeForerunner 265 backupVivoactive 4 backup
Smartwatch modeUp to 13 daysUp to 8 days
GPS mode without musicUp to 20 hoursUp to 18 hours
GPS mode with musicUp to 7 hoursUp to 6 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-BandUp to 14 hoursMulti-band not available
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode Up to 16 hoursSatIQ not available
SatIQ (AutoSelect) GNSS mode with musicUp to 6.5 hoursSatIQ not available
All-Systems GNSS mode + Multi-Band with music Up to 6 hoursMulti-band not available

There is not much of a difference in battery backup provided by Forerunner 265 and Vivoactive 4, especially on the GPS modes.

Miscellaneous features

There are quite a few features that are different between the Forerunner 265 and Vivoactive 4 watches.

We share some of these features below.

  • Forerunner 265 comes with an in-built temperature sensor. To take temperature readings using a Vivoactive 4, you will need to purchase a tempe sensor. Tempe Sensor has a list price of $39.99.
  • Forerunner 265 has the safety feature of spectator messaging. The Live Track followers can send you text or audio messages using your paired smartphone’s network.
  • Forerunner 265 has additional running profiles for Track Running, Trail Running, Virtual Running, and Ultra Running.
  • Forerunner 265 has additional cycling profiles for Mountain Biking, eBiking, eMountain Biking.
  • Forerunner 265 has an additional swimming profile for open water swimming.
  • Forerunner 265 also has an additional outdoor recreation profile for hiking.

Final verdict

Our money is on the Forerunner 265. We feel it is a better value proposition that the Vivoactive 4 for the following reasons:

  1. Vivoactive 4 is an old variant and was released in 2019.
  2. Forerunner 265 has an AMOLED display.
  3. Forerunner 265 also offers multi-mode GPS.
  4. Forerunner 265 has a marginally better battery backup than Vivoactive 4.
  5. Forerunner 265 has better device storage capacity than the Vivoactive 4 smartwatch.

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