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Is the Garmin 945 the Forerunner Watch for You?

If we're talking about the two best Garmin watches in the Forerunner lineup, we're talking about the Forerunner 245 and the Forerunner 945. At its core, the Forerunner 945 is a multisport/triathlon watch while the 245 is focused on runners. The FR945 does everything the FR245 does—health-monitoring, smart notifications, GPS tracking, heart-rate accuracy, and activity tracking—plus loads more.

In the specific area of performance metrics the Forerunner 245 essentially has the majority of the running-specific features of the FR945, about half the cycling features, a smidge of the swimming, and that's pretty much it. Furthermore, the Forerunner 245 doesn’t necessarily show the same level of detail as the 945, even though it does record it to potentially be used with a Garmin Edge Bike computer.

In this post, we're looking at features of the Forerunner 945 and showing you how it stands out as a performence metrics watch, so that you can decide if you need the strictly runners watch 245 or the more robust Garmin Forerunner 945 multisport watch—which includes super strong details for runners.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 Specs & Build Quality

The Garmin Forerunner 945 triathlon/multisport watch gives you basically the same experience as a fēnix 6 Pro, with the feel of a Forerunner 245. The case and the bezel are fiber-reinforced polymer with a sleek design. No metal and less bulk keep it lightweight at 50 grams, which may be more appealing to runners and triathletes.

The 1.2" display with Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX lens and high performance silicone band also lends itself to a lighter ride on your wrist. It's Quickfit™ watch band compatible, so you can switch up styles if you want, which you may indeed want, as the stardard model comes out of box in black only. The tri-bundle comes in blue and the LTE upgrade is available in black and whitestone.

Seeing as battery life is usually a reflection of weight, size, and dimensions, the FR945 (47 x 47 x 13.7 mm) shows up between the FR245 (42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm) and the fēnix 6 Pro (47 x 47 x 14.7 mm) with a battery life of up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, up to 10 hours in GPS and music mode, and up to 36 hours in GPS without music mode.

If you're a hiker, trailrunner, or work out in harsh conditions, you may want to the added ruggedness of a fēnix 6 outdoor watch, which does come in a smaller size if you're concerned about bulk. But that bulk does traslate to more protection for the lens. However, many triathletes and runners consider the Forerunner 945 their go-to watch for sport performance—a testament to it's build quality.

The FR945 also has a 5 ATM water rating (withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters and splashes, rain or snow, showering, swimming, diving into water, and snorkeling).

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The Garmin 945 Display & Custimizaion

The 1.2" dispay on the Forerunner 945 runs flush with the bezel, giving it a nice clean view of your data fields. Speaking of data fields, there’s nothing on the market that can match the customization of data fields/metrics as higher-end Garmin watches.

Everything on the FR945 is customizable, including every bit of data. You can customize it using built-in watch faces, make your own, or download third-party ones on the Connect IQ App Store. Custom watch faces show an impressive amount of training and related performance metrics. Your general activity tracking data automatically uploads to Garmin Connect via your smartphone using the Garmin Connect Mobile app. On Garmin Connect Mobile, you can see the stats there as well as on the Garmin Connect website. Furthermore, you can authorize select third-party sites and healthcare providers to receive this data.

Health, Activity Tracking & Smart Notifications

Like Garmin's Forerunner 245 running watch, the FR 945 offers in the way of health features: wrist-based Heart Rate (constant, every second), Daily Resting Heart Rate, Abnormal Heart Rate Alerts, All-Day Stress, Relaxation Breathing Timer, Advanced Sleep, Hydration, and Women's Health.

Both of these Garmin Forerunners also offer:

  • Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation (spot-check, and optional all-day acclimation and in sleep)
  • Fitness Age—Reinterprets your VO2 Max score in terms of age to make it more relatable by estimating the body’s age using chronological age, activity, resting heart rate, and either body fat % or BMI.
  • Body Battery™ Energy Monitor—Allows you to track your body’s energy levels so you can find the best times for activity.

Beyond the FR245, the 945 also offers Respiration Rate (24x7) and Sleep Score and Insights. Both watche offer Advanced Aleep (shown in the image adjoining this section). With Sleep Insights, you get recommendations on how to improve sleep based on your score.

The Forerunner 945 takes all of the FR245 activity tracking features, plus floors climbed. This is due to the FR945's baraometric altimeter, something the 245 lacks. If you live in a relatively flat area, this may not be a bummer for you. But it's a necessary feature if you incorporate hills or steps into your workouts. Here's the 945's activity tracking:

  • step counter
  • move bar
  • calories burned
  • distance traveled
  • steps climbed

In the category of smart features, these two Forerunners are nearly identical. Where the FR945 pulls ahead is in the amount of songs you can store on watch, which is 500 more than the 245, and the Garmin Pay™ contactless payment upgrade. If you opt for the LTE version of the FR945, you'll have the more robust safety and communication features assoicated with having LTE on your watch.

  • Music: Plays and controls watch music; stores up to 1,000 songs for phone-free listening
  • Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)
  • Smart Notifications
  • Calendar & Weather
  • Find My Phone, Find My Watch
  • VIRB® Remote
  • Smartphone Compatibility: iPhone and Android
  • Garmin Pay
  • LiveTrack, Group LiveTrack, Live Event Sharing, Live Event Sharing (Android only), Assistance; Forerunner 945 LTE: Spectator messaging (with LTE subscription), Assistance Plus (with LTE subscription)

Sports Perfomance Metrics of the FR945

The Forerunner 945 is 100% designed for the multisport athlete, making it a performance watch above all else. Whether you run, ride, or swim—or do any of the other gazillion sports this device supports, the goal is to put as many metrics as possible on your wrist for what you do. Here's what the FR945 is packing:

  • Gym activity profiles: Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Indoor Rowing and Yoga
  • HR zones, HR alerts, HR calories, % HR max, % HRR, Recovery Time, Auto max HR
  • GPS speed and distance
  • Customizable data pages and activity profiles
  • Auto Pause®, interval training, advanced workouts
  • Downloadable training plans
  • Auto Lap®, Manual lap, Configurable lap alerts
  • VO2 Max (Run)
  • Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.)
  • Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC.)
  • Training Effect—aerobic and anaerobic
  • Daily suggested workouts
  • Finish time, Virtual Partner, Course guidance
  • Touch and/or button lock, Auto scroll, Activity history on watch
  • Available run profiles: Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor and Outdoor Track Running, Trail Running, Virtual Running
  • GPS-based distance, time and pace
  • Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute)
  • Running dynamics with compatible accessory
  • Performance condition (after running 6–20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level)
  • PacePro™ Pacing Strategies
  • Run workouts
  • Race predictor
  • Cycling and swim features (pool swimming)

Some sports have super detailed metrics, whereas others are a bit more basic. As a triathlon watch, the detail and focus on running, cycling, and swimming is strong. If you choose kayaking or rowing profiles, you’ll get more general metrics just, just not things like paddling rates, etc.

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Garmin Forerunner 945 Connectivity

Both the Forerunner 945 and 245 offer connectivity via Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi®. Note: the 945 LTE adds LTE (with subscription) connectivity to the mix.

This means that the FR945 supports the following for your sport training and performance data collection:

Headphones (Bluetooth), External Heat Rate (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Speed/Cadence (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Cycling Power Meters (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Footpods (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Virb Action Camera (ANT+), Tempe Temperature Sensor (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Shimano Di2 (private-ANT), Cycling Gear Shifting (ANT+), Cycling Lights (ANT+), Cycling Radar (ANT+), Extended Display (ANT+), RD Pod (ANT+), Music O2 (ANT+), Garmin inReach (ANT+).

Also, it supports the Garmin Xero lineup of bow rangefinders/sights. The only notable exception to the list above is cycling ANT+ FE-C trainers, which are not connectable with the FR945, but are with Garmin’s Edge Bike computers.

You can connect and save multiple sensors of the same type. For instance, if you have multiple bikes, each with their own cadence sensors on them, it’ll save those and automatically connect to them when those sensors are turned on.

Additionally, sensors work across the entire device. So when you enable sensors, all activity profiles/sports can access them.

Garmin 945 Running/Multisport Watch Maps

The Forerunner 945 has substantially more mapping and navigation capablilities than the 245. While both share these features:

  • Point-to-point navigation
  • Bread crumb trail in real time
  • Back to start
  • TracBack®
  • UltraTrac mode
  • Distance to destination
  • GPS coordinates

The FR945 adds on:

  • Around Me mode
  • Elevation profile
  • Preloaded topographical maps, road and trail maps, golf course maps
  • Downloadable cartography support
  • Compatible with BaseCamp™
  • Projected waypoint
  • Cycle Map

The most significant distinction is that the FR945 comes out of box with detailed maps for the region it was purchased in (US, Europe, etc.) and includes digital elevation data.

You can move around the map using the upper right button, which iterates between zoom/pan/scroll. You can see the terrain around you, as well as navigate to points of interest or other places.

Additionally, you can create Round-Trip Courses for both running and cycling that allow you to set a given distance and desired direction of travel, and it’ll give you three different courses using Trendline Popularity Routing data. No internet connection required.

Finally, you can follow any downloaded courses as well, using Garmin’s new smartphone course creator or any other downloaded GPS files. Following these routes, you’ll get instructions on when to turn, and when you’re off-route. So, if you get turned around on a trail, you can gain context of what's around you and know things like if you're going along a river or headed toward a mountain, or creepy abandonned campgrounds. Take that, Jason.

Garmin GPS and Heart Rate Accuracy

Garmin Outdoor watches support a variety of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. Some watches support a single GNSS such as GPS. Others support dual band multi-GNSS, which is when two GNS systems work together for position, speed, and time, such as GPS+Galileo. This offers enhances GPS accuracy in more challenging environments.

When it comes to GPS tracking, Garmin is popularly know for its accuracy. GPS+GLONASS is especially reliable in the Forerunner 945.

Garmin uses optical science to calculate your heart rate more precisely. Noninvasive sensors, located on the back of your watch, shine LED light on your wrist that can detect fluctuations in blood due to changing blood flow during your heart's expansion and contraction. This allows the Garmin Elevate optical sensor to calculate heart rate data from moment to moment.

Sweat, vibrations, temperature fluctuations, shifts in posture and movement, and even changes in the distance between the device and the user's skin can all produce signal noise and interference. Garmin technology uses G-sensors to filter out this external "noise" to provide you with precise readings.

Unlike many other fitness trackers, Garmin Elevate operates at two different sensing frequencies: in periods of low activity or rest, the sensor operates on low-frequency sensing mode, but switches to higher-frequency sensing as soon it detects increased levels of physical activity. So no matter whether you are undertaking a high-intensity work out or enjoying a rest period, sensing functions continue to operate ceaselessly and with precision all through the day.

As you can imagine, this technology gives youmore personalized heart rate data, allowing you to make better decisions about when to rest and workout and the kinds of workout you should do.

Garmin FR945 — Best Running Watch with Music?

Unlike other Garmin watches, there is no non-music variant of the Forerunner 945. Whereas those watches have music and non-music variants, the FR945 comes standard with music—and a nice package it is.

The Garmin 945 can store up to 1,000 songs on board—twice as much as the 245, but only half as much as the fēnix 6 Pro. Onboarding your tunes plays out like this:

  • Manually copied music files: These are saved MP3 files, playlists and the like that you sync via USB cable to your computer.
  • Streaming services cached files: These are offline playlists/favorites from music services like Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Deezer, cached for playback when not near connectivity.

And, unlike other Garmin GPS watches with music, you get audio alerts for things like pace and laps. You can also add a music page to your workouts data pages.

You’ll need a Bluetooth audio device of some sort to listen to music through or on your Forerunner 945 GPS watch. Headphones are best for workouts, but it will also pair with a speaker, your car ... anything with a Bluetooth technology and a speaker.

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