Garmin Forerunner 945 GPS Watch Review & Comparison

Last updated: August 17, 2021

GPS Running Watch / Garmin / Garmin Forerunner 945 GPS Watch Review & Comparison

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Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin is a renowned brand in the smartwatch niche. From the Fenix and Vivomove line to the Venu and Vivoactive, there are different watches, with each bringing its unique touch.

However, the Forerunner line has some of the best watches when it comes to runners, with the Garmin Forerunner 945 leading the park.

The 945 is a masterpiece, with every feature a runner could ask for. From training load and acclimation tracking to recovery time and many other unique smart features, the 945 has it all.

So, is the 945 worth its hefty price? Read on our comprehensive Garmin Forerunner 945 review to find out more about its unique features as a gps running watch.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Overview

Key Features

  • V02 Max, an indicator of your performance targets
  • Pulse Ox Sensor to estimate your blood oxygen saturation
  • Training Status to show performance indicators
  • Training Effect feedback to show how workouts influence your speed, power, and endurance
  • Training Load to measure your exercise volume
  • Triathlon and multi-sport modes
  • Underwater heart rate tracking
  • Floors climbed now possible with the internal barometer

Specifications

  • Display: 1.2” color display made of Corning Gorilla Glass DX, with 240 by 240 pixels
  • Materials: Polymer case reinforced with fiber and 22mm watch band made of silicone with quick-fit capabilities
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GLONAS/GPS/Galileo, and ANT+
  • Battery Life: Up to two weeks when in smartwatch mode, 36 hours in GPS, and 10 hours when in GPS mode and playing music
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM water-resistant rating
  • Dimensions: 47 by 47 by 13.7 mm
  • Weight: 50 grams

Garmin Forerunner 945 Features for Runners

If you are a runner, this is one of the best running watches you can use. There is a wide range of features that will appeal to you.

The GPS tracker is one of the basic features you will find in this smartwatch. There is a GPS+ GLONASS, which uses the American and Russian satellite systems for people in the US, and GPS + Galileo, which uses American and European systems. Linking this smartwatch to a foot pod will display live running power stats or information on your running technique.

You can also create more complex well-thought-out workouts on the Garmin Connect App, then sync them to follow up on the watch. There is also a Garmin Coach feature in this app that allows you to set up individualized training plans for lengthy events such as half marathons. Once you sync the 945 with these plans, you will have a clear guideline of the workouts to do at different types.

For serious athletes, the 945 offers an in-depth post-run analysis and how your workouts have improved your aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. In addition to a rating of whether you have been productive or not, the 945 also breaks down your training in the past four weeks. Also, it notifies you whether you have the right balance between aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Anaerobic training involves running for short intervals while stretching your limits, while aerobic involves steady but challenging runs. A comprehensive training plan requires that you balance these two types of training, and the Garmin Forerunner 945 will give you stats on whether you have attained the right balance of the two. The information is displayed to you via a simple graph and a short explanation of what to do.

The 945 will feed you with other crucial information on how you can acclimatize to heat over 22-degrees and altitude over 800m thanks to the Pulse Ox sensor. While this might not be frequently used for everyday runners, the features will appeal more to amateurs or pros who would like to take their runs to sunny training areas at elevation.

As with most other running watches, the Garmin 945 provides predicted race times for marathon, half-marathon, 10K, and 5K races and estimates your VO2 max score. In simple terms, the VO2 max is an indication of your performance. The score helps you to improve your fitness levels.

The full-colored maps ensure that you don’t lose your way while following a route. In addition, the 945 will give you information such as the distance remaining and a breakdown of the elevation you are on. As such, you know if you are nearing the top or there is still an incline in front of you.

Overall, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is a remarkable running watch that offers in-depth tracking and training analysis as well as colored routes and the ability to play music, all while maintaining a lightweight design. The watch can give you 36 hours of GPS, making it one of the best running watches at the moment.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Features for Sport Tracking

For those who are interested in activity tracking, the 945 offers dedicated sports modes showing you information on heart rates and calories burned.

In addition to running, cycling, and swimming modes, you will find plenty of other sub-mode categories, such as open and dedicated water swimming modes.

Previous versions of this sports watch didn’t track heart rate underwater, which was quite unfortunate, but Garmin has now updated this feature. Now you can get a pretty accurate heart rate at the wrist with your Forerunner 945.

Yes. You can now dive into open water or lane lines and monitor your heart rate at the wrist as you swim. Remember that the 945 is intended for surface swimming – scuba diving may damage the watch.The watch shows sport-specific stats such as stroke rate and laps when swimming indoors and distance covered when swimming outdoors.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Features for Activity Tracking

Although Garmin is a sport-focused watch, it does stand out in activity tracking as well. In addition to displaying the standard metrics such as steps, heart rate, calories burned, active minutes, and floors climbed, you also get information about your stress levels based on variation in your heart rate.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Features for Smartwatch

One of the best smart features in smartwatches is music streaming and storage, and the 945 excels in this area. You can load up music via a cable or sync the watch with streaming services such as Spotify if at all you have a premium account. The ability to sync up with streaming services allows you to wirelessly update playlists on your watch instead of plugging your watch every time you need to change your playlist.

Other smart features include assistance and incident detection, which sends alerts to up to three contacts via email and text if you take a fall during a ride or outdoor run. It is also possible to activate the feature by holding down on the backlight button. Make sure you set up this feature – just in case.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Features for Sleep Tracking

The Garmin sleep tracking features and capabilities have been improved in the last year, but it still lacks in different aspects.

For now, this smartwatch shows you information such as deep, light, and REM sleep, as well as a graph of your movement.

People have reported the watch confusing when you are lying still as light sleep, making it not as accurate as it should.

Just like we’ve said in our reviews on the other garmin running watches, is that its better than nothing. Tracking your sleep with the Garmin will show you consistent information.

So this can definitely be used to build an average for yourself and then check on subsequent days if you’re getting more or less sleep.

Overall we like this feature and its great that Garmin is adopting it in most of its watch arsenal these days.

Garmin Connect Sleep

New Training Features

Many people who invest in this type of sports watch want a device that can show more than tracking activities; they want a smartwatch that shows workout data analysis. With such an analysis, you will have a deeper insight into your training, which will help you understand your fitness level.

Over the last couple of years, Garmin has introduced unique features such as training effect and training status – features that base their analysis on several considerations such as heart rate data and training history. In other words, it assesses whether you need to take a break from workouts or whether you are set for gym sessions.

Another feature added to Garmin 945 is training load, which analyzes your workload for four weeks. The analysis helps you understand whether or not the workouts you are engaging in have an impact on your body fitness and how to optimize the benefits.

The feature is displayed in three sections – anaerobic training load, which indicates workouts that raise your heart rate; high aerobic training load showing mid and high-intensity workouts and low aerobic training load, which shows activities conducted at a conversational pace.

This analysis shows whether or not you are hitting optimal levels with each workout you are doing.

Smart Features

Garmin has been improving its watches to double as smartwatches. With this newest model, you will be able to view phone notifications and also control music playing on your phone.

The built-in music player allows you to add up to 1,000 songs to its library, which you can drag and drop onto your watch when connected to a computer.

In addition, there is a Garmin Pay app on this phone that allows you to make payments on several online platforms.

For those with a premium subscription for music streaming services such as Spotify, the Garmin Forerunner 945 allows you to store playlists offline.

This smartwatch is compatible with both Android and iPhones. When connected, you can view notifications, weather updates, and calendar appointments, among others, from your phone. Keep in mind that the smartwatch has no 4G/LTE connectivity, and thus you need to have your phone nearby to access the smart features.

There is also a Garmin’s Connect IQ Store that you can download and install on your smartphone to allow you to access additional data fields, widgets, and apps that you can sync to your watch to expand its functionalities.

Overall, the Garmin Forerunner has a wide array of smart features that gives you the best experience when rocking it.

Battery Life

The 935 has a powerful battery that can last up to two weeks when in smartwatch mode and up to 36 hours when in GPS mode. When you are streaming music and using it as your GPS, the smartwatch’s battery should last you up to 10 hours.

For people who are not into sports tracking, the phone will last for a week before needing a recharge. Features like heart-rate monitoring and music streaming will drain your battery fast. Also, the pulse oximeter sensor makes a sizeable dent in this smartwatch’s battery life.

What We Liked

  1. Simple design. If you are a runner, you want something that doesn’t bog you down. The 945 comes with a simple yet effective design and features a lightweight plastic case weighing 50 grams. This may seem heavier than standard lifestyle watches, but it’s manageable for runners who are used to wearing high-tech devices that weigh more weight.
  2. Powerful battery life. Another great thing about the 945 is its long-lasting battery. The battery can last up to two weeks when fully charge in smartwatch mode. In addition, it comes with a standard data cable for charging.
  3. Advanced features and metrics. The Garmin Forerunner 945 can track different elements and also give you a detailed analysis of your performance. Some of the advanced features you will find on the Forerunner 945 include training load, training status, performance condition, and recovery time. All these will help you understand how your training is going and areas to improve on.
  4. Full-color maps. When using your watch your GPS, it is easy to get confused on which route to take since the display is small. With 945, you get full-colored maps that are easy to see and follow.
  5. Inbuilt music library and music streaming services. This Garmin watch allows you to download offline music libraries on premium services such as Spotify and Deezer.

What We Didn’t Like

  1. While the display is impressive, even outdoor, the resolution is quite not remarkable.
  2. Also, many people would have preferred the watch to have both touchscreens and physical buttons. Unfortunately, the 945 only features side buttons, making scrolling through the menu a task, especially when reviewing stats.
  3. The watch also feels pretty bulky on the wrist, making it not comfortable for daily wear.
  4. Finally, its plain design makes it not great for fashionistas – the watch is for athletes who are more into a watch’s functionalities than aesthetics.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Comparisons

Garmin Forerunner 245

The Garmin Forerunner 245 is a worthy competitor to the 945, and although it might have shorter battery life and less advanced features, it is cheaper and the said features suits an average runner.

Not to mention that it has similar heart rate sensor as the 945, and thus you can expect accurate readings.

You would be losing out on features such as floors climbed as well as open water swimming / multi-sport modes such as Triathlons with the Forerunner 245.

Coros Pace 2

The Coros Pace 2 is another watch released in 2020 that can rival the Forerunner 945. It might have less casual features than the 945, but the running features are pretty spot on.

From having commendable battery life to having quality sensors that deliver pretty accurate readings.

The Garmin has slightly more battery life and also monitors your blood oxygenation levels which the Coros Pace 2 doesn’t.

Final Thoughts

There are definitely a lot of features when it comes to Garmin Forerunner 945. The battery life is impressive and will last you for up to two weeks. In addition, to fitness tracking features and basic health functionalities, there are advanced training features that will be beneficial to you as a runner.

As bonus perks, Garmin Forerunner 945 gives you music storage features, safety tracking thanks to incident detection, and Garmin Pay to allow you to pay using this watch.

Overall, the 945 is worth its price, considering all the features you will be getting.

You should buy this watch if:

  • You are a regular runner, and you need a watch to keep up with your training
  • You want a watch with a solid battery that will last you for a considerable time
  • You need a watch that offers premium features to help you track your activities
  • You want a multi-sport watch that supports triathlons with good battery life

You shouldn’t buy this watch if:

  • You care more about aesthetics rather than functionality
  • You are looking for an everyday watch
  • You are not a dedicated runner or triathlete

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