Garmin Forerunner 645 Music – First Pictures Emerge

clickable – Samsung SmartThings

Leaks of some rather pretty images of the impending Garmin Forerunner 645 Music have finally surfaced.

As there is a 645+Music then so there is a 645 sans music.

There may be other functionally different variants too. We shall, no doubt, see soon enough.

Will there be cellular streaming of music like the Apple Watch 3 or just simply music storage like on the ‘high-end’ TomTom-Runners or something else?

Clicks through to the source image - when that is removed so will be this image

Clicks through to the source image – when that is removed so will be this image. there is nothing more than this image to click through to really.

These are the broad degrees of music playback types. The bet would be that the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music sits in option 2.

  1. Built-in SIM card enables streaming over your data allowance, inevitably with music caching of some sort
  2. Synchronisation with a computer-based music library (one or more 3rd parties)
  3. Simple, remote device to control your smartphone’s music playback

Options 1. & 2., of course, require that, for the first time, Garmin need to be able to playback the music over a bluetooth connection to paired bluetooth earbuds/headphones. This is one area to be mindful of when we assess the 645 as earbud BLE connections can be troublesome when a non-supported pair are used AND there are LOTS of earbud models. Garmin will not have checked them all for compatibility. Indeed there will probably be compatibility with an included pair that are much more likely to work than others.

We also need to consider what streaming service is supported. Is it your current one?…or the other one? Or a new Garmin one (doubtful)? If your local, ‘legacy’ computer-based music library is supported (I don’t think this will be the case) then which library software will/will not be supported?

Clicks through to the source image - when that is removed so will be this image

Clicks through to the source image – when that is removed so will be this image

 

On the one hand the circular-faced device looks like the normal sort of watch you can wear all day. Kinda handy if it’s going to have all these fancy functions on it such as the Samsung SmartThings as indicated in the image at the top.

But don’t you think it looks a bit soulless? As bland as abland thing can be.

Sensible strap. Lots of buttons and possibly no touchscreen. Probably lightweright/cheap materials like the 935.In fact it looks not too dissimilar from the 935. But they look soulless and metaphorically grey. They do NOT look like running watches but rather ‘watches you can run with’ without them falling apart physically and functionally.

Rumour: Garmin only make one watch but keep turning bits of functionality off and changing the number and price on the front 😉 (not true of course, said jokingly)

Publicising these leaks is a bit of a thankless task. It generates lots of awareness ahead of the official launch for Garmin. Then when the device is properly launched you all go an read the review on your favourite review site to boost their already stellar traffic levels. Other than about $4 of advertising revenue I make nothing from it.

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26 thoughts on “Garmin Forerunner 645 Music – First Pictures Emerge

  1. This is also likely why Ray’s VA3 and AW Series 3 reviews have been pushed out a bit. It wouldn’t make sense to compare the VA3 and AW Series 3 without a 645 Music in the mix (since it would almost be a more direct competitor than the VA3).

    • VA3 and F5 will be Garmin’s key devices for success.
      F5 is more of a cash cow…profitable with limited market share growth potential
      VA3 competes with fitbit and apple watch. much bigger market (potentially) but lower share. i think that’s partly why VA2 (two) had all the goodies inside, that was the device market share they really wanted to grow as, effectively no-one, including apple, will compelte with the f5 for its market share.
      so the va3 could have all the new goodies in too. in terms of hardware. music MUST be a shoe in for VA3 although running could be a speciifc and unusual use case where it makes sense to do it (if they have research that shows that – eg people on the train will alwys have a samrtphoen and might use that rather than needing to on a watch…not same with running)

      AW is confusing…i always read AndroidWear… 😉 ray wil make virtually no money from AW. he stands to make a ton from F5, VA3 + 645/625. Guess how much. then i’ll tell you how many 0s to add on 😉

    • My Apple Watch 3 and Vivoactive 3 reviews are simply behind due to the entire month of September being nuts and only having so many wrists. Things like the GoPro Hero6 reviews take more time because…video. Plus, deferring time (and wrists) to stuff like the Suunto Baro and FR30 delay it as well, as well as the Fitbit Ionic review squished in there too.

      As for Apple Watch, it’s available on Amazon like everything else on earth, so doesn’t really impact me either way.

      • Makes sense. There’s been a boatload of launches in the past 4-5 weeks. Was more speculation that if there were a 645 incoming soon-ish, having it be a part of those comparisons would be ideal.

      • Sleep is for wimps. I don’t think people realise how long all this stuff takes to do. Unfortunately I now DO know. video…scares me senseless (in terms of time)

        @Matthew – I don’t think dc said that in future there would not be music, at least not in his article that I just skimmed through on va3 (I did find 50 musics with ctrl-f)
        my point was that he can only say what he has been told by Garmin (or state an opinion). If he’s been told that the hardware is not capable, it’s true, then so be it. I’m opining it is capable (my new word for the day probably used incorrectly).

  2. If this is true it feels like a weird decision from Garmins part – why include music playback in this model, their top of the line model for professional runners who “should” primarily be interested in the professional aspects of the watch, and NOT include it in the Vivoactive 3 which should appeal to the more “causal” crowd and thus be more interested in this type of functionality?

    If I had just bought a VA3 and then found out the 645 is released with music playback I would be really pissed of…

    Still, hope it’s true since I want to upgrade my Fenix 3 and would definitely go for this instead of Fenix 5/VA3 if music is included 🙂

    • 99% sure it’s all true.
      I agree with your sentiment.
      however they have to start the rollout of these features somewhere. I would imagine the music will get rolled out to f5 and va3. especially va3.
      but then what about GALILEO? that might be heading first for the fenix 5 when (by your logic AND MINE) it would make more sense to add that to a pro run watch…the 645 (and F5x)

      ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and…spend.

      • VA3 will almost surely not be getting music. Re-reading Ray’s preview, “music” is mentioned 50 times between the article and comment section. He also exclaims that he is perplexed they wouldn’t put it on their “$299 watch” — which, given the new information, could indicate they might on more expensive watches.

        From a marketing/business standpoint it makes sense to keep music on the higher end watches initially. Also, there is no value in adding them to previous watches, other than to cannibalize sales from your “new” watches. Customers purchased them without the feature.

        • I guess he can only say what he is told.

          From a marketing/business standpoint it makes sense to add music to the watches that appeal to segments that want music….

          not sure why you say the va3 will not be getting music…firmware or VA3 plus.

          the omission doesn’t sound right. BUT it could be for the reason I said belwo…ie actually potential buyers of VA3 actually don’t want it in sufficient numbers but buyers of 645 do.
          as said in the other reply, they have to start these rollouts of key new functionality somewhere. va3 had garmin pay.
          if they release galileo, garmin pay and musi on one watch (given their track record) they would be creating the bugiest ever garmin.

          • RE: VA3 not getting music. What would stop a non-runner from buying a 645 for the music? If it has all the same functions + more? (you get them to spend a bit more..)

            I agree it seems confusing, but we’re not Garmin nor are we seeing the data they are.

          • a bit of sensibility might stop them 😉
            it’s a new feature…it WILL be rolled out to other devices.
            we’ve only seen one image of the 645 (maybe 😉 ) so let’s not read in too much

            right. back to #realwork. and thence to the pool

          • Music storage and playback isn’t simply a “new feature” — it fundamentally changes things about the device. New BT protocols (and even BT radios possibly), different storage (possibly even class of storage), they’d likely want to use faster USB hardware. It’d either require an entirely new app or huge changes to GCM (or allow for very little customization). BT headphone compatibility, battery life impacts, etc..

            Not saying it all definitely isn’t there, but it makes little sense to launch the device with all this secret hardware to then be like “surprise!”.

          • @javaski03 I am just weary of any kind of new radio coming from Garmin in general. Take the early F5(X/S) debacle with Ant+ AND BT issues. I will admit I haven’t kept up with those issues (Once I moved over to the 935 I just worried about that), but still I personally don’t know if the disconnect had to do with the body manufacturing that interfered with the signal, if the actual radio models were bad, if some were bad but not all (based on S/N) if the programming was off.

            With Garmin now working with potentially ALL new hardware, and hardware within the same year as the release of new flagship models, I am weary of whatever comes in the 645. Just on the surface like most tend to state: wait 6 months before delving into the device, by then they most likely have smoothed out the kinks (if there are and if they can be).

            Still, music on board….little late to the game here. I cringe at the thought of the Havoc CIQ apps are going to unleash on the device.

  3. I wish it would be $399, but I guess we all know it will be at least $499.
    With that in mind, do You think 935 vs 645, being at the same price, will be multisport/swimming vs music? As simple as that? Will there be any other major differences?

    • nothing wrong with being hopeful 😉
      it will have to be priced below fenix 5.
      it could be as simple as that, yes.
      there are several other key features that garmin will be rolling out ‘at some point’. NOW is the Christmas lead up=£££££. so they want to attract sales.
      features such as galileo (but I don’t think that will be on 645 … yet)

    • Hopefully not the same price!

      As a matter of interest do people listen to music or podcasts while running? It’s nearly always podcasts for me so not sure how useful a watch with music will be to me (unless it has a podcast client as well)? At moment I’ve an old Samsung S3 which I shove into a running belt and a pair of BT headphones that cost < €7 via ebay which does the trick nicely and give me a music option as well.

      • Generally podcasts for me (marathontalk, talkultra, and my current fav TRStriathlon). Also audio books using the ability to load audible books onto my shuffle. Music if I’m doing a major interval/hill session or a tempo that needs a bit of Calvin Harris or chart junk to get my arse moving.
        Back to battery life.. the shuffle lasts for weeks!

  4. Hmm… BT music in a high end running watch that would likely be for distance and marathon training?? The battery life on most headphones is about 5 hours (I think?), so that means charging every other day in order to ensure some headroom, and no chance using for any reasonable time during ultra. Charging that often would drive me nuts – especially considering the excellent battery on my new 935. I found it hard enough to remember to charge my scosche, and that’s 10 hours!
    I would rather have a smaller, secure and more functional version of a mighty (it’s ugly, bulky, again poor battery and doesn’t support Google music). My shuffle is ok for now, but it’s getting very old. Such a shame about the pebble core – I really hope a top notch alternative comes along.

    • you need the OH1…that’s more than 10hrs 😉
      yes. battery point taken, of course
      memory. I forgot my watch for my last race (#sigh). so at least yours gets you half way through 😉 you could always take two pairs of headphones then swap and re-pair half way through. perhaps take 3 pairs for an especially challenging race.

      • I’ve been reasonably happy with the in inbuilt HR for most steady runs – intervals are a different matter though. Comparing the Scosche, HR strap and inbuilt using aux HR on the 935 shows the scosche is pretty good during high intensity intervals; whereas the inbuilt is garbage. So I only use the scosche about once a week now – meaning I have to charge is even less frequently and an upgrade to the OH1 probably isnt worth it. Runscribe needs charging about every 20 hours (hopeing the plus will be the same), the 935 about once a week.
        Having to charge headphone every 5 hours of use just seems such a backwards step. Suppose I could use a BT bridge with a larger battery, but that just means carrying even more!
        Does anyone know how many units the tomtom music devices sold? Even more interesting would be to know how many people actually used the music function?
        I just wish someone would make a wired device that could cashe music – like the mighty but better, Lets hope it evolves, or gains some competition.
        (ps – have you got a runscribe plus yet ?)

        • generally lots of ‘agreed’ and ‘yes’ to your points
          however i have to point out that you and I are clearly wrong. there are very numerous reviews of the 935 saying that sliced bread has had its day. the same reiews also clearly point out that the oHR on the 935 is, in fact, just about perfect. they must be correct as they all rank higher than my meagre review of the 935
          seriously:
          TomTom music. i don’t know. but there were quite a few people moaning about the headphones not working on the erlier version. also TomTom apparently do sell well in certain European Geos (they say). so my guess would be that it sold quite well. but my guess then goes to the crux of why the VA3 might not have music…ie maybe i guess wrong and music is not in as much demand as it would seem to be. against that i would set the observation that very many female runners and quite a few men run with earphones in my nearby parks (bushy park, richmond park). i mention the parks name to illustrate that it is a LOT of people.
          runscribe plus- no i haven’t got one…grrr

  5. I think it’s a welcome feature-addition to the Garmin lineup. But I think it would have made more sense to include it in the VA3, probably with a price adjustment along with it. The VA3 is a more direct competitor to the Fitbit Ionic, and most reviewers (including Ray) say the same thing about the VA3 – “just one thing missing, music”.

    I feel that to regard music playback as a “high-end-feature” is just from a technical standpoint (since it’s technically challenging), whereas from a marketing standpoint it should be regarded more as a feature for the “casual fitness” crowd. But then again, maybe that’s how Garmin usually handle their models…

    Also agree with the concerns about radios interfering etc…

    Still, most likely my next watch if the rumours are true 🙂

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