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It’s pretty obvious that the new Forerunner 645 Music has, errr, music. But is there anything else to tickle your running fancy? Let’s do some detailed comparisons and compare to other Forerunners.
I think it’s interesting to compare the ‘proper’ run-focussed Forerunners ie the 235 and 630.
The 735XT and 935 just have all the multisport stuff to get in the way and befuddle our brains. Plus many of you simply won’t swim and run (you strange lot !! 😉 ) Just in case you are interested in the multisport comaprisons check the follwoing link out first…
ESSENTIAL READING: Forerunner 645 vs 935 vs 735XT Comparison & Specs
LIKELY AVAILABILITY: Now
Back to the proper running watches…235 and 630.
The detailed comparison is further below (Source: garmin.com) but here is my takeaway summary and headlines if you are pushed for time.
- It looks to have everything a running watch could ever ‘need’.
- Personally I would prefer a sports watch appearance, but Garmin have probably made the right call with this design for the broader target market of runners
- It’s expensive BUT the onboard MUSIC could make this a ‘Kerching moment’ for Garmin’s accountants.
- The Forerunner 645 is clearly different from other Garmins in the Forerunner range.
The Forerunner 645 has notably more functionality than the 630 and 235 although on pure ‘competitive’ running features the 630 and 645 are similar. You might have to think about justifying your upgrade from your 630 but the upgrade from the 235 is a much easier call with many obvious differences. If you don’t do multisports then there is no real reason to go for the 935/Fenix 5 alternatives (discussed yesterday; link to: the5krunner.com). For customers, the big pull of new stuff in the 645 will come from ONBOARD MUSIC and GARMIN PAY, both will be highly desirable features for MANY casual to serious runners.
- New format compared to style of the Forerunner 630 / 235
- Strong glass yet overall ‘lightweight’ form
- Standard bands
- Improved screen resolution at 240x240px, but this still lacks behind smart watches and most Suunto Spartan models.
- It looks like the touchscreen from the 630 is no more – but that is NOT confirmed.
- Battery life looks low. But without MUSIC playing I *HOPE* it will be well over 10 hours.
- Lots of connectivity – probably every key function
- Music with c800 onboard songs and BLE headphone connectivity
- Garmin Pay (contactless effectively won’t be widely avaialble until 2018)
- It’s a cycling watch BUT it will NOT support your power meter
- It’s a pool swim watch BUT will not cache underwater HR from HRM-TRI. Not really designed for open water use with restricted functionality there.
- It’s not a triathlon watch ie it does not have multi-sport profiles
- It has all the activity tracking functionality.
- Supports both BLE and ANT+ sensors
- Has all the clever Firstbeat physiological functionality
- Will support CIQ 2.4 – so you will get access to any new apps as they are made available
- ‘Obviously’ it will support Garmin’s Running Power
Advice to Garmin Stockists
Go long young padawan
There are LOTS more runners than triathletes. Don’t be too worried about runners’ relative reluctance to spend money on gadgets as the 645 is opening up previously untapped market segments with GARMIN PAY and MUSIC. You won’t be able to get all the stock you want anyway 🙁 And when you can the price undercutting will start, albeit surupticiously at first.
I adapted the table from Garmin.com and have corrected some errors I spotted there, please let me know if there are any more.
|Garmin Forerunner 645 Music||Garmin Forerunner 630||Garmin Forerunner 235|
|Top-end running Watch||Top-end running Watch||Mid-level Running Watch|
|Headline RRP USA||$450||$400||$300|
|Lens Material||Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3||chemically strengthened glass||chemically strengthened glass|
|Bezel Material||stainless steel|
|QuickFit™ watch band compatible|
|Quick Release Bands||yes (20 mm, Industry standard)|
|Physical size||42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm||45 x 45 x 11.7 mm||45 x 45 x 11.7 mm|
|Weight||42.2 g||44 g||42 g|
|Water rating||5 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM|
|Display type||sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)||sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)||sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)|
|Display size||1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter||1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter||1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter|
|Display resolution||240 x 240 pixels||215 x 180 pixels||215 x 180 pixels|
|Battery life||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 4 weeks||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days|
|GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours||GPS mode: Up to 16 hours||GPS mode: Up to 11 hours|
|Memory/History||200 hours of activity data||200 hours of activity data||200 hours of activity data|
|GPS Time Sync||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic daylight saving time||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Face It™ watch face creator||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor||Yes||No||Yes|
|Daily Smart Features|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®||Yes||Yes|
|Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only)||Yes||No||No|
|Plays Onboard Music||Yes||No||No|
|Music Storage||up to 800 songs||No||No|
|Find My Phone||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Find My Watch||Yes||No||No|
|Smartphone compatibility||iPhone® and Android™||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Activity Tracking Features|
|Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fitness Age||yes (in app)||Yes||Yes|
|Preloaded gym activity profiles||Strength Training, Cardio Training, Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga||No||No|
|Automatic rep counting||Yes||No||No|
|Training, Planning and Analysis Features|
|GPS speed and distance||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Customizable data pages||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Customizable activity profiles||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Downloadable training plans||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Configurable lap alerts||Yes||Yes||No|
|Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.)||Yes||No||No|
|Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC)||Yes||No||No|
|Training Effect (aerobic)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Training Effect (anaerobic)||Yes||No||No|
|Race an Activity||Yes||Yes||No|
|Auto multisport activities||Yes||No||No|
|Manual multisport activities||Yes||No?||No?|
|Segments (Live, Garmin)||Yes||No||No|
|Strava features (Beacon, live segments)||Yes||No||No|
|Touch and/or button lock||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Activity history on watch||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heart Rate Features|
|HR zones||Yes||yes (with HRM)||Yes|
|HR alerts||Yes||yes (with HRM)||Yes|
|HR calories||Yes||yes (with HRM)||Yes|
|% HR max||Yes||yes (with HRM)||No|
|% HRR||Yes||yes (with HRM)||No|
|Recovery time||Yes||yes (with HRM)||Yes|
|Auto max HR||Yes||yes (with HRM)||No|
|HRV stress test (measures your heart rate variability while standing still, for 3 minutes, to provide you with an estimated stress level; the scale of this is 1 to 100; low scores indicate lower stress levels)||yes (with compatible accessory?)||yes (with HRM)||No|
|Records heart rate while swimming||yes (with compatible accessory)||No||No|
|HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices)||Yes||No||Yes|
|Preloaded run profiles||Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track||Yes||Yes|
|GPS-based distance, time and pace||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Running dynamics (with accessory)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Vertical oscillation and ratio (with accessory)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Ground contact time and balance (with accessory)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Stride length with accessory)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Performance condition||Yes||yes (with HRM?)||No|
|Lactate threshold (with accessory)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Foot pod capable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Outdoor Recreation Features|
|Preloaded outdoor recreation profiles||Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand up Paddleboarding, Rowing||Yes||Yes|
|Bread crumb trail in real time||Yes||No||No|
|Back to start||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Distance to destination||Yes||Yes (back to start)||Yes (back to start)|
|Barometric trend indicator||No||No||No|
|Trail run auto climb||No||No||No|
|Compatible with BaseCamp™||Yes||No||No|
|Sight ‘N Go||No||No||No|
|Sun and moon information||No||No||No|
|Dual grid coordinates||No||No||No|
|Preloaded cycling profiles||Biking, Indoor Biking||Yes||Yes|
|Bike lap and lap maximum power (with power sensor)||No Power||No||No|
|Race an activity||Yes||Yes||No|
|Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|FTP (with accessory)||No||No||No|
|Compatible with Vector™ (power meter)||No Power||No||No|
|Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible third-party ANT+™-enabled power meters)||No Power||No||No|
|Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Varia™ lights||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)||yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart)||Yes||Yes|
|Preloaded swim profiles||Pool Swimming||No||No|
|Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories)||Yes||No||No|
|Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly)||Yes||No||No|
|Swim efficiency (SWOLF)||Yes||No||No|
|Pool swim workouts||Yes||No||No|
|Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, calories)||No||No||No|
|Heart rate (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim)||No||No||No|
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