Garmin Forerunner 945 Specs Comparison to 935 + MARQ Athlete Preview Opinion

The Garmin Forerunner 945 triathlon watch has arrived and you’re in for a treat, I’ll save a full review for a few more months so let’s go now with a preview, or whatever you want to call it.

Availability throughout May will be limited. Act now if you want one this month: PRE-ORDER EXPLAINED *HERE*

Garmin ‘Pro’ MultiSport – State of Play

The earlier, Garmin Forerunner 935 was the best triathlon watch. It did all the right sporty things for broadly the right price.

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewIt ticked all the boxes for workout planning, workout execution and working within Garmin’s open-enough platform to move your data to specialist 3rd party sites if that was what you wanted. It connected to the right sensors, in the right ways and it connected you socially and competitively to others. Factor in a ‘correct’ 5-button, non-touchscreen, lightweight format and an increasingly useful 3rd party app infrastructure then it soon became a compelling ‘must have’ option for a serious triathlete.

Most of you reading this have probably already got a 935, and can broadly guess what the Forerunner 945 does. for sure, it does the SAME and also more than the 935.

However, some seeds of doubt can be sown. Maybe the Fenix 5S Plus was better for the thinner-wristed amongst us? Maybe the recent MARQ Athlete will be for those wanting a high-end case? Maybe those CIQ apps and new firmware updates are starting to slow down my 935? Maybe that 2-year-old battery might not get me through an Ironman any more? Maybe.

What Is the Forerunner 945? What’s New?

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is broadly the same as a 935 but on techy steroids. It’s got improved hardware, slightly improved triathlon-related real sports functionalities and notably increased smart functionality.

It’s been future-proofed with a faster processor and longer-lasting battery package. Some of the tri stuff has been tweaked slightly and the Firstbeat physio algorithms improved and extended to match the new ones we heard about earlier this year on the MARQ.

But the big difference is that the new Garmin Forerunner 945 is moving more towards being a LIFESTYLE watch. It’s become that 935-Plus model we never had which means that it now has MUSIC, MAPS and PAYMENTS. There’s no need to take it off your wrist other than to charge it.

That’s enough to make me pre-order one but I appreciate you are probably a more discerning tech buyer than me so here are headlines followed by the details.

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewAssume these are all new compared to the 935

  • Entirely re-vamped hardware – essentially a new watch that looks the same.
  • Has PulseOx, like the MARQ
  • Has Music, like the MARQ but 1,000 songs not 2,000
  • Has Garmin PAY, like the MARQ
  • Has Live Event Sharing, like the MARQ
  • Has incident detection and assistance
  • Has Body Battery Energy Monitor like the MARQ
  • Has Heat & Altitude Acclimation like the MARQ
  • Has training load focus like the MARQ
  • Has Primary Benefit (Training Effect Labels) like the MARQ
  • Has Round-Trip Creator (run/bike) like the MARQ
  • Has Trendline Popularity Routing (run/bike) like the MARQ
  • Has In-Workout Respiration Rate like the MARQ
  • Has Around-Me ‘POI’ Mode like the MARQ
  • Has Future Elevation Plot like the MARQ
  • Has ClimbPro (more than Elevation Plot) like the MARQ
  • Waterproof to 50m like the 935 but not as good as the 100m of the MARQ
  • Also some ski and golf stuff (below)
  • Has Advanced Vector Support…hmmm. I don’t know about that one !! (my brain is full of Garmin specs)

What’s New – Hardware Base

The new Forerunner 945 looks the same as the 935. But it’s faster and with more onboard memory, a new Sony GPS chip, Gorilla Glass and a new ELEVATE optical heart rate sensor. The 945 might LOOK the same as the 935 but really it’s kinda totally different inside! #Awesome

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewThere are probably also new power-efficient components inside that we will never hear about but it’s the Sony GPS chip that WILL be the main contributor to boosting battery life just as the other features like music will degrade it. The new ELEVATE sensor might be a slight battery saver too. The bottom-line is that you now get a whopping 36 hours of GPS usage.

Note: Doubts exist about the accuracy of the Sony chip. Polar implemented new firmware yesterday from SONY that supports SBAS on the same chip that the 945 is using. My advice has always been to rely on a running footpod for pace/distance when running (I use STRYD) but that cycling speed and all post-workout tracks of where you have been will otherwise be accurate enough with the onboard GPS.

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewWhat’s New – Garmin PAY

Garmin PAY turns your watch into a contactless payment card. For your bank to work it absolutely MUST be on this list: link to garmin.com. In the UK I started a STARLING bank account just for these kinds of transactions as the per-transaction amount is limited.

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewWhat’s New – Music

The Forerunner 945 stores music onboard and plays it back over Bluetooth earbuds as you run. You can copy your personal music collection or sync from your SPOTIFY account, there are other providers too, but just realise that the Garmin Forerunner 945 doesn’t stream live. But that’s OK. I’m cool with all of that.

Neither Apple Music nor Google Play Music for now.

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewWhat’s New – Maps

Most of us will be Naysayers about the addition of maps.

Do we really navigate when cycling with a watch? Will we really use the inbuilt POIs to find a post-workout coffee shop? I suspect that as the months wear on and that part of your wrist that never gets tanned slightly adjusts to the 945’s shape then YES, I suspect you will start to do more of these things. Just because you can.

If you’ve never used Garmin’s on-device popularity routing then my recent experiences are generally very positive. It takes you where other runners and riders frequenty go too.

Of course, a few of you will have been longing for maps for months for your sport-specific uses, so you’ll already be happy with this inclusion and reading the next section.

So, if you ever followed breadcrumb routes to navigate then it’s just made a whole lot easier with mapping and proper, re-routing functionality built-in. Indeed you can use the 945 just like a car’s satnav to find a route to wherever you are going and that place could even be a known POI. As Garmin’s maps gain more POIs then 3rd parties will be able to deliver interesting new location-based experiences for us via CIQ Apps

There are proper, routable onboard maps for the region in which you bought the 945. You can buy maps for other regions from Garmin and there are apparently free ways of getting them too.

You can also create routes on the 945 itself although the process is a little ‘clunky’ – personally, I’d stick to routes made elsewhere.

What’s New – Firmware

There are a few differences here but the meat of the firmware is broadly the same as the existing Fenix 5/plus/935 devices.

Garmin Forerunner 245 ReviewWhat’s New – Physiology by Firstbeat

Some of the calcs have been tweaked for more demanding environments and there are a few extra peripheral features that most of us will find occasionally interesting but which someone, somewhere will have a Eureka moment with.

  • Heat and Altitude Acclimatization
  • 4 Week Training Load Balance/Focus
  • Workout Labels
  • Respiration Rate
  • Training Status with Elevation/Heat factored into the calcs
  • Training effect summary screen with numerical Training Load
  • VO2 Max trend screen
  • and the rest…

clickable

What’s New – In-Sport Features

For those of you who follow structured workouts from online providers, there are now improved ways for the likes of Training Peaks, Today’s Plan and Final Surge to natively get the files into the right part of your watch for you to use them.

The addition of ClimbPro is a nice-to-have. I’ve only really used ClimbPro when cycling with an Edge 1030, the wrist-format could work for fell runners who are following a specific race route but otherwise I’m not convinced about its real usefulness.

The new swim-run auto-transition feature for the MARQ appears to be missing. That’s strange but transition-related functionality WILL come to the 945 in due course (100% certainty).

Gripes

So far so good. But here are the ‘feubles’ I’ve encountered.

  • It took a long while to setup but that was more due to the fact there was more feature stuff to setup. It’s probably improved in reality over the 935, I guess, ie in the individual elements of setup.
  • Manual music sync is super-slow from your personal collection. Like, sloooooow.
  • Sound quality with my Jabra’s sounds alright. The 945 is only going to have an SBAC codec so you can’t expect much more. But same as every other music-enabled watch but not as good quality as many smartphones.
  • The buttons don’t seem positive enough to me and  bit ‘weak’ on the push. I compared it to the 935, guess what? Same!
  • There are some issues with CIQ stuff not being flagged as supported by the 945 (eg I think Humon Hex and also my favourite watch face). Consequently you can’t use them (yet)
  • No-one has really mentioned the auto elevation recalibration by GPS en route. Sounds nice. Doesn’t work too well.
  • ELEVATE v3 and GPS…you can guess how good they are right? ….meh. Same old same old, no doubt other reviews will say how brilliant they are but you’re a clever lot so I won’t try to fool you.
  • I’ve got another SpO2 device right now and the 945 looks more correct than the other one (the other one tells me I am dead sometimes!…seriously)
  • I can’t get the freakin’ thing to connect as a mass storage device by default. Always requires me to manually press a button, otherwise it connects like a smartphone with no drive letter assigned #PITA. I’ve had this problem since the 645 and yes I know there is a setting and that I can re-install USB drivers (doesn’t work)
  • 945 is definitely faster than the 935, I would have preferred a bit more speediness. But it’s alright. #ModestImprovement #ABitSlicker
  • Menus are pretty much the same and as complex as ever. Post-workout menu stuff IS better. My fave feature is bizarrely the Firstbeat workout label which really helps nail the classification of what you’ve just done and it matches how I felt. Or I could just trust how I felt in the first place 😉
  • I can’t find the swimrun auto-sport change. Then again there’s quite a bit I can’t find on my 935 and I’ve had that 2 years 😉  (partly joking to make a point).

But it’s still a ‘happy camper 9/10 so far‘. Can’t wait for my proper GPS test but it’s down at about 5th on that list. Eesh.

 

You won’t regret buying one, just the same old feubles will mildy annoy you. At least you can listen to music whilst being mildly annoyed and sit there super-smug with that coffee the 945 just bought you, as you know you have the best tri watch and no-one else does…yet.

Futures – What’s going to happen to the 945 over the next 2 years?

  • I’m pretty sure we are going to see cleverer integration for TRAINING PLANS following the recent announcements of a TRAINING API. We shall see this more easily opening up Garmin devices to training plans from lots of new sources.
  • We will also see quicker connectivity and connectivity to the more unusual devices.
  • I think we will see moves to make more physiological and post-workout analysis even more accessible on the 945 itself to keep you in the Garmin ecosystem and stop you straying to 3rd party providers.
  • We might see GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC as a CIQ Music provider and maybe even Apple Music too. Maybe. One day. Perhaps.
  • There’s not too much scope to add new in-sport functionalities but we shall see more automation of transitions and more info about the mechanics WITHIN a transition (think about it), we will eventually see running with power properly integrated. But LATER rather than sooner.

OK Garmin, take a lap” One day we will get voice activation of ‘sporty stuff’ but that will be the time when you know it’s right to find a new sport  😉

On that note. You already knew you were going to buy one. It’s now just a case of how soon you want it on your wrist.

Click to a buy link – will vary by country. powermetercity in the USA, Wiggle in the UK

Price, Discounts & Availability

Remember it looks the same as the 935. Ssssh. Your partner really will never realise what you have done. Maybe.

  • Watch only: $599 or a bundle for $749.99 (+ old HRM-TRI & SWIM)
  • Watch only: £519 or a bundle for £649.99 (+ old HRM-TRI  &SWIM)
  • Watch only: Eu599 or a bundle for Eu749.99 (+ old HRM-TRI  &SWIM)

ORDER here at Wiggle or pre-order for priority despatch at PowerMeterCity: http://geni.us/GarminForerunner945

Or read the following if you are desperate to get one before June 10th 2019. You need to order wisely to get one quickly, most pre-order sites will LIKELY NOT DELIVER UNTIL JUNE, especially Amazon.

 

Garmin Forerunner 945 – Shipping NOW (EU/UK)

 

Garmin Forerunner 945 Specifications, Comparison to 935, MARQ Athlete

As you can see, below, the features are HIGHLY similar between all 3 models (Source: Garmin.com) but the MARQ even has the odd featurette or two which the 945 does not.

I’ve bolded the important differences

 

Forerunner® 945 MARQ™ Athlete Forerunner® 935
$599.99 USD $1,500.00 USD $499.99 USD and Up
Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music Modern tool watch with recovery time and VO2 max scales on the bezel Premium GPS running/triathlon watch with wrist-based heart rate
General
Lens Material Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX domed sapphire crystal chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Material fiber-reinforced polymer titanium fiber-reinforced polymer
Case material titanium fiber-reinforced polymer
QuickFit™ watch band compatible yes (22 mm) yes (22 mm) yes (22 mm)
Strap material silicone silicone rubber silicone
Physical size 47 x 47 x 13.7 mm Diameter x Thickness: 46 x 14.1 mm 47 x 47 x 13.9 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 130-220 mm Silicone rubber strap fits wrists with a circumference of 135-213 mm
Display size 1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter 1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels 240 x 240 pixels 240 x 240 pixels
Display type sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Weight 50 g 94 g 49 g
Battery life Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours GPS mode: Up to 28 hours GPS/HR mode: Up to 24 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours GPS with Music: Up to 9 hours UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 60 hours without wrist heart rate
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 48 hours
Water rating 5 ATM 10 ATM 5 ATM
Color display Yes Yes Yes
Memory/History 200 hours of activity data 32 GB 64 MB
Clock Features
Time/date Yes Yes Yes
GPS Time Sync Yes Yes Yes
Automatic daylight saving time Yes Yes Yes
Alarm clock Yes Yes Yes
Timer Yes Yes Yes
Stopwatch Yes Yes Yes
Sunrise/sunset times Yes Yes Yes
Sensors
GPS Yes Yes Yes
GLONASS Yes Yes Yes
Galileo Yes Yes Yes
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor Yes Yes Yes
Barometric altimeter Yes Yes Yes
Compass Yes Yes Yes
Gyroscope Yes Yes Yes
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes
Thermometer Yes Yes Yes
Pulse Ox Yes yes (with Acclimation) No
Connectivity
Connectivity Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® Bluetooth® Smart, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®
Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps) Yes Yes Yes
Smart notifications Yes Yes Yes
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only) Yes Yes Yes
Calendar Yes Yes Yes
Weather Yes Yes Yes
Controls smartphone music Yes Yes No
Plays and controls watch music Yes Yes No
Music Storage Up to 1000 songs up to 2000 songs
Find My Phone Yes Yes Yes
Find My Watch Yes Yes Yes
VIRB® Camera Remote Yes Yes Yes
Smartphone compatibility iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™ iPhone®, Android™
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile Yes Yes Yes
Garmin Pay™ Yes Yes No
Safety and Tracking Features
Incident Detection during select activities yes (Smartphone Required) No
Assistance yes (Smartphone Required) No
LiveTrack Yes Yes Yes
Group LiveTrack Yes Yes Yes
Live Event Sharing Android™ Only Android™ Only No
Activity Tracking Features
Step counter Yes Yes Yes
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
Calories burned Yes Yes Yes
Floors climbed Yes Yes Yes
Distance traveled Yes Yes Yes
Intensity minutes Yes Yes Yes
TrueUp™ Yes Yes Yes
Move IQ™ Yes Yes Yes
Fitness Age yes (in app) yes (in app) yes (in app)
Body Battery™ Energy Monitor Yes Yes No
All-day Stress Tracking Yes Yes Yes
Gym & Fitness Equipment
Available gym activity profiles Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Indoor Rowing and Yoga Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga Indoor Rowing, Strength Training and Cardio Training
Cardio workouts Yes Yes Yes
Strength workouts Yes Yes Yes
Automatic rep counting Yes Yes Yes
Training, Planning and Analysis Features
Yes Yes Yes
GPS speed and distance Yes Yes Yes
Customizable data pages Yes Yes Yes
Customizable activity profiles Yes Yes Yes
Auto Pause® Yes Yes Yes
Interval training Yes Yes Yes
Advanced workouts Yes Yes Yes
Downloadable training plans Yes Yes Yes
Auto Lap® Yes Yes Yes
Manual lap Yes Yes Yes
Configurable lap alerts Yes Yes Yes
Heat and altitude acclimation Yes Yes No
V02 max Yes Yes Yes
Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.) Yes Yes Yes
Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC) Yes Yes Yes
Training load focus Yes Yes No
Training Effect (aerobic) Yes Yes Yes
Training Effect (anaerobic) Yes Yes Yes
Primary benefit (Training Effect labels) Yes Yes No
Customizable alerts Yes Yes Yes
Audio prompts Yes Yes Yes
Finish time Yes Yes Yes
Virtual Partner Yes Yes Yes
Race an Activity Yes Yes Yes
Auto multisport activities Yes Yes Yes
Manual multisport activities Yes Yes Yes
Course guidance Yes Yes Yes
Segments (Live, Garmin) Yes Yes Yes
Strava features (Beacon, live segments) Yes Yes Yes
Round-trip course creator (running/cycling) Yes Yes No
Trendline™ Popularity Routing Yes Yes No
Touch and/or button lock Yes Yes Yes
Hot keys Yes Yes Yes
Auto scroll Yes Yes Yes
Activity history on watch Yes Yes Yes
Physio TrueUp Yes Yes Yes
Heart Rate Features
HR zones Yes Yes Yes
HR alerts Yes Yes Yes
HR calories Yes Yes Yes
% HR max Yes Yes Yes
% HRR Yes Yes Yes
Recovery time Yes Yes Yes
Auto max HR Yes Yes Yes
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 compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Records heart rate while swimming yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™) yes (with HRM™ Tri or HRM™ Swim) yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices) Yes Yes Yes
Respiration rate (during exercise) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory) No
Running Features
Available run profiles Running, Indoor Track Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running Running, Treadmill Running, Trail Running, Indoor Track Running Running, Indoor Running, Trail Running
GPS-based distance, time and pace Yes Yes Yes
Running dynamics yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion and the cost-benefit ratio with stride length) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Stride length (real time) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute) Yes Yes Yes
Performance condition (after running 6–20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level)
Lactate threshold (through analysis of your pace and heart rate, estimates the point where your muscles start to rapidly fatigue) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Run workouts Yes Yes Yes
Race predictor Yes Yes Yes
Foot pod capable Yes Yes Yes
Outdoor Recreation Features
Available outdoor recreation profiles Hiking, Climbing, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking, Jumpmaster, Tactical Hiking, Climbing, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Jumpmaster, Tactical
Point-to-point navigation Yes Yes Yes
Bread crumb trail in real time Yes Yes Yes
Back to start Yes Yes Yes
TracBack® Yes Yes Yes
UltraTrac mode Yes Yes Yes
Around Me mode Yes Yes No
Elevation profile Yes Yes Yes
Distance to destination Yes Yes Yes
Barometric trend indicator with Storm Alert Yes Yes Yes
ClimbPro™ Ascent Planner Yes Yes No
Trail run auto climb Yes Yes Yes
Vertical speed Yes Yes Yes
Total ascent/descent Yes Yes Yes
Future elevation plot Yes Yes No
Preloaded topographical maps Yes Yes No
Preloaded ski resort maps Yes Yes No
Downloadable cartography support Yes Yes No
Compatible with BaseCamp™ Yes Yes Yes
GPS coordinates Yes Yes Yes
Projected waypoint Yes Yes Yes
Sight ‘N Go Yes Yes Yes
Area calculation yes (via Connect IQ™) yes (via Connect IQ™) yes (via Connect IQ™)
Hunt/fish calendar yes (via Connect IQ™) yes (via Connect IQ™) yes (via Connect IQ™)
Sun and moon information yes (via Connect IQ™) yes (via Connect IQ™) yes (via Connect IQ™)
Dual grid coordinates Yes Yes Yes
XERO™ Locations Yes Yes No
Cycling Features
Available cycling profiles Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking, Triathlon Biking, Indoor Biking, Mountain Biking
Courses Yes Yes Yes
Bike lap and lap maximum power (with power sensor) Yes Yes Yes
Race an activity Yes Yes Yes
Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal) Yes Yes Yes
FTP (Functional Threshold Power) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Cycle Map (routable cycling-specific street map) Yes Yes Yes
Compatible with Vector™ (power meter) Yes Yes Yes
Power meter compatible (displays power data from compatible third-party ANT+™-enabled power meters) Yes Yes Yes
Advanced Vector support Yes ? ?
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 sensors) yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors) yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors)
Swimming Features
Available swim profiles Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/Running Pool Swimming, Open Water Swimming
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories) Yes Yes Yes
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) Yes Yes Yes
Swim efficiency (SWOLF) Yes Yes Yes
Drill logging Yes Yes Yes
Pool swim workouts Yes Yes Yes
Open-water swim metrics (distance, pace, stroke count/rate, stroke distance, calories) Yes Yes Yes
Heart rate (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim) yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™) yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™) yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)

 

In Brief
  • 91%
    Price - 91%
  • 92%
    Build Quality & Design - 92%
  • 99%
    Features, Including App - 99%
  • 98%
    Openness & Compatability - 98%
95%

Summary

The Garmin Forerunner 945 looks like the Forerunner 935 but is a wholly new piece of faster and more capable kit. The true ‘sport’ features have been tinkered with and improved a little but the main new features are the SMARTs coming from Garmin PAY, Music and Maps.

For once, it REALLY is a case that THE BEST has got better.

Pros

  • Contains every ‘proper’ triathlon feature
  • Revamped hardware – faster than the 935
  • Great battery life for extended GPS usage
  • Contains many new peripheral features notably ‘smarts’ like Maps, Music and Pay
  • Awesome connectivity to external sensors and openness to 3rd party sites

Cons

  • Price
  • oHR and GPS accuracy need extended investigation (broadly OK)
  • Menu interface feels clunky at first
  • No FE-C connectivity but almost everything else can be connected.

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Justin
Supporter
Justin

It’s the Marq Athlete, in a plastic casing, with half the storage.

Called it, over a month ago, with zero insider info on the watch.

Ddr
Guest
Ddr

Looks like Polar Vantage v killer. Dc on his review pointed Garmin Has better GPS and similar ohr

Justin
Supporter
Justin

All DC said (and correctly) that it always comes down to the antenna and its construction. In the case of the 945, Garmin may have the superior antenna, but all have the same GPS unit in them (Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Coros).

As for the OHRM, they are entirely different OHR sensors which each being proprietary to their brand. I don’t know what you mean by similar OHR here. In results? Everyone’s results are different. Effectiveness? It hasn’t even come out and we’re getting the tiniest tip on the new Elevate HR while the Vantage has been out for months.

Still comes down to which ecosystem you prefer and what you get out of the metrics.

Fred
Supporter
Fred
Mirko Surf&Run
Guest
Mirko Surf&Run

For a similar price, in your opinion is better the new FR945 or the one year old Fenix 5s plus? For a normal runner that doesn’t need the extra battery life of the FR945.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I currently use a Whoop! band for monitoring morning recovery and informing that day’s training plan. Do you think the new Body Battery functionality is good enough to replace this?

flokon
Guest
flokon

Thanks, will pass.
All that lifestyle fluff is a no-go for me. I have an IWC as my daily watch, and only use my 935 for working out, i.e. running, or when I’m on vacation. I usually run about 7-8hrs a week, and the 935 lasts easily for two weeks. Since I use a Stryd, the only thing that would have had me consider it remotely is native power, because I don’t like to use 3rd party stuff. But alas, Garmin dropped the ball on that one, again.
The improved FirstBeat metrics are nice on first sight, but, again, will solely depend on maxHR, meaning less than accurate numbers, and trends. I use Training Peaks since they let me use Threshold HR, and pace instead of MHR. Now, Garmin let’s you use LTHR as well, but it just changes your zones. The underlying algorithms for TE, Recovery, and Load are still derived from the value you input for maxHR.

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

Thanks for all the info.
Out of interest generally across Garmin watches, what do the battery numbers ‘really’ mean.
10 hours for GPS + Music seems great, but what do they classify under GPS. Do i get my map screen, and my climb pro functionality alongside my music in that number?

Justin
Supporter
Justin

That most likely is the internal stress test Garmin has done under conditions they ran it through. Think of them more as a guideline, like gas MPG here in the states.

Justin
Supporter
Justin

Just as an updated rider for those preordering on Amazon (US); the order states very clearly now the release date is May 30th. There are people now via the new 945 forums that have gotten their hands on it from outside vendors and apparently defective one too (physical button issue)?

I’m personally fine with the wait, we all know how Garmin watches launch. Maybe a month of updates cushions the blow.

Stepan
Guest
Stepan

I know it’s a long shot but do you expect Fenix 6 that will propably come out in 2020 to be based on the same hardware as MARQ/Forerunner 935 but in a Fenix case? Or would you expect any big updates such as larger screen or dual frequency Galileo? I am tepted to buy Forerunner 945 but don’t want to envy future Fenix 6 another big jump in tech 🙂

Guest
Guest
Guest

How does the 64MB memory/history size on FR935 translate in the terms of hours of activity? FR945 says 200 hours of activity data.

Valleri
Guest
Valleri

95%? I‘ve sent my 945 yesterday back to sender. Music? What the hell. My AppleWatch is much better. Garmin Pay? Noone accepts it. But the most reason is: Bad GPS. Really bad GPS. I have a Polar V800, a vantage V and this watch is really really bad. Can‘t believe it. How much is this article paid for?

the5krunner
Admin

Val

I have zero relationship with Garmin. I do not even get press releases.
how much do you think I was paid by Garmin for this this other piece of content that’s critical of the 945?: https://the5krunner.com/2019/05/03/garmin-forerunner-945-gripes-so-far/
GPS test results – yes I broadly agree with you: https://the5krunner.com/2016/11/05/test-route-for-gps-devices/ . I have been criticised frequently for being critical of garmin’s gps performance many many many many many times. Did I say MANY ? I don’t think you will find ANY OTHER reviewer who has been as critical of Garmin’s GPS performance as me (backed up by evidence)…and I mean ANY reviewer.

why is the Apple watch better than Garmin’s implementation of music? … other than Apple supporting the Apple music service. In-sport usage of music is MUCH better with Garmin https://the5krunner.com/2018/03/29/best-running-watch-music-review/
Garmin Pay: you make a generally fair comment. I’ve linked to the providers and said that I had to open an account as my bank is not supported.

Tessa
Guest
Tessa

A watch is for me only a wrapper around Stryd and a heart stripe. Best smart watch is the Apple Watch ( with Stryd App which have Trainingpeaks Connection). The same for vantage. Best watch for runners is vantage at least for me, not only but also because of Flow

the5krunner
Admin

yep i’d mostly agree with that. I like your ‘wrapper’ comment, that is a nice phrase.
still is an issue with stryd+vantage otherwise i would be using it for soem races this year.

Erwin
Guest
Erwin

No. It‘s not a wrapper. It‘s a display. And the display from Garmin vs AppleWatch 😂

SusieFlusie
Guest
SusieFlusie

what about dcrainmaker being critical?

the5krunner
Admin

dcrainmaker is critical about things from time-to-time. he was critical of the gps on the Garmin Instinct but I think it’s fair to say that I see the general GPS performance of Garmin devices as being worse than he does.

Shaun
Guest
Shaun

Dcrainmaker criticized the GPS during open water swimming on the Fenix 5x plus, Although it was some time after his initial in depth review.

SusieFlusie
Guest
SusieFlusie

people buy based on his review.