The Garmin Forerunner 245 running watches (x2) have arrived and represent very interesting additions to Garmin’s 2019 range, for now, let’s take a long look at the Garmin 245 Specs and compare to the old Forerunner 235 and higher-end 645.
Return to the main Garmin 245 Review
Product Name: Garmin Forerunner 245 (Music)
Product Description: Performance Running Watch with GPS+Galileo and oHR
Value For Money - 85%85%
Accuracy - 90%90%
Build Quality & Design - 90%90%
Features, Including App - 95%95%
Openness & Compatability - 95%95%
The Forerunner 245/245M is a solid, new, high-tech running watch with almost all of Garmin’s running-specific features plus the key smart features like notifications, payments and music. It does everything in a smaller-sized shell that’s suitable for many wrists.
It’s a box-ticker. Imagine an Amazon Warehouse, somewhere, full of boxes…the Forerunner 245 would have a good attempt at ticking all of them for most levels of runner. If I was busy and someone asked me for a running watch recommendation, without thinking I’d probably say “Go for the Forerunner 245“…it’s a safe recommendation unless you have very specific needs. You get the picture.
Garmin’s free running plans are suitable for runners up to a fairly good level and other features like PacePro are perfect for high-level runners looking for specific pace guidance. I love the market-leading compatibility with STRYD and you might love it for its ability to support 10s and 10s of sports profiles and for the emergency alerts and female health tracking.
You will be able to link to any modern running sensor or smartphone and the Garmin Connect app is packed full of every feature you can think of, albeit a little complex to use at times.
- Feature-tastic – it does all the running stuff you want and more besides.
- Market-leading MUSIC offering for a sports-grade watch – SPOTIFY, Deezer & more.
- Market-leading GARMIN CONNECT app and sports platform
- Good choice of free apps through Garmin’s CIQ Store.
- Interesting, free Garmin Coach option for novice-medium level runners
- Interesting physiology and training insights for all levels of runner from Firstbeat.
- Links to many sports sensors and sports platforms like STRAVA & MyFitnessPal
- Price – You could possibly find a cheaper alternative that still does the job YOU need a running watch to do. Maybe you could save yourself up to $/£70 with a bit of research into the many competing alternatives?
- Running Dynamics – not actionable for most people.
- Format – some of you might prefer a slightly larger format watch
Where Are We?
The earlier, Garmin Forerunner 235 from 2015 was a sporty-looking, mid-market running watch. It did all the right running things for broadly the right price and added some of the ‘smarts’ that became more prevalent around that time.
Fast forward almost 4 years to the Forerunner 245 (Music) and the older 235 still holds its own as a running watch in my eyes. However tech has moved on and you, the consumer, have moved on in what you might expect these devices to do. Garmin understands that and has significantly revamped and extended their offering as well as re-packaging it into more of a ‘regular watch’ format rather than the plastic, yet sporty, look and feel of the older 235.
What Is The Forerunner 245? What’s New?
It’s an entry-level performance running watch. It’s perfectly fine for beginners and seasoned runners alike but it adds a little more flexibility and tech over an above the lower end models like the 2019 Forerunner 45 (forty-five).
The new Forerunner 245 entirely replaces the position in Garmin range held by the 235. This makes it more of a benchmark device. If you are looking around for a new running watch then it’s a good idea to compare whatever you are thinking of buying to the 245.
What’s New – Hardware Base
The Forerunner 245, when compared to the 235, is basically a totally different bit of kit. The shell has obviously changed as the watch looks different, yet pretty much everything else on the inside has changed too: ELEVATE HR/SpO2 sensor; GNSS/GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO Chip (Sony); battery; screen; all of it. Even compatibility and connectivity has been extended to more sensor types (not PMs), BLE sports sensors and WiFi (245M).
What’s New – Music
The Forerunner 245 MUSIC stores music onboard and plays it back over Bluetooth earbuds as you run or to speakers at home. You can copy your personal music collection or sync from your SPOTIFY account, there are other ways too, but just realise that the Garmin Forerunner 245 doesn’t stream live over a cellular connection.
What’s New – Firmware
There are a few differences here. What we are seeing is that features what were once the preserve of Garmin’s top-of-range tri watches are now making their way on the Forerunner 245. We’re talking here mostly of Running Dynamics and Firstbeat Physiology but there is also some peripheral stuff shown in the comparison specs at the end.
What’s New – Physiology by Firstbeat
Even if you are a casual runner it is useful to know that your training is having a positive effect. But it’s relatively difficult to properly quantify that. Firstbeat provide Garmin with clever physiology algorithms that are mostly based on your age/sex/height/weight/heart rate and performances. And they are generally correct enough to be useful for most levels of runner. There are 14 in total but I suspect these will strike the most interest to most people
- VO2max – when looked at over an extended period of time, this quantifies your increased fitness
- Training Effect – tells you much your workout has had a positive effect on both your anaerobic (speed) or aerobic (fat burning) body ‘engines’.
- Training Status – shows you the cumulative effect of all your training on your level of tiredness and fitness today.
- All-day stress & recovery
There are others too like ‘calories’ and ‘all day stress & recovery’. You can read about them in more detail on Fristbeat’s site.
What’s New – Running Dynamics
When used in conjunction with either an RD-POD or GRM-RUN/HRM-TRI/HRM-DUAL chest strap, you will get Garmin’s extra running metrics which still give you good-old cadence but also which add measures that tell you how long your feet stay on the ground and how much you bounce when running. You probably want to make both of those measures lower to get faster but just how you do that is a complex question usually solved by ‘more training’.
Thus these metrics are interesting but largely unactionable.
The lack of a barometric altimeter further means that you cannot use the Forerunner 245 for Garmin Running Power, though STRYD works.
What’s New in the Garmin 245 Specs – Personalisation & Protection
The physiology stuff is clearly personalised to you but higher spec Garmin watches, like the Forerunner 245, now offer you the ability to make big changes to your Forerunner device through Garmin’s app store (called CIQ apps)
The quality of the CIQ apps is another matter entirely and, like other app stores, the apps range from awesome to ‘meh’. They are almost all entirely free and have a vast scope covering things like support for 3rd party sensors like STRYD; complex screens that can display more than 4 data fields; and support for maps via a connected smartphone. Oh, you can probably also find a Mickey Mouse watch face if you look hard enough! – the watch faces tend to be a bit garish and let down the overall aesthetic a little due to the relatively poor resolution of the screen but I guess most are passable.
For those of you worried about running in remote locations there is also a new assistance & incident detection features which send your location to selected emergency contacts via your smartphone.
What’s New – Garmin Coach
Well, it’s not new-new, but it is a nice addition to the 245 which makes the overall offering more complete and it’s worth mentioning here. Garmin Coach offers “adaptive running plans”; this sounds great but these are a little let down in the execution. Nevertheless, they are great for beginner-to-intermediate level runners (>21 min/5k). This aspect of Garmin’s overall offering has been improved and now covers adaptive 10k and HM plans as well. BUT don’t forget there are MANY OTHER FREE non-adaptive plans that will work with the 245 that you can download via GARMIN CONNECT.
Basic Garmin 245 Specs
More complete specs are shown at the end with a comparison to the old Forerunner 235 and the current, higher-spec Forerunner 645. Here are the headlines and I’d say the specs are pretty good.
- Dimentions: 1.7” x 1.7” x 0.5” (42.3 mm x 42.3 mm x 12.2 mm) and at 38g it’s VERY light.
- Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; up to 24 hours in GPS mode (6 hours with music+GPS)
- Gorilla Glass (scratch resistant) screen
- Waterproof 5 ATM (you can swim with it)
- It’s NOT touchscreen and the colour resolution is only 240x240px
Price, Discounts & Availability
I would suggest REI in the USA who now have stock and they give members 10% off (link to: rei.com). Definitely use Wiggle in the UK where you can get a new Customer Discount with the code NEWGB at this link (here) with platinum discounts of in-stock products up to 17% in boost periods. They will also get stock earlier than most other retailers. Wiggle is also pretty good on the whole throughout the Eu I’m just not sure of the in-stock status for May 2019 for non-UK markets.
Garmin 245 Specs, Comparison to Forerunner 235 and 645 Specifications
These are the detailed differences (Source: garmin.com)
|Forerunner® 245 Music||Forerunner® 645 Music||Forerunner® 235|
|$349.99 USD||$449.99 USD||$249.99 USD|
|GPS running smartwatch with advanced training features and music||GPS running watch with Garmin Pay™ contactless payments, wrist-based heart rate and music||GPS running watch with color display and wrist-based heart rate|
|Lens Material||Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3||Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3||chemically strengthened glass|
|Bezel Material||fiber-reinforced polymer||stainless steel|
|Quick Release Bands||yes (20 mm, Industry standard)||yes (20 mm, Industry standard)|
|Physical size||42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 (mm)||42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm||45 x 45 x 11.7 mm|
|Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm||Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm|
|Display size||1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter||1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter||1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter|
|Display resolution||240 x 240 pixels||240 x 240 pixels||215 x 180 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||38.5 g||42.2 g||42 g|
|Battery life||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days||Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days|
|GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours||GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours||GPS mode: Up to 11 hours|
|GPS mode without music: Up to 24 hours||GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours|
|Water rating||Swim, 5 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM|
|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|
|Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®||Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®||ANT+|
|Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Controls smartphone music||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Plays and controls watch music||Yes||Yes||No|
|Music Storage||up to 500 songs||up to 500 songs||No|
|Find My Phone||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Find My Watch||Yes||Yes||No|
|VIRB® Camera Remote||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Smartphone compatibility||iPhone® and Android™||iPhone® and Android™||iPhone®, Android™|
|Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Safety and Tracking Features|
|Incident Detection during select activities||yes (Smartphone Required)||No||No|
|Assistance||yes (Smartphone Required)||No||No|
|Live Event Sharing||Android™ Only||No||No|
|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 (in app)||No|
|Body Battery™ Energy Monitor||Yes||No||No|
|All-day Stress Tracking||Yes||Yes||No|
|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|
|Automatic rep counting||Yes||Yes|
|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||Yes|
|Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Training Effect (aerobic)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Training Effect (anaerobic)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Race an Activity||Yes||Yes||No|
|Segments (Live, Garmin)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Strava features (Beacon, live segments)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Touch and/or button lock||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Activity history on watch||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heart Rate Features|
|% HR max||Yes||Yes||No|
|Auto max HR||Yes||Yes||No|
|HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Available run profiles||Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track Running, Trail Running||Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track, Trail Running||yes|
|GPS-based distance, time and pace||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Running dynamics||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)|
|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)|
|Stride length (real time)||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)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Foot pod capable||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Outdoor Recreation Features|
|Available outdoor recreation profiles||Yes||Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand up Paddleboarding, Rowing|
|Bread crumb trail in real time||Yes||Yes||No|
|Back to start||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Distance to destination||Yes||Yes||yes (for back to start)|
|Available cycling profiles||Biking, Indoor Biking||Biking, Indoor Biking||yes|
|Race an activity||Yes||Yes||No|
|Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Compatible with Varia™ lights||Yes||Yes||No|
|Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor)||Yes||yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors)||yes|
|Available swim profiles||Pool Swimming||Pool Swimming||No|
|Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Swim efficiency (SWOLF)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Pool swim workouts||Yes||Yes||No|
Return to the main Garmin 245 Review