Garmin 745 vs 945 Comparison
There seems to be a slight misunderstanding about where the new Garmin Forerunner 745 fits into the overall product line. Let’s try and clarify one important difference that keeps being overlooked when comparing these two top-end tri watches.
The triathlon feature sets across the 2 watches are identical. OK, only the 745 has got the special track mode but that should be in beta for the 945 and others by the time you read this and, OK, there’s no Respiration Rate metric that you can use in a workout either. But that’s it. 99% of you reading this are going to be fine with the FR745 for doing all your triathlon stuff…planning…training…racing…analysing…SAME.
Virtually every article about comparing the Forerunner 745 to the Forerunner 945 goes something like “It’s the same as the 945 except the much shorter battery life and no maps yet it’s only $100 cheaper at $500. Crazy! It’s way too expensive.” I’m probably guilty of agreeing with comments on this blog that say the same thing. Why? Well, because it’s essentially a true statement but the IMPORTANCE of the other key difference keeps being overlooked.
The Forerunner 745 is really what might otherwise be called the 945S ie it’s simply the small version.
(Plus the battery life in GPS-mode is really 24 hours…shhhh don’t tell anyone, even Garmin will realise that too soon!)
THAT is an important difference. If no-one has ever told you size doesn’t matter then, well, you haven’t lived. Previously, the old 735XT and old 920XT were visibly different watches targetting different price points and which were also differentiated by a wider difference in features. The Forerunner 745 is targetting a different audience, mainly it’s targetting those who have thinner wrists; and so if you start off at that point then you realise that the comparison you need to consider is that of a Fenix 6 Pro vs Fenix 6s – unsurprisingly, they differ in price by $100 too 😉 So it’s really like the 745 is the 945s and the 945 is really the 945 PRO.
Of course, there are subtleties of a lack of maps, less storage and shorter battery life but those mostly follow from the constraints of the smaller case size that is needed by the different market segment. And then from that, it also becomes obvious that the lack of battery/map makes the 745 unsuitable for people who want to do an Ironman (maybe even HIM) and people with more intelligent routing needs.
There are some other differences but they’re trivial or for another day eg the accuracy levels seem subtly different for both oHR and GPS (chipset/antennae design-size)
Where the problem comes in is where you start to compare the 745 at $500 with some of the competition. The obvious ‘new kid on the block’ comparator is the Coros Pace 2, which is cheap-as-chips and jam-packed full of features. OK at $200 it’s an expensive bag of chips but you get my point, you get two and a half bags of those chips for the price of the 745…which then means you can put the cash you save toward some quality extras like a power meter.
If you are already invested in the Garmin ecosystem then the 745 is a sensible upgrade from the 735XT. If you have bigger wrists and prefer a bigger watch and are targetting an Ironman and might need some navigation then you stump up the extra $100 and go for the 945 (I have one and regularly use it).
I think that take on the 745 is correct. However, if in the nearish future (Jan 2021) the 945 is replaced by the somewhat mythical Garmin Forerunner 955LTE then that price differential will increase and become a more salient point of difference. I’d say there’s a high chance the 955 forms part of Garmin’s plans and was another reason for choosing the price tag they did