Garmin Forerunner 945LTE first thoughts
If you thought the 945LTE was simply the original Forerunner you know and love plus LTE then this will surprise you.
A lot has changed since the 945 of May 2019 and the 945LTE is an improved beast. If you simply take the number of triathlon features as the main measure, this must surely be the best triathlon watch…just!
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Garmin 945LTE – What’s New?
There are 3 areas of change to the 945: the watch hardware; LTE capability & LTE features; and a few sports features.
Oh and the price is $100 more. Now $650 up from $550
Availability: The LTE-based ‘Assistance’ services are definitely limited to the USA and I’m not yet sure if the LTE model is available outside of North America.
Get one here <<< this link will show the LTE version once the stores are updated (will take a day or so)
The new 945LTE is a small-format version of the 945 and is the size you want if you have thinner wrists. Otherwise, it looks the same but under the hood, you get the next generation of ELEVATE optical HR sensor (v4), there is almost certainly a slightly newer Sony chip (Garmin won’t confirm this). Interestingly, despite the smaller shell, the battery life is essentially unchanged although GPS-only mode is now 35 hours (down from 36), GPS+Music is 12 hours (up from 10 hours)
Note: the screen size and resolution remain unchanged and there are no headphones or a microphone.
If you have a supported telephony service then the 945LTE links to the internet as if you were carrying your phone. So existing Garmin services like Live Event sharing now work without the need to carry your phone. You can’t make phone calls using the watch though nor can you receive SMS.
We also get the addition of a new spectator messaging feature whereby friends and family can send you text/audio messages.
Garmin’s existing ‘incident detection’ services have been bolstered and packaged as “Assistance Plus” and you have a new option to subscribe to a call-centre type service that will handle the alert for you rather than having the alert dependent upon a nominated contact as was previously the case – N America only for now with selected European countries and a few others to follow.
So. The kinda-FREE features that now work over LTE are emergency assistance, spectator audio/text messaging, LiveTrack/Live Event Sharing and then with the exception of music all the workout/course stuff is synced as it currently is over WiFi.
If you pay for the Assistance Plus service then Emergency Assistance is routed to the call centre as are crash detection/safety alerts (credit: dcrainmaker).
Take Out: At the end of your race your stats will be on Strava pretty darn quick 😉
New Sports Features
OK, these are a bit thin on the ground! In fact, they’re just limited to Improved Intervals.
Improved interval includes open repeats, a new intervals data page, a new rest screen reminiscent of swim mode and the auto-detection of effort levels.
There is virtually nothing new here. You still perform your intervals as normal either by pressing the lap button (or by following a structured workout). However, the watch recognises which of the periods between your button presses were RUNs or RESTs and labels them as such in the FIT file for Connect or other platforms to handle appropriately. The 945LTE then discards REST periods when it displays lap summary information
(MTB Grit & Flow metrics are listed as being added and there are also relaxation reminders, I can’t remember if these were introduced to the 945 earlier through firmware…probably)
Let’s not forget the impressive list of major and important features that have been added to the 945 since its original launch. The management and accuracy of all sensors was overhauled and these features added
- sleep tracking widget with sleep score and insights
- the ability to rate the perceived effort and feel of a Run, Bike, or Swim activity.
- Ultra Run activity profile.
- VO2 Max for Trail Run activities.
- alerts for ClimbPro to notify of upcoming climbs
- descents to ClimbPro when enabled for non-cycling activities.
- Daily Suggested Workouts
- Track Run activity
- Improved Recovery Time,
- FE-C and Smart Trainer control.
- workout videos.
- displaying courses to viewers of the user’s LiveTrack sessions.
- in-place editing of data fields
- Virtual Run activity profile (Zwift)
- Widget Glances
- Low Heart Rate to the Abnormal Heart Rate Alert feature.
- PacePro feature.
- graphical gauge data fields
- wrist-based heart rate for swimming (pool and open water).
- Advanced Swim Workouts, Auto rest, Critical Swim Speed, Swim Pacing Alerts
Return to Garmin Forerunner 945 Review
Garmin 945LTE vs Garmin 745
These two watches are very similar.
The 945LTE and 745 are the same sizes with essentially the same feature set but the 945LTE version boasts LTE functionality, a new oHR sensor and maps.
14 Facts On the Garmin Forerunner 945LTE
- What Is LTE? It stands for Long Term Evolution (4G) and is a mobile telephony standard for high-speed data transmission. In practical usage, it means a device that can independently connect over the internet.
- What is Garmin’s IERCC? It stands for the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre which was brought into the Garmin fold with the acquisition of GEOS early in 2021. GEOS previously handled the responses for incidents raised from Garmin inReach devices via satellite communications.
- Is Garmin’s Gen 4 Elevate sensor any better? Accuracy varies according to many performances and personal physiological characteristics. One factor is temperature as hotter temperatures increase blood flow near your skin’s surface making the Elevate’s job easier as we move into the warmer months. so most testers will likely genuinely find apparent improvements over previous models. However, the LED sensor array configuration has changed and, to my untrained eyes, it now matches more closely to the optimal radial configuration – similar to configurations on the Apple Watch 6 and Polar Vantage. So it might perform better.
- Garmin triathlon watches have custom multisport profiles. Any serious multisport watch must have this facility to be credible…virtually no one but Garmin has this ability done well. A custom multisport profile could create a single sport profile, with transitions that speed you through a duathlon, a pool triathlon, a multiple RBRBR workout or an XC triathlon
- Do I need a bike computer as well? A: No. The Forerunner 945LTE can do it all. From displaying highly advanced bike metrics like last lap NP to being able to control your smart trainer over FE-C communications. Only some Garmin watches can do this.
- Really, do I need a bike computer as well? 🙂 If you are a serious triathlete you will probably spend more hours cycling than running and a watch just isn’t a great bike tool other than for logging stats. So, yes, in reality, you ‘need’ a bike computer as well.
- How can I follow a plan? You can sync 3rd party triathlon plans to your Garmin calendar and your 945LTE will remind and execute today’s workout with all the steps it contains. Only a minority of triathletes do that and there are other supported options including Garmins Daily Suggested Workouts which dynamically suggest what you should do today based on your recent performances and fatigue levels.
- Does the 945LTE support HRV? A: Yes. HRV measurements are one of the routes into quite complex physiological insights and evaluations for example telling me I probably have an ectopic heartbeat and am also not ready to train as planned today. There is genuine, validated science that underpins HRV but it’s only as good as the accuracy of the data and the inferences drawn.
- Can the 945LTE pace my triathlon? A: Kinda. You can set multiple high/low alerts for each triathlon sport which carry through to the triathlon profile itself. It’s a clever and powerful way to add focus to your race but the beeps WILL annoy you. You could instead use PacePro for the run leg and set pace targets that vary by the known grades of the race-day course.
- Is it sensible to get a dedicated swim watch? A: No. The 945LTE is the most powerful swim watch there is. It has very many swim features ranging from structured swim workouts, to stroke detection, to auto rest detection, to swim HR by either chest strap or oHR, to drill logging.
- Does the 945LTE support sensors like Varia? A: Yes. the 945LTE supports pretty much every modern sensor including SmO2, Di2, Stryd and Core.
- Can the 945LTE support fuel consumption and logging? A: Kinda. This is mostly with 3rd party services. You can either measure fat/carb burn with a sensor, as covered in my Lumen review, or estimate it based on ‘known’ ratios for the time you spend in each zone using a CIQ data field like Fat Burner or Xert’s Fat & Carbs. You could plan your consumption with an app like EatMyRide or simply set a nutrition reminder on the watch. For triathlons of Olympic distance or shorter then fuelling and hydration are straightforward and you don’t need gadgets other than perhaps a simple, reminder.
- How can the 945LTE support my winter training? Your Wahoo KICKR or Garmin TACX turbo will be well-covered for all your Zwifting and you could either use NPE RUNN or Garmin’s Virtual Run mode to get your treadmill stats properly recorded and sent to Zwift too.
- How does the 945LTE help me understand my training readiness? A: Throughout the night the 945LTE can do some clever sleep tracking which, when combined with your activities, feeds through into Garmin’s BODY BATTERY and RECOVERY TIME/ADVISOR information.
This is NOT the Forerunner 955. That will be here within a year.
If you want a small-format 945, top-end triathlon watch then this is the one. Yet, I can’t really see the point of this watch when compared to the Forerunner 745. Well, unless you want either LTE or MAPS on a top-triathlon watch – if so get this smaller 945LTE. Want to save some money for essentially the same watch (sans LTE) then buy the Garmin 745.
The more material differences are the least visible ones. This is a better-specified piece of hardware than the existing 945, with a slightly newer GPS chip and newer oHR and newer other techy bits too. But you can’t sensibly upgrade to it if you prefer the larger format 945.
The LTE-enabled features are nice, don’t get me wrong but I would have hoped to have seen them first on the more mainstream Vivoactive/Venu. The new sports features are trivial and a big letdown and I would hope and expect they find their way to other top Garmin Fenix/Forerunner models. To me, it is clear that the current LTE offering is almost entirely designed to leverage the safety/assistance features – there are effectively 2 sporty features and zero music features over LTE.