Garmin Forerunner 945LTE – 14 Must-Know Facts & first thoughts

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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!

Return to Garmin Forerunner 945 Review

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)

Watch Hardware

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.

LTE Capability

LTE Coverage

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)

Carried-Over Features

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Does the 945LTE support sensors like Varia? A: Yes. the 945LTE supports pretty much every modern sensor including SmO2, Di2, Stryd and Core.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

 

Take Out

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.

 

 

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45 thoughts on “Garmin Forerunner 945LTE – 14 Must-Know Facts & first thoughts

  1. So the question is, who is Garmin partnering with in Europe for eSIM support ? Their only previous LTE watch had no such support in Europe, right ?
    Also, dumb move not to add a bit more value to LTE by allowing calls to (if only to preset numbers) and from anyone, with BT headphones.

    1. well…i find it hard to argue for once!!

      my understanding is that eSIM is more generic than the linkup with VA3/Verizon where I believe the physical chips was tied to verizon.

      I assume europe is similar to the UK in that there are only 2 or 3 real cell networks but with many providers working over each networks. Thus coverage COULD be more widespread…that is my expectation/guess

  2. I am disappointed. My expectation was better GPS chip at least. Not this semi update which probably won’t work in Europe. I have to wait to F7 or fr955.

    1. the chip almost certainly is better (2 or 3 model increments newer ie probably same as suunto 9peak …garmin wont confirm )
      just buy a stryd and be done with it. WAY more accurate than even the next gen gnss chips will (potentially) be

    1. as of today my understanding is that it is north America only.
      what makes me think that is because europe will require a different antennae ie a different product sku plus perhaps other regulatory approval as well as the completion of a separate production run.
      I appreciate that it (LTE enablement) will be rolled out in Europe although maybe not the UK

      1. Thanks for the reply and sharing your thoughts. That would explain the FR945 hitting the shelves in summer (so the press release says) in contrast to the US where it will be available in 3-5 weeks. Though I consider July a summer month – even in Europe 🙂 We will see…

  3. I’m confused. Does this mean that Garmin UK will sell a 945 LTE but with no LTE services and at an equivalent price to Garmin US who will sell a 945 LTE with LTE services? It is not currently available on Garmin UK so I can’t check.

  4. I would call it the most disappointing hardware upgrade of the decade, there is absolutely nothing new for users in Europe. It is even hard to call it hardware upgrade, it is minimal hardware revision. Garmin spent more on marketing posts in this blog than in development of new features. Very sad.

    1. I have ZERO relationship with garmin. I buy my own garmin watches and they don’t even send me press releases.

      Apology accepted

      ask a question or get your facts right first please. it just makes for a more pleasant experience all round

      945LTE is a totally new form factor ie it is smaller in simple terms and thus for a smaller wristed person –
      ie it is NOT an upgrade for a 945 owner.
      the ohr sensor is new
      the ‘motherboard’ for want of a better phrase is probably also new (like enduro)
      and the gnss chip is probably a new iteration

      1. Well, somehow you got exclusive info and photos about FR945 LTE and comments on all those posts were disabled, something that is usual only on promotion posts.

        1. again you make assumptions.

          I did NOT show exclusive photos and you have zero idea of what information I got or where I got it from

          If you want to know if and why I disabled comments then why don’t you ask?

          where exactly are you going with this?

          just making accusations or insinuations won’t help you.

          If you ask questions I could well answer them and you will be more knowledgeable and enlightened rather than just hacking me off (which you are more than welcome to do…it’s a free world…well, some of it is). maybe that would also be a good approach in life…ask before you accuse.

  5. The 945 LTE will be available in Europe for sure. But maybe it will take a little bit longer than its availability in the US.

    UK is not listed on their tables yet. That’s not because it will not be sold there, but because Garmin has yet to agree with any network operator to be able to give the subscription service.

    As with Garmin Pay, Garmin has to sign contracts with each and every network operator in any country (not all of them, just one) to be able to provide service.

    Regarding the two SKUs, that’s because due to the difference in networks and frequencies, there has to be one watch for North America and another one for the rest of the world. Apple does the same with their Apple Watch (and even iPhones).

  6. What makes you think the FR955 will release within a year? I’m currently owning a Polar Vantage M, but want some extra features that the FR945 (LTE) has, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra money… Think I’ll wait for the FR955 and hope there’ll be more new features!

    1. this watch is simply not an upgrade for the 945 . in a nutshell…IT’s SMALLER !! 😉
      so there WILL be a 955.
      regarding the timing:

      the 955 and 955LTE are now the only devices not to have launched based on the leak of all the models last year. so they are due next or ‘soon’

      other leaks I had suggested summer 2021 launches. those leaks have now changed to 2022.

      It is unwise to commercially supersede the 945lte so soon (even tho it’s the 745LTE with maps or 945s LTE PRO depending on how you want to phrase it!!) plus it’s good to test out lte and the garmin call centre lte services in the real world.

      thus September/kona time can be a good time for a 955 launch (xmas)

      however, that slot or sooner could be for f7 and/or Vivoactive 5. next slot is Jan 2022 or then spring 2022.

  7. Do you know if the LTE has everything but calls and texts working? I have some thoughts:

    • I have a SmartThings app which allows me to open my garage. Could I open my garage without my phone? (it’s a widget)
    • Does weather work without a phone? (I know it usually saves, but can it be refreshed)
    • If yes on the above, as a developer could I potentially build a messaging app on Garmin, or potentially a widget that display my phone notifications. Basically go around Garmin, and use the LTE connectivity to mirror my phone notifications.
    1. That’s a really detailed question!
      I can put you in contact with some CIQ developers if you email me privately.

      My guess would be that developer access to LTE is restricted.

    2. Based on how Garmin seems to do things with CIQ I would _strongly_, _very strongly_ doubt that you could make e.g. arbitrary web service calls over LTE to do home automation calls. Would be a great feature, I agree, but I find it highly unlikely they will allow it anytime soon.

  8. I am torn on if this is the watch for me or not, I like the LTE features but I feel something is missing for me to want to instantly buy the 945 LTE. I’m also in the market to replace a cracked Edge unit, any hope for a new Garmin Bike Computer in the near future?

    1. I did report a 1040…yep. totally wrong time from one but garmin leaked something with it on the list.
      if i wanted a good bet with some decent odds i’d go for that ‘quite’ soon. no intel other than one leak by garmin

  9. I definitely understand the disappointment with the lack of LTE features from many here, but this was just what I needed to upgrade from my 245. I got the watch today and am impressed with how easy it was to set up and also how much snappier the interface is than the 245. I really just wanted the safety LTE features. If this was JUST LTE without any hardware upgraded, I probably would have passed, but the smaller size and better internals plus oHR V4 got me (plus having a 20% discount helped).

    Thanks for all the leaks!

    1. where did you get the discount from? @AlanG also contacted me about this and it was surprising that there are discounts at launch
      Keep us updated with the v4 ohr accuracy!

      1. No specific discounts. There’s an app called “Miles” where it records distance traveled/runs/etc and gives you points. I’m not sure if it’s just US or what (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/miles-rewards-for-all-travel/id1393913947). You can even sign up and sometimes you get points for signing up. It was 250 points to get a 20% garmin discount, so that’s what I used. Also, Garmin is good about offering discounts for old hardware that has had issues. My Fenix 3 died and they offered me a replacement F3HR for $65 or 20% off for sending them the watch. I forgot about that unfortunately, so used my miles discount. But maybe if a 955 LTE comes out I can do a future upgrade with my F3 that I have in a drawer still…

        Also, HR seems to be quite good, better than my 245 in terms of reaction so far. I haven’t done any head-to-head comparison using DCR’s analyzer, but on my recent run where I did some uphill pickups, it seemed to respond more quickly. Also, I have noticed I don’t have to have the watch on my wrist as tightly as the 245 and it still reads well.

    2. I take it you’re in the US ? How did you get LTE enabled ? It would have to be direct from Garmin I suppose ?

  10. It’s available to buy in the UK from (edit: i couldn’t see it at that website) . I’m considering buying it as it’s a lot lighter than the 6sPro, has maps and the newer HR sensor. I don’t particularly need LTE but everything else is exactly what i want (size, weight, maps etc). Any thoughts?

      1. i think they are a dutch company. price says includes tax & Vat but you could end up paying over £100 more if it’s not done properly (the original link was to a Russian website??).

          1. I’d be careful of the loaded Maps region, especially if Garmin aren’t yet selling to the UK

  11. Good overview thank you, unfortunately I’m one of the (probably) many disappointed UK folk who were waiting for the FR955 to then see this land. The standard 945 for me is too big for the actual screen size but the 745 doesnt have the maps. The 945 LTE bridges the gap nicely but sadly not available in the UK. Also, not sure I’d need the LTE features as is so again a 955 and 955 LTE would have made more sense for me.
    I see th3 945 LTE as a good way to test the market for LTE and test how the assistance features will “work” in an expanded market.
    I guess my trusty FR645M will be with me for a few more miles now

    1. hi
      i can’t remember if i ever wrote anything on what the 955 would be. anyway…just for you

      1. it will likely have a larger usable screen area
      2. the leaks last year…AGES AGO…also included 955 and 955LTE. because the 945LTE is really NOT a 955 and just a testbed for LTE then the chance of a 955 this year is actually reasonably good
      3. think: a plastic, slightly smaller enduro…with maps but no solar.
      4. timing will be sep/oct or spring 2022

      1. Thanks, ticks the boxes that the 945 and 745 don’t for me just yet. Fenix 6S is an option but 2 year old tech and smaller watch is holding me back (OK similar size as my 645m but that is borderline too small)
        Fingers crossed for Sept/Oct

  12. Do you know if current Fenix 6 serie will get new sport features and new body battery algorithm like 945 Lte ?

    1. I would have thought it very likely.
      I wouldn’t be too worried, I’m not entirely convinced that body battery shows what we think it does even if it might feel right

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