The Garmin Forerunner 235 was launched back in 2015 which is positively ancient in the world of tech. I bought it as my first Garmin watch and mostly loved it, it had a lot of quirks that annoyed me, but it did the job I wanted at a great price. It is one of the last watches to be upgraded in Garmin's lineup and probably the one that has seen the most significant upgrade.

However, since its launch, the Vivoactive 3 has filled in the gaps being a more stylish alternative for people looking for an affordable multi-sports watch.

So if you have a FR235 or considering buying one, you maybe thinking is it worth getting the FR245? If you can justify the price difference, the TLDR will be yes it is well worth it.

Price Differences

£209.99
£299.99
in stock
21 new from £190.99
4 used from £215.00
Amazon.co.uk
Free shipping
£159.00
£199.99
in stock
26 new from £149.00
6 used from £134.48
Amazon.co.uk
Free shipping
Last updated on 15th June 2019 4:38 pm

The biggest factor in all my purchases is the price difference, the RRP of the new FR245 is only $50 more according to DC Rainmakers comparison list. Garmin still sells the FR235 for £199 but you can buy it from Amazon for £159. The lowest price it has been is £139.99 last month on Amazon.

However, the Garmin Vivoactive 3 is currently £160 while the music version is £199 on Amazon, and at the time of writing, you can get the music version (in sand colour) for just £149 from Argos. For many, this will be a better buy, though it lacks race predictor and recovery advisor, apart from them it is a superior watch in every way.

The none music version of the Garmin Forerunner 245 is £250 while the music version will set you back £300. While it is undeniably an amazing watch, based on the current Garmin Vivoactive 3 on Argos it is a hard buy. Is it really worth the £150 extra?

Vivoactive 3 Music for £149!

At the moment, with this price on Argos, this is the budget sports watch I'd go for, I am half tempted with it myself, to replace the Fenix 5S so I can use the music and NFC payments.

For many the NFC payments won't be important, and I have my phone, so not essential for me either, but it is a feature the Vivo has that the other two watches don't have.

However, it does lack a lot of the additional things the FR245 has which may sway you away from buying this. The FR245 has better battery life, audio alerts through the headphones whilst running, a newer GPS chip, and the new Garmin Elevate optical HR sensor with PulseOx and respiration rate. So ignoring the price, the FR245 is going to be a much better watch, I just don't think it is worth double the price.

What has been added since the Forerunner 235?

All the above features have been added, and the design has been completely revamped. The FR235 was not the best looking and was very plasticky, I found its plastic activity button far too easy to accidentally press which caused issues when asleep due to the vibration alerts it caused.

The new Forerunner design looks fantastic in my opinion, significantly better than the FR235 while also being at least as nice as the Vivoactive 3.

– Added Music (for Forerunner 245 Music)
– Added Garmin Running Dynamics with RD Pod or HRM-RUN/TRI straps
– Added PulseOx (pulse oximeter measurement/tracking)
– Added all-day stress tracking
– Added body battery functionality
– Added courses (basic breadcrumb trail navigation)
– Added Virtual Racer (racing a course with set timing)
– Added Virtual Partner
– Added Garmin Coach support (including adaptive training plans)
– Added pool swimming, including workouts and drill mode
– Added strength workouts support
– Added configurable lap banner
– Added WiFi (Forerunner 245 Music only)
– Added Bluetooth Smart sensor support
– Added Garmin Varia radar support (cycling focused)
– Added bike light sensor support
– Added Galileo GPS support
– Added Incident Detection (if you crash your bike it notifies someone)
– Added Safety/Tracking Assistance (you can press button to send help alert to friends/family)
– Added temperature and altitude acclimation behind scenes (used for VO2Max metrics, but not shown as widget like on FR945/MARQ)
– Added new Garmin ELEVATE optical HR sensor (V3, same as MARQ/FR945)
– Added UltraTrac mode for 24hr+ GPS battery life (really long workouts, exact spec TBA)
– Revamped training load features, primarily training effect, status, and load
– Revamped race predictor to be a bit more strict on predictions (more than just VO2Max lookup charts now)
– Increase configurability of data fields, new layouts/pages
– Increased display resolution from 215px to 240px
– Increased GPS battery life to 24 hours in regular GPS mode (or 6hrs with GPS+Music),
– Decreased 24×7 watch battery life from 9 days to 7 days

Comparison features between Forerunner 245, 235 and Vivoactive 3 Music.

Table generated via DC Rainmaker compariosn tool

FUNCTION/FEATUREGARMIN FORERUNNER 245/245 MUSICGARMIN FORERUNNER 235GARMIN VIVOACTIVE 3 MUSIC
LAUNCH PRICE$299/$349$249$279
PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT DATEAPR 30TH, 2019OCT 21ST, 2015JUNE 13TH, 2018
GPS RECORDING FUNCTIONALITYYESYESYES
DATA TRANSFERUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART, WIFI (ONLY MUSIC HAS WIFI)USB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB, BLUETOOTH SMART
WATERPROOFING50 METERS50 METERS50 METERS
BATTERY LIFE (GPS)UP TO 24HRS REGULAR GPS, 24HRS+ FOR ULTRATRACUP TO 16 HOURSUP TO 13 HOURS GPS
RECORDING INTERVAL1-SECOND, SMART, ULTRATRAC1-SECOND & SMART1S OR SMART RECORDING
SATELLITE PRE-LOADING VIA COMPUTERYESYESYES
QUICK SATELLITE RECEPTIONGREATGREATGREAT
ALERTSVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALVIBRATE/SOUND/VISUALVIBRATE/VISUAL
BACKLIGHT GREATNESSGOODGOODGREAT
ABILITY TO DOWNLOAD CUSTOM APPS TO UNIT/DEVICEYESYESYES
ACTS AS DAILY ACTIVITY MONITOR (STEPS, ETC...)YESYESYES
CAN CONTROL PHONE MUSICYESYESYES
HAS MUSIC STORAGE AND PLAYBACKYES (MUSIC VERSION)NOYES
STREAMING SERVICESSPOTIFY, DEEZER, PANDORADEEZER, IHEARTRADIO, SPOTIFY (SOON)
CONTACTLESS-NFC PAYMENTSNOYES
BLUETOOTH LEGACY (PRE-4.0) TO PHONENONONO
BLUETOOTH SMART (4.0+) TO PHONE UPLOADINGYESYESYES
PHONE NOTIFICATIONS TO UNIT (I.E. TEXTS/CALLS/ETC...)YESYESYES
LIVE TRACKING (STREAMING LOCATION TO WEBSITE)YESYESYES
GROUP TRACKINGNONO
EMERGENCY/SOS MESSAGE NOTIFICATION (FROM WATCH TO CONTACTS)YES (VIA PHONE)NONO
BUILT-IN CELLULAR CHIP (NO PHONE REQUIRED)NONONO
DESIGNED FOR CYCLINGYESYESYES
POWER METER CAPABLEWITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)WITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS (BUT CANNOT RECORD DATA)WITH SOME CONNECT IQ APPS
SPEED/CADENCE SENSOR CAPABLEYESYESYES
STRAVA SEGMENTS LIVE ON DEVICENONONO
CRASH DETECTIONYESNO
DESIGNED FOR RUNNINGYESYESYES
FOOTPOD CAPABLE (FOR TREADMILLS)YES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)YES (ALSO HAS INTERNAL ACCELEROMETER)YES
RUNNING DYNAMICS (VERTICAL OSCILLATION, GROUND CONTACT TIME, ETC...)YES (WITH ACCESSORY)NONO
RUNNING POWERNONO
VO2MAX ESTIMATIONYESYESYES
RACE PREDICTORYESYESNO
RECOVERY ADVISORYESYESNO
RUN/WALK MODEYESYESYES
DESIGNED FOR SWIMMINGYESNO (PROTECTED THOUGH JUST FINE)YES
OPENWATER SWIMMING MODENON/ANO
LAP/INDOOR DISTANCE TRACKINGYESN/AYES
RECORD HR UNDERWATERNON/ANO
OPENWATER METRICS (STROKE/ETC.)N/AN/ANO
INDOOR METRICS (STROKE/ETC.)YESN/AYES
INDOOR DRILL MODEYESN/ANO
INDOOR AUTO-PAUSE FEATURENON/ANO
CHANGE POOL SIZEYESN/AYES
INDOOR MIN/MAX POOL LENGTHSN/A17M/18Y TO 150Y/M
ABILITY TO CUSTOMIZE DATA FIELDSYESN/AYES
CAN CHANGE YARDS TO METERSYESN/AYES
CAPTURES PER LENGTH DATA - INDOORSYESN/AYES
INDOOR ALERTSN/AYES
CREATE/FOLLOW CUSTOM WORKOUTSYESYESYES
ON-UNIT INTERVAL FEATUREYESYESSORTA (2 PRELOADED ONES, BUT NO CUSTOMIZATION)
TRAINING CALENDAR FUNCTIONALITYYESYESYES
AUTO START/STOPYESYESYES
VIRTUAL PARTNER FEATUREYESNONO
VIRTUAL RACER FEATUREYESNONO
RECORDS PR'S - PERSONAL RECORDS (DIFF THAN HISTORY)YESYESYES
DAY TO DAY WATCH ABILITYYESYESYES
HUNTING/FISHING/OCEAN DATANONONO
TIDAL TABLES (TIDE INFORMATION)NONONO
JUMPMASTER MODE (PARACHUTING)NONONO
GEOCACHINGNONONO
WEATHER DISPLAY (LIVE DATA)YESYESYES
FOLLOW GPS TRACK (COURSES/WAYPOINTS)YESNONO (BUT SOME 3RD PARTY APPS CAN)
MARKERS/WAYPOINT DIRECTIONNONOYES (TO PRE-SAVED SPOTS)
ROUTABLE/VISUAL MAPS (LIKE CAR GPS)NONONO
BACK TO STARTYESYESYES
IMPROMPTU ROUND TRIP ROUTE CREATIONNONONO
DOWNLOAD COURSES/ROUTES FROM PHONE TO UNITYESNONO
ALTIMETER TYPEGPSGPSBAROMETRIC
COMPASS TYPEN/AN/AMAGNETIC
OPTICAL HEART RATE SENSOR INTERNALLYYESYESYES
PULSE OXIMETRY (AKA PULSE OX)YESNO
HEART RATE STRAP COMPATIBLEYESYESYES
ANT+ HEART RATE STRAP CAPABLEYESYESYES
ANT+ SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLEYESYESYES
ANT+ FOOTPOD CAPABLEYESYESYES
ANT+ POWER METER CAPABLENONONO
ANT+ WEIGHT SCALE CAPABLENONONO
ANT+ FITNESS EQUIPMENT (GYM)NONONO
ANT+ LIGHTING CONTROLYESNOYES
ANT+ BIKE RADAR INTEGRATIONYESNONO
ANT+ TRAINER CONTROL (FE-C)NONONO
ANT+ REMOTE CONTROLYES FOR GARMIN VIRBYES FOR GARMIN VIRBNO (YES FOR VIRB CAMERA CONTROL)
ANT+ EBIKE COMPATIBILITYNONONO
ANT+ MUSCLE OXYGEN (I.E. MOXY/BSX)YESYESNO
ANT+ GEAR SHIFTING (I.E. SRAM ETAP)NONONO
SHIMANO DI2 SHIFTINGNONONO
BLUETOOTH SMART HR STRAP CAPABLEYESNOYES
BLUETOOTH SMART SPEED/CADENCE CAPABLEYESNOYES
BLUETOOTH SMART FOOTPOD CAPABLEYESNOYES
BLUETOOTH SMART POWER METER CAPABLENONONO
TEMP RECORDING (INTERNAL SENSOR)NONONO
TEMP RECORDING (EXTERNAL SENSOR)YES (TEMPE)YES (TEMPE)YES
COMPATIBLE WITH FIRSTBEAT HR TOOLS-TBD-