Forerunner45 vs35

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Both the Garmin Forerunner 35 and 45 have seen some excellent discounts this year for Black Friday and now Cyber Monday.

I have previously recommended the Forerunner 35 as the perfect option for someone wanting to get into fitness, it offers superior features to other devices at this price point, including Fitbit.

Currently, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is discounted to £124.99 but is it worth it over £99.99 for the FR35?

Garmin Forerunner 45 GPS Running Watch, wwith running... Garmin Forerunner 45 GPS Running Watch, wwith running... No ratings yet £199.99

Design & Display

The design is definitely the biggest difference here. I’m included to say the FR35 with its square face is ugly and a bit childish looking, whereas the FR45 has adopted a circular face and looks more like a smartwatch.

The new design also brings a new display, it is now both larger and higher resolution and colour moving up from a 0.93-inch display running at 128 x 128 pixels to 1.04-inch running at 208 x 208 pixels.

You also get an additional physical button bringing it in line with many of the other Garmin watches.

The FR45 also comes in two sizes 39mm and 42mm this doesn’t have any effect on anything but the overall size, and the 42mm is 4g heavier.


The Forerunner 35 technically has a longer battery being rated for 9-days use in smartwatch mode vs 7. They have the same GPS mode rating of 13-hours. This drop-in battery is likely due to the massively improved display.

What both watches feature

A quick summary of what you get with both watches:

  • Built-in GPS (no reliance on phone for GPS)
  • Workout support for a few sports, with customizable pages/fields
  • 24×7 activity tracking, including sleep
  • Optical heart rate sensor in watch
  • Smartphone notifications
  • Live tracking when paired with a smartphone
  • Weather/calendar widgets
  • Vibration/Audio alerts
  • Uploading to Garmin Connect Training Log website via phone or USB
  • Broadcasting of your HR over ANT+ (from wrist to other devices)
  • Automatic sync to 3rd party sites like Strava, MyFitnessPal, TrainingPeaks and many more

So both watches far outclass devices from competing brands as far as sports tracking goes.

What does the Forerunner 45 have in addition to the Forerunner 35?

I have already covered the design, display and battery.

A quick summary of what else you get:

  • Added structured workout support
  • Added training plans support (including calendar/scheduled workouts)
  • Added Garmin Coach compatibility
  • Added Connect IQ Watch Face support
  • Added incident (crash/fall) detection
  • Added safety tracking/assistance
  • Added Pace/Speed alerts
  • Added stress widget/tracking
  • Added VO2Max calculation
  • Added 24×7 HR tracking widget/tracking
  • Added body battery widget/tracking
  • Added new Garmin Gen3 ELEVATE optical HR sensor
  • Added more sport modes

With the newer version, you can store up to 200 hours of activity data, and you can record data linked to a vast array of activities via the app, including:

  • Cardio
  • Elliptical training
  • Stair stepping
  • Yoga 
  • Interval training
  • Running
  • Treadmill running
  • Indoor track running
  • Cycling
  • Indoor biking

Garmin Coach is another new addition to the Forerunner 45 and provides adaptable, coach-driven training plans for a 5K, 10K or half-marathon.

The Forerunner 45 expands the Firstbeat features thanks to the new Elevate HRM with:

  • Fitness age
  • Body battery energy
  • All-day stress tracking

It is worth noting that the Forerunner 45 does not have the PulseOX functionality more expensive models like the Forerunner 245 or Fenix 6, but it is not that good anyway.

The Forerunner 45 also has two new safety features:  Incident Detection and Assistance. Incident detection uses sensors to detect when there has been an accident and sends a message with your current location to pre-selected emergency contacts. Assistance is a safety feature for when you are in an unsettling situation and need to send a message discreetly to your emergency contacts.

So is the Forerunner 45 worth it?

The Forerunner 35 is still an amazing buy, just because it is so cheap, however, I think the Forerunner 45 offers a significant upgrade and easily justifies the extra price.

The wide range of features the Forerunner 45 has is more than enough for the vast majority of sports users and it is a superb buy at this price.

Garmin Forerunner 45 GPS Running Watch, wwith running... Garmin Forerunner 45 GPS Running Watch, wwith running... No ratings yet £199.99

Garmin Forerunner 45 vs Forerunner 35

James Smythe


I think the Forerunner 45 easily justifies the extra cost, it is better looking for 24/7 wear and a great watch for multisport tracking


Last update on 2024-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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