The Garmin Forerunner 945 & 245 has finally gone official. The more expensive FR945 is a slightly more affordable version of the Fenix 5 Plus but in a plastic body and a few extra bells and whistles.

While the Garmin Forerunner 245 and 245 Music will be popular entry-level sports watches offering tracking for few sports than the 945 but being a big upgrade from the 235.

Garmin Forerunner 945

The 945 brings the model up to date with all the other models with music and NFC functionality as well as SPo2 readings.

The is currently available for pre-order via Garmin and Clever Training for £519.99.

A quick overview of the FR945 features includes:

  • Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music
  • Sync music from select premium streaming services, when paired with a compatible smartphone (may require premium subscription), or store up to 1,000 songs on your watch, and connect with headphones (sold separately), enabled with BLUETOOTH®technology for phone-free listening
  • Performance monitoring features include VO2 max and training status with adjustments for heat, altitude acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects
  • Garmin Pay™ contactless payment solution (available for supported cards from participating banks) lets you make convenient payments with your watch so you can leave your cash and cards at home
  • Full-color, onboard maps guide you on your run so you never get lost during your workout
  • Safety and tracking features include incident detection (during select activities) which sends your real-time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone
  • Battery life: up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music or up to 60 hours in UltraTrac™ mode

And the specific differences between the FR935 and the FR945 include:

  • Added Music Storage/Playback via Bluetooth headphones, including Spotify
  • Added onboard detailed routable maps
  • Added contactless/NFC payments
  • Added Pulse Ox (pulse oximeter data)
  • Added Respiration Rate (post-activity, also as a data field)
  • Added new Garmin ELEVATE optical HR sensor
  • Added training load focus stats
  • Added deeper training effect details/metrics
  • Added stress tracking
  • Added body battery functionality
  • Added heat acclimation (for any workouts in temps over 71°F/21.6°C)
  • Added altitude acclimation
  • Added Incident Detection
  • Added respiration rate (with a chest strap)
  • Added Safety/Tracking Assistance (you can press button to send help alert to friends/family)
  • Added ClimbPro for automated climb notifications on running/cycling/hiking/XC skiing activities
  • Revamped race predictor to be a bit more strict on predictions (more than just VO2Max lookup charts now)
  • Increases battery life to 36 hours in GPS mode (and 60 hours in UltraTrac mode)
  • VO2Max now compensates for heat
  • Training Status now compensates for heat
  • Redesigned user interface, especially for post workout stats

It is one of the most feature-rich multi-sports watches on the market and it does this while having a £70 lower RRP than the Fenix 5 Plus. That being said, if a world dominated by Amazon and its discount prices, you can now get the 5 Plus for just £474.99.

Garmin Forerunner 235 & 235 Music

The FR235 upgrade is an interesting one, in order to differentiate it from he Vivoactive 3 they have taken features from watches that sit above it.

This is currently available for pre-order via Garmin and Clever Training for £249.99 for the none music version and £299.99 for music.

While this model does not have NFC, it has become a well rounded multisport watch for people on a budget. There are now run dynamics with the appropriate pod or strap. Breadcrumb navigation, swimming and strength workouts and Bluetooth sensor support.

An overview of the features includes:

Both Versions:

  • GPS running smartwatch with advanced training features
  • Evaluates your current training status to indicate if you’re under-training or overdoing it; offers additional performance monitoring features
  • Get free adaptive training plans from Garmin Coach, or create your own custom workouts on our Garmin Connect™ online fitness community
  • Provides advanced running dynamics, including ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio and more(When used with Running Dynamics Pod or HRM-Run™ or HRM-Tri™monitors (sold separately))
  • Safety and tracking features include incident detection (during select activities) which sends your real-time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone
  • Customize with free watch faces, apps and more from our Connect IQ™ store
  • Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; up to 24 hours in GPS mode

Music Edition:

  • GPS running smartwatch with music advanced training features
  • Sync with music streaming services, such as Spotify®, to easily store and play your favourite songs right from your watch
  • Provides advanced running dynamics, including ground contact time balance, stride length, vertical ratio and more(When used with Running Dynamics Pod or HRM-Run™or HRM-Tri™monitors (sold separately))
  • Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music

Specific upgrades from the previous generation includes:

  • 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 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

As always DCRainmaiker has had hands-on time with both the FR945 and FR245 so you can get a detailed review there