The latest Garmin Forerunner 945 ain’t no joke. With its long list of features and a slim, good-looking design, this puppy is gorgeous, and it packs more features than its predecessor – the Forerunner 935 – but manages to keep the same compact packaging. What’s impressive is how Garmin managed to cram so many sensors inside the Forerunner 945’s slim casing. There’s an optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, pulse oximeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, as well as a thermometer – all in a 13.7mm thick watch case.
At 47mm, the Forerunner 945 looks large but it’s super light, thanks to its fiber-reinforced polymer casing. The watch has five buttons: three on the left and two on the right. The buttons stick out just enough that they are easy to press but don’t interfere with bending your wrist. The start/pause/stop button extends out a bit further than the other buttons.
The 22mm silicone band is perforated which makes it comfortable to wear even during a sweaty workout. It adjusts to accommodate a wide range of wrist sizes and has a secure fit. If you prefer something other than the stock silicone band, you can easily swap it out with another quick release band.
The Forerunner 945 has an always-on, 1.2-inch display, which is easy to read in broad daylight. It’s not the highest resolution, with just 240 x 240 pixels, but it’s more than sufficient to read the contents on the screen. There is a customizable watch face to tweak the look to your liking, and the same is true for the widgets and data screens. The lens material covering the display is Corning Gorilla Glass DX, which is scratch resistant and low glare.
There’s a lot you can do with the Garmin Forerunner 945, which means performance of the watch shouldn’t hold you back. It’s a multi-sport watch with support for more than 30 different indoor and outdoor sports including running, open water swimming, strength training, skiing, and more. If your sport isn’t listed, you can create a custom entry that’ll track the metrics that you choose.
When running, the Forerunner 945 records all the metrics you’ll need to analyze performance and then some. While running, there are six data screens with data fields that you can customize allowing you to see the precise metrics you need during your workout. These data screens are exercise specific so you’re able to add a map data screen for trail running, and a heart rate zone screen for interval running.
Garmin tweaked the hardware and metrics on the Forerunner 945 to make an already great fitness tracker, the Forerunner 935, even better. The Forerunner 945 has Garmin’s newest Elevate v3 heart rate sensor and a pulse oximeter that is used primarily for altitude acclimation.
The heart rate tracker takes measurements 24/7 so you can monitor your resting heart rate and use that data to find out if you are over-training. During a workout, the heat rate monitor is cranked up in intensity so it can capture small changes in your heart rate as you exercise. Optical heart rate monitors typically are not as accurate as chest straps, but Garmin continues to make small improvements in its sensors that narrow the gap.
The Forerunner 945 meets all the basics metrics like distance and pace, but that’s just the beginning. Garmin ramps it up with advanced features like Climb Pro that singles out the steep ascents on a trail run and Training Load focus, which breaks down your multi-sport workout load by category. A new feature in the Forerunner 945 is the new altitude and heat acclimatization, which takes into account the temperature and altitude when analyzing your performance. Your performance metrics like VO2 max wont take a huge hit when you ascend above 2,788ft or workout in temperatures above 71°F.
Even though the Forerunner 945 is really built for athletes, that doesn’t mean it only features advanced fitness metrics. Getting optimal performance is more than just improving cadence and pace, which is why you can track your sleep, monitor your stress and more with the Forerunner 945.
Like most modern fitness trackers, the Forerunner 945 provides advanced sleep cycle analysis breaking down your sleep into light, deep, REM and awake. The sleep tracking is accurate and consistently detects when you sleep, when you wake and when you stir in the night.
There’s more than just sleep tracking on the Forerunner 945. You also can turn on the pulse oximeter to measure your oxygen levels at night. During the day, the heart rate monitor tracks your pulse and uses the data to detect when your stress levels rise.
The Forerunner also uses heart rate, sleep and workout data to calculate your “body battery,” a metric that measures the amount of reserve energy you have stockpiled throughout the day.
Mapping and More
The Garmin Forerunner 945 has built-in color topo maps that show elevation data with summits, streets, and points of interest. You can access these maps before a workout to find a popular place to run. They also are accessible during a workout so you can see where you have traveled, save a location your want to remember and use TracBack to get back to the starting location. When you workout is over, you can load up your GPS track and view it on the map.
The Forerunner 945 is more than just a fitness watch. It’s also a smartwatch that connects to your phone and can receive notifications. You can configure which notification are sent to the watch which will vibrate to alert you. The text is very readable allowing you to see the beginning of any message or email. Beyond notifications, the interaction with the phone is limited. On Android, you can respond to notifications with preset messages, but on iOS you cannot. You also cannot make/receive phone calls or active a virtual assistant like Siri.
The Forerunner 945 frees you from your phone with the ability to add music to the watch. You only have to connect your headphones or earbuds once and the watch will connect automatically the next time you turn them on.
Not only did Garmin stuff the device full of sensors and software to monitor nearly every aspect of your run, but it also did so without adversely affecting battery life. The Forerunner 945 boasts of up to 2 weeks of battery life in smartwatch mode, up to 36 hours in GPS mode and up to 10 hours in GPS mode with music.
The Garmin Forerunner 945 costs $599, and is available for purchase now on Garmin’s website with a one-year warranty. It has everything you need to track your workout performance. From sleep to speed, the smartwatch measures it all and shares this data with Garmin Connect where you can analyze it to your heart’s content. If you are serious about your training and want to take it to the next level, the Forerunner 945 is the fitness watch for you.