Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music black review


Is GPS accurate in Garmin Forerunner 945? GPS accuracy proved to be excellent on our three-mile remote test track — this watch only varied +/- 0.01 miles.  While GPS accuracy is trustworthy on the 945, the heart rate and blood oxygen sensors could still use a bit of work. That said, they are just as good as most optical sensors currently on the market. Get details in Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music black review.

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The Forerunner 945 also has offline maps and NFC, acquires GPS faster and provides sunrise/sunset time. 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. What is the best price of Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music black?

Pros & Cons


  • Offline music
  • Advanced training metrics
  • Activity/sleep tracking
  • Full-color mapping
  • Garmin Pay & onboard music
  • Long battery life
  • Quick recharge
  • Seamless syncing with app
  • Accurate sensors


  • Rugged design
  • Iffy swim tracking


  • 22mm ichangeable straps
  • Waterproof to 50 metres
  • Physical size: 47 x 47 x 13.7 mm
  • Colour display
  • Display size: 1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter
  • Display resolution: 240 x 240 pixels
  • Display type: sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
  • Weight: 50 g
  • Battery life:
    • Smartwatch mode: up to 2 weeks
    • GPS mode with music: up to 10 hours
    • GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours
  • Water rating: 5 ATM
  • Memory/history: 200 hours of activity data
  • Sensors:
    • GPS
    • Galileo
    • Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor
    • Barometric altimeter
    • Compass
    • Gyroscope
    • Accelerometer
    • Thermometer
    • Pulse Ox Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor

Key features

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Compass
  • Thermometer
  • Garmin Pay
  • Downloadable Music
  • Alarms
  • Several activity profiles
  • Pedometer and calories burned
  • Barometer
  • Altimeter
  • Sunrise/Sunset information
  • Breadcrumb navigation + topo maps
  • Course creation and upload options
  • Customizable watch faces

Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running Price

Thankfully, it can sometimes be found at a reduced price from some retailers. In the US for example it was recently available for $490. That would put it at roughly $100 less than the Garmin Fenix 6 and $100 more than the Garmin Forerunner 935.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 launched in April 2019 for $599.99/£519.99/AU$949. That’s a lot of money for a sports watch, but you’re paying for the whole gamut of Garmin features here, all wrapped up in a powerful GPS watch.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music black review


The build quality is sublime. it is actually a combination of a ‘fibre-reinforced polymer’ case and Corning Gorilla Glass DX lens. The silicone strap, which is hinged at the watch face, is perfectly flexible and very comfortable. It’s designed to a fit wrists with a circumference of 130-220 mm. 


It only comes in one case size (47 x 47 x 13.7mm) and two colors (black with a black strap, or black with a blue strap). The 945 sticks to a more Garmin-traditional, rugged design. 


And at 50g the Forerunner 945 is light enough, and overall not uncomfortable to wear. 

Buttons & Control

You’ve got five buttons around the screen, three on the left and two on the right, all necessary for navigating the UI and each giving a satisfying click. There’s no touchscreen here, and having spent too much time dragging sweaty fingers across them on other watches, we’re fine with Garmin’s decision to ditch the touchscreen altogether. 


Garmin uses a transflective display technology for that 1.2-inch screen, which has the effect of making it more visible in sunlight. 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’s a backlight too, which can be turned on with a push of the top-left button, or automatically with a turn of the wrist, though by default that’s only set for workouts

Heart rate

Heart rate accuracy is also good in the realm of optical heart rate sensors. The sensor on the 945 is raised slightly from the bezel with a good connection on most wrists. It’s relatively flat and doesn’t press into the skin either. When it flashes green, you know it’s measuring heart rate. It had amazing accuracy during our sitting tests with a variation from the actual heart rate of just 0 – 4 bpm.


It’s loaded with everything you’d want in a fully-featured GPS watch, including access to Garmin’s robust ecosystem of app integrations, challenges, downloadable workouts, and more. GPS tracking, full navigational capabilities, layered and preloaded maps, course creation, Garmin Pay, and downloadable music. 

Training progress

the Training Status and Training Effect features will tell you how productive your workouts are, the effect they’re having. Performance Condition, meanwhile, works during an activity and takes your VO2 max score as its baseline and tells you how your current workout compares. While out running the other day, the 945 alerted us that we were performing at a -3, which was a little discouraging, especially as we’d only made it 1km into our route at the time.


It has added metrics on heat and altitude acclimation and training load focus. Heat and altitude are now used in determining the difficulty of a run, as rising temperatures and altitude both put additional strain on the body. This allows the statistics on effort to be accurately adjusted versus the influence of other factors.  

Sleep tracking

Garmin’s sleep tracking features have improved in the last year or so, and having a PulseOx sensor on the 945 could, in the future, yield interesting possibilities for identifying problems like sleep apnea. For now, all you get is your night’s rest broken down into light, deep and REM sleep, along with a graph of your movement.

Offline Music

This was my favorite feature of the Forerunner 945 compared with the older model, as I love to run with music but don’t like to carry my phone with me. If you have a Deezer or Spotify subscription, you can download playlists to the 945 and play them, without a phone present. 

Battery life & charging – Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running

The USB charging cable is 0.5m. Garmin sell spare 0.5m and 1m cables. Regular GPS (with smartwatch mode) is purported to last 36 hours without music and 10 hours with music. We measured charging time to be only 75 minutes. With these metrics in mind, the measured amount of battery life we got was a little lower than these claims — especially with use over time.


One more thing you can leave at home: your wallet. The Forerunner 945 is one of the few Garmin smartwatches that supports mobile payments. (The others are the Vivoactive, 600- and the Fenix series.) Garmin Pay works at places where Apple Pay and Google Pay are accepted

Garmin IQ app – Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music black

For as much as the Forerunner 945 can do, the out-of-box setup is surprisingly easy. It comes partially charged, and getting started is a matter of downloading the Garmin Connect app, answering a few basic questions, and pairing it with the watch, all of which take less than 10 minutes.

The only part of the setup that’s not intuitive is customizing the data fields within a particular activity like running, which was my first priority. The pre-set displays were fine, but I wanted some metrics (such as distance, pace, and average pace) to be featured more prominently than others. YouTube did me right, as usual, and after just a few minutes of watching and tinkering, my running data fields were exactly how I like them.

There’s also the option of downloading entirely new watch faces and activity fields through a second app (Connect IQ Store), which the data junkies out there will surely love. Personally, though, I don’t want more apps than I absolutely need, and most of the customized options I looked at had too much going on for my taste anyways.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music black customer review

Great Watch With A Ton Of Features

I’m someone how has transitioned from a FitBit Ionic and by 1000% this is sooooo much better. The features on this are endless and it took me a little while to get adjusted to how to operate it (I still struggle from time to time…lol). I got this model because I wanted the option to program and show race courses in addition to the pace pro strategies.

I didn’t need the top of the line Phoenix model which has the same features but a little extra pizazz which I didn’t really need. The turn by turn directions are a wonder. I was in Florida on vacation and needed to run 13 miles. I had Garmin design me a random course around where I was staying to get me 13 miles. It found a looped course literally steps from my door and kept me on the sidewalk for 95% of the time avoiding having to run on the major streets.

The battery life is fairly good. It may drain a lot on me because I run usually 6 days a week and I know GPS drains the battery. I’ve also used it for weightlifting, swimming and cycling and all appear to be fairly accurate with relation to stroke and distance/speed. I also think its pretty cool how it can guess what type of weightlifting exercise you are doing. I’d say its 50% accurate at predicting the exercise but that is to be expected.

The only slight drawback to this watch is that the wrist based heart rate sensor is pretty inaccurate as I’ve read most wrist based HR is. I am normally a sub 20 minute 5K runner and on days where I would run easy paces 10 minutes or slower, it would say my heart rate was in the 180s although I felt completely fine and like I was walking. Getting a heart rate chest strap solved this issue.

I have not had an opportunity to fully use all the features and really explore what all this watch has to offer but as of right now I’m 100% fine with what I have. If you’re looking for a more advanced multisport watch but not trying to shell out a crazy amount of money, this is the way to go.

bY KingDad AT Best Buy

Garmin Forerunner 945 Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music black alternative

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

  • Highly detailed maps
  • Up to 100 hours of run tracking
  • Maps interface a little clunky

The Fenix has always been a rugged, indestructible timepiece for the backcountry that we’ve used for trail running and, well, everyday running as well. The biggest reason is because of the watch’s never-ending battery—it’ll last 15 hours with GPS and music, or you can adjust settings to stretch it to 120 hours of run tracking.

We find that we have to charge it only about once a week with regular use. It also has one of the biggest screens you’ll find on a GPS running watch, one that’s capable of showing you up to seven different metrics on a single display. A cool new feature of the 6 is PacePro, which replaces your old printed pace bands for race day.

As a digital tool, the watch factors hills into each split, so you can better manage your energy on a rolling course—and you can customize the strategy; we like shooting for a negative split and running the uphill sections a little harder. But the feature that we use the most is the watch’s navigation. It includes a map complete with street names.

Zooming and panning is doable, if clunky, but it helps keep me from getting lost when navigating unfamiliar cities. I also use it to plot out courses in advance, and the watch gives me turn-by-turn directions on the run so I get where I’m going without any unnecessary detours.

Editor’s recommendations

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