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Garmin Forerunner 945 Multisport Watch In-Depth Review


Ahh yes, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived: The plastic Fenix 5 Plus. Except, wait…not really. Yes, it has everything the Fenix 5 Plus does, but it actually has more. It’s got special sauce both from a hardware and a software standpoint. Which makes sense, it’s almost a year later since the Fenix 5 Plus came out.

Sure, the new FR945 gains things like onboard music storage/playback (including Spotify), as well as contactless payments and SPo2 readings. All staples of more recent Garmin wearables. But it goes beyond those too. It also takes in all of the new features of the $1,500 Garmin MARQ watches, including temperature and altitude acclimation as well as more detailed training load/focus metrics. And while they were at it, it joins almost every other 2019 Garmin device in adopting the Sony GPS chipsets – which in turn gives it longer battery life (though, not without some downsides I’ll dive into).

Now this wasn’t the only device released today. In fact, Garmin released two other series: The Forerunner 245/245 Music and the Forerunner 45/45S, which are at lower price points. Atop that, Garmin also announced new female health tracking – and it’s actually incredibly impressive how much detail there is in it, so check back for a post on that coming up a bit later today.

In the case of all these devices, I’ve got standard media loaner units that’ll go back shortly. After which I’ll go out and get my own via normal retail channels. Just the way I roll. If you found this review useful, you can help support the site via the links at the bottom. With that, let’s begin!

What’s new:


There’s no better place to start than with a complete list of what’s new/changed from the previous edition. In this case, I’ve got a complete run-through video where I dive into all these features. Or well, most of them anyways. If I dove into everything it’d be Planet Earth length.

But, if you want a consolidated text-driven list, then below will suit your fancy. I’ve put together this list using the Forerunner 935 as my baseline for whether something has changed. Obviously, with the Fenix 5 Plus series coming out half-way through the previous two years, a lot of these features first appeared there. Still, here goes:

– Added Music Storage/Playback via Bluetooth headphones, including Spotify
– Added onboard detailed routable maps for the region you bought it in, with heatmap data in it
– 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 (V3, same as MARQ/FR245)
– 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 (for any time or workouts spent above 850m/2,788ft)
– Added Incident Detection (if you crash your bike it notifies someone)
– 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 (previously it didn’t)
– Training Status now compensates for heat (previously it didn’t)
– Redesigned a bunch of the user interface, especially for post workout stats

Here’s a couple of quick things that don’t change, just in case you’re curious:

– It has virtually identical shell/case as FR935 did. Trick to telling them apart is the slight difference in button color (FR935 was silver, FR945 is dark grey)
– Uses same straps/bands as FR935 did, so all bands are interchangeable

Below, you can see the two units side by side and the slight differences in the button color (FR945 is on the bottom):


Next, if you’re looking at the difference between the Forerunner 945 versus the Forerunner 245, I highlight those in my FR245 video. But the overarching thing is that the FR945 is a multisport/triathlon watch at its core, whereas the FR245 is focused on runners. The FR945 does everything the FR245 does and craptons more, whereas the FR245 essentially takes the majority of the running-specific features and leaves the rest. Further, the FR245 doesn’t necessarily show the same level of detail as the FR945, even if it’s actually recording it. For example, you don’t get the training load focus screens or altitude/temp compensation screens on the FR245 display, but behind the scenes it’s actually doing that math for other metrics (and in case you sync it to something like an Edge 530/830). Make sense? Again, see that review for all the nuanced details.

And finally, as to whether or not the Fenix 5 Plus will get any of the new training load/acclimation metrics stuffs, Garmin says nope. Well, technically they said ‘No’, but either way, the resultant is the same: Nuttin.

The Basics:


As with most past Garmin watches, if you’re familiar with other Garmin wearables in the last few years, then you’ll find most of the things in this section repetitive. That’s even more so true if you’ve got a Fenix 5 Plus, in which case almost everything is identical in the basics section (the new stuff comes in under sport usage). Still, let’s get cookin!

To begin, we’ve got the watch face. You’ll see a slightly revamped default watch face showing some key stats (above). But everything on that is customizable, including every bit of data. You can either customize it using built-in watch faces, or you can make your own (or download 3rd party ones), using the Connect IQ App Store. You can even put your own face on it, if you wanted to.

Garmin-FR945-CustomizeFields Garmin-FR945-ChooseWatchFaces

From an activity tracking perspective the FR945 captures all the usual suspects. So you’ve got steps, stairs, sleep, and heart rate (plus Pulse Ox, but more on that in a moment). You can iterate through these in a bunch of widgets, of which most are redesigned on the FR945 compared to the Fenix 5 or FR935. And again, you can also download other widgets/apps to display more data. Many Forerunner 935 users will use custom watch faces that show extraordinary amounts of training/related metrics on them. Here’s a small gallery of the default/stock widgets:

All of this general activity tracking data is then automatically transmitted to Garmin Connect via your smartphone (Garmin Connect Mobile) app. Once on the Garmin Connect Mobile you can see the stats there as well as on the Garmin Connect website. Further yet, some 3rd party sites and healthcare providers can also receive this data if you’ve authorized them to.

2019-04-29 13.59.14 2019-04-29 13.59.02 2019-04-29 13.59.07

The unit will further track sleep data automatically, though, no Garmin unit tracks naps correctly. Still, for regular sleep it’ll figure that out automatically, including the exact time you fall asleep (be it at 11PM or if working graveyard shifts – 9AM).

2019-04-29 14.35.24 2019-04-29 14.35.50 2019-04-29 14.36.58

The FR945 includes a new optical heart rate sensor package, previously rolled out on the Garmin MARQ watches last month. The most notable thing about this is that it includes the new SPo2 measurement sensor on it, as well as the usual 24×7 (recording at 1-second intervals. This is the green light you see on the back of the unit. Whereas the red light is for the SpO2 sensor:


From a continuous heart rate standpoint, it tracks this constantly and then uploads it into Garmin Connect mobile as well. I use resting HR as a great indicator of when you’re over-trained, fatigued, or when sickness is on the way. I’ve discussed how many people are tracking resting HR and 24×7 HR data to figure out all sorts of things here.

2019-04-29 14.38.28 2019-04-29 14.38.42

In general I don’t really have any issues with the accuracy of the 24×7 HR data. It’s pretty much within a few BPM of any other devices I’ve used, including some dedicated sensors. We’ll talk more about the workout optical HR data later on though, as that’s in a different category (and typically vendors significantly bump up the optical sensor light/power draw during a workout versus in 24×7 mode).

With the addition of Pulse OX last summer to the Fenix 5X Plus, we’ve seen Garmin add it to numerous other wearables. The idea behind pulse oximetry tracking is mostly around high altitude tracking. Though it’s often used in hospitals on most patients as well. Still, the focus here is high altitude tracking for mountain climbing and such. Practically speaking for those of us at sea level, it’s mostly a useless stat. Again, remember Pulse OX is the red light that comes on next to the green lights on the back of the unit, and typically tracks in 15-minute increments if enabled, and is overlaid against your altitude:

Garmin-FR945-PulseOx-24hr-Stats Garmin-FR945-PulseOx-7Day-Stats

The challenge here with Pulse Ox is really around accuracy. In the case of a typical medical grade pulse oximetry device, that medical certification is done with the person sitting in a chair very still. The FDA acceptable tolerances are actually surprisingly low (as in, easy), at least compared to what I’d consider acceptable even for sport tracking of heart rate accuracy for example. So you take technology that’s really designed to be done when very still and try to apply it to everyday life and you get oddities. That manifests itself in the readings you get. You’ll see below that my readings are a bit all over the place. For someone like me at exactly sea level, I should be in the 98%+ range almost the entire time.

2019-04-29 14.38.59 2019-04-29 14.39.03

The challenge is that this is taking readings all day long (not by default, but because I enabled it that way), and some of those are inaccurate. Ideally this technology would be leveraged on the side of a mountain and manually triggered to determine your current state. In that scenario – it’s likely to produce just as good results as any other unit on the market, medical grade or otherwise. Running around town at the grocery store? A bit less so.

Shifting slightly to some non-sports stuff, the Forerunner 945 supports smartphone notifications like all previous Garmin watches. You’ll see the notifications per however you’ve configured them on your smartphone via the normal phone notification center, and then they show up on the unit itself. You can then open up a given notification to get more detail about it (such as a longer text message):

Garmin-FR945-SmartphoneNotifications Garmin-FR945-SmartphoneNotifications-Detail

The FR945 also supports the new smartphone notification privacy mode, which means the content of notifications won’t be displayed unless you turn your wrist towards yourself, or press a button. This is off by default, but can be enabled in the settings. The goal here being that coworkers at a conference table can’t see your sexts come in.

At this point we’ve gone through all the basics, but if you’re looking for a bit of a user interface tour, I’ve put together this simple video that just walks through the menus. It’s long, and probably boring. But if you’re into kinky user interface menus…this video is your jam:

With that, let’s shift over to sport specific metrics, usage, and related goodness.

Sport Usage:


The Forerunner 945 is aimed squarely at the multisport athlete. Which means that its goal is to be a performance watch above everything else. Whether you run, ride, or swim – or do any of the umpteen million other sports that the unit supports, the goal is to give you a crapton of metrics about that sport.

Some sports have super detailed metrics, whereas others are a bit more bland. For example the detail and focus on running and cycling is strong. But if you go to kayaking or rowing, you’ll get overall metrics just fine, but not things like paddling rates. So again, it varies. In any case, here’s the complete sporting listing:

Trail Run, Run, Hike, Bike, Bike Indoor, Open Water Swim, Triathlon, Golf, Navigate, Track Me, Map, Multisport, Treadmill, Indoor Track, Climb, MTB, Pool Swim, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, SUP, Row, Row Indoor, TruSwing (Golf related), Project Waypoint, Walk, SwimRun, Kayak, Strength, Cardio, Yoga, Floor Climb, Elliptical, Stair Stepper, Clocks, Other [Custom]

After you’ve pondered which sport you’re gonna do, you’ll go ahead and tap the upper right button, which opens up the sport menu. By default it’ll show you the last sport you did, and will automatically start looking for sensors and GPS (if an outdoors sport). You can press up/down to change through to other sports:


Speaking of sensors, the FR945 supports all the same sensors as the Fenix 5 series and the FR935 did, that includes Bluetooth Smart sensors as well.  There’s no additional/new sensor types support here. Here’s the full listing of sensor types it supports:

Headphones (Bluetooth), External Heart Rate (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Speed/Cadence (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Cycling Power Meters (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), Footpods (ANT+/Bluetooth Smart), VIRB Action Camera (ANT+), Tempe temperature sensor (ANT+), Shimano Di2 (private-ANT), Cycling Gear Shifting (ANT+), Cycling Lights (ANT+), Cycling Radar (ANT+), Extended Display (ANT+), RD Pod (ANT+), Muscle O2 (ANT+), Garmin inReach (ANT+).

So basically, anything and everything you could want. Also, it supports Garmin’s ‘Xero’ lineup of range finders/sights.  The only notable exception to the list above is cycling ANT+ FE-C trainers, which are not connectable here (but are using Garmin’s Edge devices).

You can save/connect multiple sensors of the same type.  For example, if you have multiple bikes, each with their own cadence sensors on them, it’ll save those and automatically connect to them when those sensors turn on.  Additionally, via data fields and apps, companies can create their own sensor types.  We’ve seen companies create tire pressure sensors and aero sensors.


Note that sensors are across the entire device. So you define sensors and all activity profiles/sports can use them. Speaking of those sports above, each one is customizable with unique data pages/metrics, and settings.  All of these screens are customizable, and you can create/add new pages/screens as you see fit (a crapton of them, more than I could create). There are also stock screens with certain data types, including Virtual Partner, Compass, Elevation, Map, and Music controls.

However, custom data pages can have up to four data fields on them, in a variety of patterns.  You can choose the pattern and then choose the individual data fields to add to those pages. Here’s a gallery of different page looks:

Like the Fenix 5 series, there’s nothing on the market that can match the customization of data fields/metrics as the higher end Garmin series. Though, I do really wish we could see more data fields on a single page, like Suunto supports on certain watches in certain configurations. It’s also in these settings that you can configure things like auto lap, auto scroll, and numerous other ‘auto’ things.

Now that we’ve spent half our life setting things up (in reality, you don’t need to do anything above I noted, you can just press start and go), it’s time to begin our workout. Just press the start button again and it’ll start recording and displaying your metrics. Here’s a quick look at what some of those metrics look like in yet another gallery. It’s like the Louvre around here with all these galleries:

In terms of things like pace stability, I’ve had no issues with that. In fact, I think I’ve seen seen slightly more stable paces – like this morning at the track doing a track workout. Again, we’ll talk about accuracy of GPS a bit later. I’ve also had zero connectivity issues with sensors, be it power meters, heart rate sensors, or the Garmin RD-Pod (for Running Dynamics).

Once you’ve completed your workout (by pressing stop, then save) you’re going to see the new post-workout screens. These start by showing a quick outline of your route if outdoors, and some high-level stats. It’s divided up into a rotating upper portion that lists Summary, Training Effect, VO2Max & Recovery, and Training Status. Then lower down you’ll get more detailed stats about different areas, such as laps or a map or training effect. For fun, below is the GPS track from my track workout last week, almost looks like an icon, huh?


And this is where we start to get to some of the newness in terms of training load related bits. The first is the new Training Effect labels and details. While Training Effect has been around a long time on Garmin devices, there’s now additional information about the exact training benefit of each workout. For example, my track workout shows the load at the bottom (303), as well as the primary benefit up top (Anaerobic) in purple. Down below it also breaks out the exact aerobic and anaerobic benefits:


If I go down one button press, I then get the detail for both aerobic and anaerobic, showing me exactly what it’s benefiting – in this case, it’s ‘Impacting Tempo’, which is logical given these were longer 800m intervals.


And the same for the anaerobic impact, showing exactly what it’s doing:


Of course, for many people this can still be a bit fuzzy. So Garmin went a step further and just simplified this entirely, which you’ll find in two parts, via the ‘Training Status’ widget. This first piece shows your current fitness (in my case, fitness is actually going up), while concurrently my load is stabilized:


You’ll also see the little mountain and sun icons at the bottom, more on that in a moment. If I enter the widget I’ll get my current VO2Max, but the next page after that is more important – it’s my 7-day load. It’s here that I can see breakouts by load type (remember the aerobic load color coding above, with purple?), and the load per day. It also shows the optimal load:


Go down once and I’ve got a page that is sorta the pinnacle of this entire journey: 4 Week Load Focus. The idea here is that you’re trying to get the different types of training load properly aligned to the little ‘pills’ you see on the screen. You can see the various areas listed briefly when you first open the screen:

Garmin-FR945-Training-Focus-Labels Garmin-FR945-Training-Focus-Details

And if I press the start button, it’ll give me some general guidance on what I could do to even things out a bit. Note, the below photo was taken a few days prior when it was giving me different guidance.


The next page then shows me my current recovery time:


After that, I’ve got altitude acclimation. Both of these are actually quietly present on the Garmin MARQ series as well. The goal behind both of these are post-workout calculations tied to figuring out whether or not you’re acclimated to a given temperature or altitude. Obviously, both can significantly impact performance.  Starting with heat acclimation, the function leverages nearby weather stations. So your unit has to have connected to Garmin Connect Mobile within 3 hours of starting your ride in order to receive that weather data (it doesn’t use on-device temperature).

You’ll see small icons on the bottom of the training status page if you’re in the midst of acclimating to anything. In the case of below last week, I managed to score both heat and altitude acclimation icons:


Altitude acclimation/adaption starts with a minimum threshold at altitudes above 850m/2,788ft, and tops out at 4,000m/13,123ft (Garmin doesn’t calculate above that level, sorry folks). Garmin says that they divide up training vs living altitudes, just as typical studies would. The company says that adaptation algorithms within the MARQ/Forerunner 945/Edge 530/830 assume total adaptation after 21 days, and that adaptation is faster at the beginning of altitude exposure. Additionally, adaptation will decay within 21-28 days depending on acclimation level.


Fun geekery moment for you: On the Forerunner 945/MARQ, the altitude acclimation is based both on workouts, but also on where you sleep each night. At midnight the unit will quietly take an altitude reading (actually, it’s doing it all the time anyway), and then use that reading to determine acclimation. Where this gets fun is when you take redeye flights, as it’ll take that reading at between 6,000-8,000ft (pressurized cabin altitude of a commercial airliner). At first you may think this would skew results, but in reality – it’s actually correct. Your body is acclimating to that altitude. Where it’s slightly off is that it assumes you’re spending 24 hours at that altitude, rather than the 5-14 hours you’re likely spending at that elevation.

Meanwhile, the next screen is heat acclimation.


For heat acclimation it applies a heat correction factor for rides above 71°F/22°C, using a percentage based amount from published studies (humidity is also factored into this as well). This is then shown in the training status widget. Garmin says they assume full acclimation takes a minimum of 4 days, and acclimation/adaptation to a given high temperature will automatically decay after 3 days of skipped training within that heat level.

Some of this is available within the Garmin Connect Mobile app, but it’s messy and scattered at best. For example, here’s the Training Effect pages (under Performance stats, but not the self-titled ‘Training Stats’ section) – but this is missing the matching color coding of the device itself (no purple here):

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However, the ‘Training Status’ section gets you a bit closer. Showing altitude acclimation as well as heat acclimation. But there’s still weird gaps. For example the ‘Load’ metric on the screen is missing a value on the main page. Though, it does do an interesting job at dividing up whether any given week was productive or not.

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Here’s what happens when you click on load, more data pages – these much closer to what we see on the device:

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Still, I feel like back on the main Garmin Connect Mobile dashboard there should absolutely positively be a Training Status widget that matches what I see on my device. Yet that doesn’t exist, nor can I add it. Basically this is all I get:

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Don’t get me wrong, I know this is nitpicking – but it’s something that people constantly complain about Garmin Connect Mobile (even though I think these days the depth is actually better than all their competitors). But it’s not depth of data that’s the problem, it’s how cumbersome it is to find that data. Garmin’s entire marketing strategy around the FR945 is around these performance metrics. They made a full well-leaked YouTube video about it. Yet, in the mobile-first world of 2019, those metrics are buried 98 taps deep in the menus. Sigh.

In any event, re-winding a little bit to where we left off post-workout, the workouts are automatically synced to Garmin Connect via Bluetooth to your phone or WiFi if you’ve configured that. From there you can open it on Garmin Connect Mobile:

Or, on Garmin Connect itself. Here’s a recent workout of mine if you want to poke around by clicking on the link:


In addition, at the same moment these activities are sent to any 3rd parties that you’ve connected to your account, like Strava or TrainingPeaks, among many others. At which point, we’ve covered how everything works from a sport specific standpoint. Of course, there’s countless nuances to other metrics you can dive into like VO2Max (which now accounts for heat), or stress tracking via HRV data.  One could spend weeks writing about all the data you can pull from a Garmin watch. Regrettably, I don’t have enough coffee to do that.

I do want to super briefly mention though that respiration rate is now a field you can add to your watch. That field will populate when connected to a heart rate strap/sensor. You’ll see it live both on the screen (like standing in the photo below), as well as later on within Garmin Connect.


One note about swimming is that unlike both Suunto and Polar, Garmin doesn’t capture heart rate data via the optical HR sensor while underwater. Garmin says that’s because the data isn’t as reliable. Which frankly, is kinda true. Though, I’ve found it varies a lot person to person. That’s probably why Polar basically says ‘Good luck with that’ for their wrist-based optical HR sensors for swimming, but, at least they allow it.  In the case of Garmin, you’ll need either the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM HR straps. These straps will capture data while swimming, and then download it after the swim to your watch, merging the data together.

[Update: As of September 2019: You can now enable and utilize optical HR within the FR945 for all swimming activities. Ensure you’re on the latest firmware and you’re good to go.]

The HRM-SWIM strap is designed for pool swims (it has a sticky surface on the back that holds well for flip/tumble turns). The downside to the much larger blue HRM-SWIM is that it’s not very comfortable out of the water, such as running. Whereas the HRM-TRI is designed primarily for openwater swims worn under a tri suit as it doesn’t have the stickiness, but is more akin to a regular HR strap that feels normal when out of the water running or riding.

The catch with both straps is that you can’t see your HR live in the pool, as the digital signal won’t go through water (only analog signals will, and even Polar’s latest Vantage series doesn’t support that anymore).  The other catch to both straps is that they’re ANT+ only, unlike the new HRM-DUAL strap that has ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart. So you’re kinda in a pickle. Undoubtedly Garmin will eventually upgrade the HRM-TRI/SWIM with dual ANT+/Bluetooth, though it doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen immediately. Just sucks to buy something that’s basically so limited. Though frankly, if you want HR data this season, you’ve really only got one choice.

Finally, I want to briefly touch on maps. I discuss this far more extensively in my Fenix 5 Plus review (mapping/navigation/ClimbPro section here), where the features/functions are identical. But, all Forerunner 945’s have detailed maps for the region they were bought in. So if you bought the unit in Europe, you’ll have European maps, and in the US, North American maps. And so on.  These maps include digital elevation data as well within them. Here’s how they look on the watch:


You can move around the map using the upper right button, which iterates between zoom/pan/scroll. This allows you to both see the terrain around you, as well as navigate to points of interest or other places.  For example, there’s a full POI (points of interest) database on the unit, so you can find nearby restaurants, monuments, lodging, geographic points, and a slew of other spots. Functionally this is useful if perhaps you’re hiking and want to know how far it might be to a campsite or food, or to a given landmark.

Garmin-FR945-POI Garmin-FR945-POI-2 Garmin-FR945-AroundMe

You can also create ‘Round-Trip Courses’ for both running and cycling that allow you to set a given distance and desired direction of travel (if you want) and it’ll come up with a course using the internal heatmap data (aka ‘Trendline Popularity Routing’ data). It takes about 1-3 minutes (kinda a long time) and comes up with three differences courses. No internet connection is required for this.


Finally, you can follow any downloaded courses as well, using Garmin’s new smartphone course creator (quietly launched two weeks ago), or any other downloaded GPS files:

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Once following these routes, you’ll get instructions on when to turn, and when you’re off-route. The value of having the underlying map data becomes clear when you’re at an intersection of multiple trails and trying to have context of what’s around you. Previously with a FR935 you had breadcrumb trails but it was just over a grey background of nothingness. Now you can see that you’re along a river, or going towards a mountain. Or just near an ice cream shop. Whatever’s important in life.



By now, some 16 months after Garmin’s first music-enabled wearable (the Forerunner 645 Music), the act of Garmin adding offline music playback support isn’t exactly news. Still, it is the first time we’ve seen it in the triathlon-focused Forerunner variants. And unlike the Forerunner 645, Vivoactive 3, and Forerunner 245 – there is no non-music variant of the Forerunner 945. Whereas those watches all had music and non-music variants, the FR945 simply just has music in the only version of the Forerunner 945 there is.

In the case of all of Garmin’s music-capable watches, tunes manifest itself in two basic ways:

A) Manually copied music files: These are saved MP3 files, playlists and the like that you sync via USB cable to your computer
B) Streaming services cached files: These are offline playlists/favorites from music services like Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Deezer, cached for playback when not near connectivity

The music capabilities of all these watches are virtually identical, though they have received minor updates over the last year or so. Be it expanded download limits (effectively, no meaningful limit), or the addition of new services like Spotify. However, there are some other audio features that are only on the higher end units. For example, the Vivoactive 3 Music lacks audio alerts for things like pace and laps, which the FR645/Fenix 5 Plus/Forerunner 945/Forerunner 245 Music have.  Second is that the Fenix 5 Plus/645 Music/Forerunner 945/Forerunner 245 Music have the ability to add a music page to your workouts data pages, whereas the Vivoactive 3 Music lacks that ability, adding a couple extra steps to change songs mid-workout. In fact, on the Forerunner 945/Fenix 5 Plus you can even set power-based audio alerts.

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But let’s step back a second and talk about how you listen to music. To do that you’ll need a Bluetooth audio device of some sort. Headphones would be most common (I’ve been mixing between an older pair of Beats PowerBeats and $19 Anker headphones), but it also could be a crappy Amazon Basics $15 speaker, or a not-so-crappy Tesla car.  In the Bluetooth audio realm, the world is your oyster.

In order to connect your headphones you can go through a variety of menus to pair them. Be it the normal sensors menu or the music-specific portions, all roads lead to the below. You can pair multiple Bluetooth audio devices if you happen to have that. Of course, only one can be used concurrently:


Once paired up you’ve got two options for getting music onto the unit. The first method is via Garmin Express (Mac or PC), allowing you to ‘watch’ music folders (you can customize which ones), and then select playlists/albums/songs/artists/etc to transfer over.  Note that you don’t technically have to use Garmin Express to move music onto the device. You can just drag it on via other apps as well…like Windows Explorer.

Sure, you can do this, but I don’t bother anymore. I use streaming services 100% of the time these days for listening to music, so there’s little reason for me to load music on it anymore. In any event, the actual process of syncing music is pretty darn quick, but the inventorying of even a small music library can take a heck of a long time.  The Forerunner 945 has 14.5GB (~6.6GB is usable). Note usable space will vary by region, as maps take up different amounts in North America than Europe than Asia, etc…

In any case, next you’ve got your streaming services. These are all technically Connect IQ apps, though Garmin has preloaded some of them. Well, one of them: Spotify. Either way, you can crack open Garmin Connect or Garmin Connect IQ on your phone and add other music services in:


The way all these works is that they offline cache the playlists that you want, using WiFi. Meaning, even in the case of Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 Music LTE (Cellular), you still can’t stream music via cellular in real-time. You have to download it first. It’s no biggie though, with all these music services you’re more likely to specify a given playlist (likely a dynamic one), and then download that playlist. Setting up Spotify or similar is super easy (here’s a detailed post I wrote on it for the Fenix 5 Plus, it’s 100.000% identical on the Forerunner 945).

Once setup, you’ll choose which playlists/podcasts/etc you want to sync (via WiFi). You cannot sync these streaming services via USB (or Bluetooth Smart, which is too slow/bandwidth limited).


The way Garmin has designed music on all their devices is via service provider model.  This allows 3rd parties to relatively easily plug into said model.  For example, Apple Music or Amazon Music could reasonably join the platform and it makes it largely transparent in terms of adding additional services.  You see this when you crack open music, as you’ll see service such as ‘My Music’ (the stuff you copied over via USB), or ‘Spotify’ (self-explanatory), all seen as equals here.  Deezer will show up in the same place, as would other services. Expect this list to grow more in 2019, likely in ways that will make you think you’re watching an (yet another) awkward sex scene from Game of Thrones.

In any case, when you first navigate to the music widget (just press up/down from the watch face), you’ll see the current album playing (if any), as well as controls around the edge, like a rotary phone.


These controls are pretty easy to identify, and include the basics like skip/back/play/pause/volume/repeat and shuffle options, plus the all-important ‘Manage’ option, which is the little settings icon.  By tapping that icon you get into the music providers and headphones areas.

It’s here you can select which music to play, be it streaming services music or manually transferred music.  It’s pretty much as you’d expect, allowing you to choose anything from specific albums to playlists to artists. It’s easy to navigate, even when running along.


So how does playback sound?

Well…just like music.

Basically, it’s digital audio over headphones designed for sport while I’m running my ass off trying to keep breathing. Said differently – it sounds perfectly good to me. It’s really going to depend more on your headphones than anything else. Garmin recently (like, last week), added the ability for headphones to now select stereo or mono, so there’s certainly some focus on music quality. I’ve never heard anyone in the last year complain about music quality.

Instead, people have (rightfully) complained about dropouts. And that’s a *much* tougher nut to crack. Like, giant Costco sized nut.

The reason? Everyone is playing the low-power game. Headphones makers are trying to minimize the antenna power as much as humanly possible to save power on a device with a tiny battery. Meanwhile, the wearables companies are fighting the same battle on their end. Battery is everything when you’re talking two devices with tiny batteries.  Compare that to a phone that has a gigantic battery and then can take the blowtorch approach to Bluetooth signal broadcasting.  Alternatively, there’s cases like Apple with the AirPods and the Apple Watch that can implement their own heavily optimized protocols because they control everything end to end.


Still – I’ve had *zero* dropouts with the Forerunner 945 using my older Beats headphones. Which may be dumb luck, but it’s still impressive. Typically speaking it helps if you wear your watch on the same wrist as the antenna in your headphones (all headphones have one side that has an antenna in it, you want that side to match your watch).  Garmin, like all wearable companies, also has a list of recommended headphones. Starting from that list is a good idea, though honestly, there’s plenty of things not on there that work just fine

It’s been interesting to watch Garmin’s music focus over the last year, but I’d argue that aside from Apple’s streaming over LTE capabilities and better AirPods integration, there’s oddly enough no wearable company with as many streaming partners nor as smooth a music experience as the Garmin wearables. They’ve easily surpassed Fitbit in this realm (both in providers and the experience), as well as Samsung (in providers). Something I never would have expected a year and a half ago.

Garmin Pay (NFC Payments):


Garmin Pay allows you to use your watch to pay for stuffs anytime there’s a contactless NFC reader to spend your money. Garmin Pay is the branding that covers the contactless/NFC payments, just like there’s Apple Pay on Apple devices, Fitbit Pay on Fitbit devices, and Samsung Pay on Samsung devices.  All of which allow you to use your watch to simply tap a contactless payment reader and pay for goods. Adoption varies by country, with Europe generally ahead of North America, and seemingly Australia (in my experience) well beyond everyone on this planet. In any case, the limiter here won’t likely be the retail establishments, but rather whether your bank supports it.

In the case of a watch, this is most useful in perhaps running or cycling scenarios where you have ‘known good’ stores that accepts contactless payments. Perhaps a coffee shop or such.  Obviously, many people will still carry a credit card, but I’ve found it handy in some rare scenarios.

Since launching Garmin Pay nearly two years ago, the number of banks supporting it has grown substantially (in numerous countries). If you haven’t looked at things in a while, hit up the list here to see if you’re good to go. See, it’s not as simple as being just Visa or Mastercard, rather – Garmin (like Apple and Samsung and Fitbit) have to negotiate with individual banks, not just credit card companies.  Of which there are thousands upon thousands worldwide.

To add your card you’ll go into the Garmin Connect Mobile smartphone app and simply follow the prompts. It’ll ask you to scan the card (or manually enter it in), as well as create a pin code in case your watch gets taken from you by your significant other in your sleep. It only takes 60-90 seconds:

2019-04-27 14.09.01 2019-04-27 14.09.04 2019-04-27 14.09.38

It’ll validate some magic with your bank, and in some (maybe all?) cases ask for a validation code as well (depending on the bank). After which it’ll give you final confirmation it’s added to the watch. Note that you’ll do this for each card you want to add to your digital wallet.

To use the payment card, simply long-hold the upper left button down when you’re ready to make a payment, then select the wallet option. After which, you’ll need to enter in your pin code that you created:

Garmin-FR945-GarminPay Garmin-Pay-FR945-PinCode

This passcode is good for 24 hours from entry, or until you’ve removed the watch from your wrist.  This is in line with Fitbit and Apple.  You’ve got about 30 seconds to scan the device and register a payment before the screen simply times out:


Once completed it’ll give you a quick confirmation on the screen (and also ideally on your card reader).  That’s it!

Ultimately, as with before – this works well enough, assuming you have a card supported and a store/shop that also supports contactless payments.  In my travels I’ve found the adoption by stores to vary a lot.  Of course, over time this technology will become completely commonplace in most countries/stores/devices, and thus, as a result, it will soon be as normal to pay with a watch as it is to pay with a credit card.  For now though, I see it more valuable for ‘known good’ establishments that allow you to skip carrying a wallet to grab a coffee at the end of a run or ride.

GPS Accuracy:


There’s likely no topic that stirs as much discussion and passion as GPS accuracy.  A watch could fall apart and give you dire electrical shocks while doing so and somehow athletes will still adore their favorite watch, but if it shows you on the wrong side of the road?  Oh hell no, bring on the fury of the internet!

GPS accuracy can be looked at in a number of different ways, but I prefer to look at it using a number of devices in real-world scenarios across a vast number of activities.  I use 2-6 other devices at once, trying to get a clear picture of how a given set of devices handle conditions on a certain day.  Conditions include everything from tree/building cover to weather.

Over the years I’ve continued to tweak my GPS testing methodology.  For example, I try not to place two units next to each other on my wrists, as that can impact signal. If I do so, I’ll put a thin fabric spacer of about 1”/3cm between them (I didn’t do that on any of my Forerunner 945 workouts).  But often I’ll simply carry other units by the straps, or attach them to the shoulder straps of my hydration backpack.  Plus, wearing multiple watches on the same wrist is well known to impact optical HR accuracy. One technique I’ve been using a bit starting this review that’s worked exceedingly well is below. How on earth I never thought to place the secondary watches on the outside of my hands (loosely strapped) is beyond me. Note, for those units on my hands, they *are not* using optical HR. Instead, they’re connected to chest straps and other HR sensors.


Next, as noted, I use just my daily training routes.  Using a single route over and over again isn’t really indicative of real-world conditions, it’s just indicative of one trail.  The workouts you see here are just my normal daily workouts.

I’ve had quite a bit of variety of terrain within the time period of Forerunner 945 testing.  This has included runs, rides, and swims in: Amsterdam (Netherlands), Mallorca (Spain), Kansas (USA), Northern California & Southern California (USA). Forests, mountains, oceans, farmlands, and everything in between.

All of the workouts you see here I did with GPS+GLONASS enabled, as Garmin noted that’s the mode they’ve spent the most time on the GPS performance on. They said they haven’t spent as much time on Galileo. However, in my testing of the older FR935 with Galileo, I’ve seen mind-bogglingly good results in the last two months since the bulk of the Galileo constellation went live back in February. Even in places like NYC it’s thrown down some tracks that some of you on Strava have been like ‘Who dis? Holy crap’. In any case though, for the FR945/FR245/FR45 watches, I kept them all on GLONASS for the bulk of my testing (I did try some Galileo runs/rides and saw less accuracy than GLONASS).

In any case, let’s start off with an hour-long run from two weekends ago. This loop starts off with some minor buildings alongside the canal, and then heads out to farmland and a rowing basin, before I head back past some larger 8-10 story buildings and back home. Here’s the overview:


If we look at the beginning of the route, the only real stand-out here is the Polar Vantage V struggling. But upon closer inspection you see a slight bit where the FR245 doesn’t match the rest (most northern part of the track). At first glance one might blame the FR245, but in reality it was the only one who managed to stay where I ran and not cut the buildings. Good on it. Everyone else saved a few meters.


Coming under the giant railway/car bridges, no meaningful issues:


So essentially in the harder parts it does well, so let’s go out towards the fields. It’s here we see some minor track alignment issues on the part of the FR945 – just a couple meters off the path. And all the units seemed to get distracted by the marina and a small bridge. Not sure what that was all about.


But for the most part, all the units were very close here:


So let’s step it up – can they go around a track? Aside from the buildings of Dubai or NYC, it’s the hardest thing for a GPS unit to do properly. The constant turning nature of a track is incredibly difficult to nail perfectly, especially since an average workout might have 20-40 laps. Or, 20-40 opportunities for just one tiny screw-up to immediately be obvious.

In this case, The Girl is running with the watch (I’ve got another set, also on the track at the same time). Her lineup is the Fenix 5s (original), the Suunto Trainer Wrist HR, the Forerunner 945, and the Forerunner 45. Here’s that data set:


What’s fun about this game is that it’s immediately obvious who did well. The name of the game here is keeping yourself within the bounds of the track. The Suunto Trainer was well outside of that – something The Girl could see on her wrist just looking at distances as she ran. She placed her bets mid-way through the workout.

Here’s the results if we toggle to just the FR45 and FR945. Almost perfectly within the bounds of the track. In The Girl’s case, she was actually across multiple lanes, so that’s correct. As is the squiggly into the trees to get a errant soccer ball for some kids.


There’s really no reason to further analyze this one – both the FR945 and FR45 nailed it. Both were in GPS+GLONASS modes.

For fun though, I was on the track at the same time, and here’s my FR945 and FR245 side by side. Not quite as good as The Girl’s tracks, but pretty good:


Next, let’s head to Long Beach, California for a run around some tall structures and bridges. Nothing like the combination to throw a wrench into things. This data set has a Forerunner 945, Forerunner 245, then a Polar Vantage V and Garmin FR935. Here’s the data set:


Once again, boring. Let’s zoom in and try and find someone…anyone….that screwed up their GPS track. We’ll start where I started, with a short out/back loop towards the Queen Mary. We can see the FR245 did stumble very slightly next to the gigantic ship, ending up two lanes away (so…not very far away, just a standard road here). Additionally, back towards the left side we see the Polar Vantage V cut a corner across the park.


When it came to the tricky overpass/underpass situations (both of them), the new Garmin units did well. We see a slight bobble by the Suunto Trainer as it approaches the bridge, but nothing major.


Looking at the long pier, all the units nailed this without issue:


However, the village area as I ran up against buildings was another story. The Polar in orange really struggled here – far more than everyone else. The other units had some very minor (off by 1-3 meters) issues, but nothing like just cutting across a restaurant or two.


The remainder of the run portions were all normal as expected.

Let’s shift things over to cycling for a ride. Mostly just a single road because all my road-rides with the new Forerunners were frankly spot-on. Kinda boring. I know, you’re looking for NASCAR style crashes of GPS accuracy. But they’re hard to find here.

Here’s the track as we left Amsterdam and headed south through the tulip fields. It was a one-way journey, then taking the train back. Here’s the data set:


Here’s the thing – the results were spot on every single corner or turn. Even capturing going off to find a bush perfectly.


Even this turn here gets the exact bike lane portions to the right correct, though there appears to be maybe 1 meter difference between the tracks as we cross the intersection. Which is like complaining that you’re missing an M&M from a jar full of them.


Ultimately, the Forerunner 245/945 tracks were pretty consistent time and time again when using GPS+GLONASS. I did see more variability with GPS+GALILEO, as well as more variability earlier in the beta cycle, but in the last two weeks as firmware and finalized, things are looking stronger than I anticipated. Again, Garmin has noted that they’ve spent the majority of their time on GPS+GLONASS, and not yet focused very much accuracy efforts in GPS+GALILEO.

Which isn’t to say things are perfect. I still think right now the most accurate Garmin device for me (over the past two months) is the Forerunner 935 in GPS+GALILEO mode. But if/when things go wrong for the FR245/945, it’s never a substantial wrong, it’s usually just a minor alignment issue (like being on the road instead of on the sidewalk). Most importantly though, I’m not seeing corner cutting – which was something I saw with both Suunto and Polar (and COROS as well) earlier in their Sony chipset development phase. If there’s one thing one shouldn’t do – it’s cut corners. So it’s good that’s not happening here.

Garmin did note numerous times over the past few months that we should expect more GPS enhancements from them, likely with the usual firmware updates. If the pace I’ve seen for these updates in the last month or two is any indication – then the future is lookin’ good. But today isn’t bad either.

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, GPS tracks and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Heart Rate Accuracy:


Before we move on to the test results, note that optical HR sensor accuracy is rather varied from individual to individual.  Aspects such as skin color, hair density, and position can impact accuracy.  Position and how the band is worn, are *the most important* pieces.  A unit with an optical HR sensor should be snug.  It doesn’t need to leave marks, but you shouldn’t be able to slide a finger under the band (at least during workouts).  You can wear it a tiny bit looser the rest of the day.

Ok, so in my testing, I simply use the watch throughout my usual workouts.  Those workouts include a wide variety of intensities and conditions, making them great for accuracy testing.  I’ve got steady runs, interval workouts on both bike and running, as well as tempo runs and rides, and so on.

For each test, I’m wearing additional devices, usually 3-4 in total, which capture data from other sensors.  Typically I’d wear a chest strap (usually the Garmin HRM-DUAL or Wahoo TICKR X), as well as another optical HR sensor watch on the other wrist (primarily the Polar OH1+ and Wahoo TICKR FIT, but also the Scosche 24 too).  Note that the numbers you see in the upper right corner are *not* the averages, but rather just the exact point my mouse is sitting over.  Note all this data is analyzed using the DCR Analyzer, details here.

Note that while I’ve been using the Forerunner 945 since mid-March, I’m mostly going to use recent data in this review – since that’s the firmware that it’s currently on and the production firmware that real world people are using.

First let’s start and see how it handles steady-state running. This is an 8mi long run from a few weeks ago, just cruising along at a relatively easy pace. In this case we’ve got the FR245 vs the FR945 from an optical wrist standpoint, with the Wahoo TICKR-FIT and Polar OH1 on the upper arm, as well as the HRM-DUAL on the chest. Here’s that data set:


Well then…that was boring.

Everyone agreed. And – interestingly enough – a picture perfect example of where optical HR sensors can ‘beat’ chest sensors. In this case, a relatively dry day, the chest sensor lagged a bit – incorrectly so.


Not much more to say here on that one – all the units worked great. So, moving on.

Let’s kick things up for a full track workout of intervals. In this case I was doing 4×800, then 2×400, then 3×200 (because apparently I can’t count to 4). The contenders were the FR245 Music vs the FR945, with the chest strap (HRM-DUAL) and Polar OH1 as validators. Here’s that data set:



See that funky green line at the beginning? That wasn’t the Polar OH1’s fault, it somehow got flipped up/caught by my t-shirt, so was facing the sky. Once I fixed it, it immediately nailed things. Let’s look at the 800’s first:


So both the FR245 and FR945 scary-perfectly nail the build sections, though, like I’ve seen with the FR45 as well – it struggles a bit on the rest portions, being slower than I’d like. But damn – at least it got the important part right. Really right.

Now check this out – this next section is the 400’s followed by the 200’s. You can see a bit more lag coming in from the FR245/FR945, but not a ton by optical HR standards. I honestly didn’t expect it to do this well (because very rarely does Garmin nail shorter intervals like this). Even the recovery isn’t horrible. A few seconds delayed, but nothing crazy.


As for the cool-down at the end? No idea why the FR245 lost the plot. Perhaps I was drinking from the bottle of water or something. Either way, that’s sorta like giving a minor love tap while parallel parking. Shrug


Let’s head out to Long Beach for a run there in warmer weather. Usually warmer weather is easier on optical HR sensors – but that’s not a given. Sometimes sweat pooling under the watch in between the skin and sensor can cause issues.  Here’s an overview of the run, comparing the FR245 vs the FR945, with the Wahoo TICKR-FIT and Polar OH1 optical sensors as well as the Garmin HRM-DUAL chest strap. Here’s the data set:



Another boring and perfectly functional data set. They even (almost) get the build right. You can see a slight bit of lag compared to the chest strap on this one, and then you’ll also see that around the 6 minute marker the FR245 does very briefly lag for 10 seconds behind the others as I reduced pace. But otherwise, the rest of the data set is spot-on.


Let’s switch gears, literally, to cycling for a moment. Surely we’ll be able to find failures there. After all, Garmin optical HR sensors rarely work well in cycling outdoors.

In this case, about a 80-90 minute loop from the city to the countryside and back. Roads mostly smooth, but a cobblestone/brick town or two along the way. The data includes the FR945, the Polar Vantage V using the Polar OH1 Plus, and the Garmin HRM-DUAL. Here’s the data set.


Huh. It’s not half-bad. Didn’t expect that.

It’s best to divide up this ride into three basic chunks. Before and after the two yellow lines are where I’m in the city a bit more and focused more on avoiding people/dogs/etc, so my hand position will be a bit less stable, and my effort equally variable. However, between those two yellow lines is mostly smooth countryside sailing.


And sure enough, safe for a single error at the 23 minute marker after a section of brick, the Forerunner 945 seems to nail the main sections. In fact, even accounting for the stumbles at the beginning/end, this might very well be the best outdoor cycling optical HR sensor attempt I’ve seen from Garmin. Is it as good as a chest strap riding outdoors? No. But it’s not half bad.

Let’s head indoors for a moment then to a workout yesterday.  This one a 50 minute ride on Zwift. In this case we’ve got the Forerunner 45 on one wrist, and the FR945 on the other. Plus a HRM-DUAL chest strap and then a TICKR-FIT paired to Zwift. Here’s the data set.


Huh. Well, that first 7-8 minutes is more or less a car wreck. While I was riding, since I was riding Zwift I’m also using my hands to control things like interactions on the phone, though that was on the console in front of me – and those first 8 minutes I was mostly playing catch-up because I had jumped on a bit late for the race start and skipped a warm-up.


On the bright side, at least the Forerunner 45 did well there – which shares the exact same optical HR sensor package as the FR945 does. Goes to show that simply which wrist you’re wearing it on can make a difference. Both were tightened the same.

Ultimately, in looking at these and other data sets, the optical HR sensor seems to be a slight improvement on the Fenix 5 Plus series (which was the previous generation HR sensor prior to the current V3). I think there’s probably something to be said for Garmin’s approach here of just ever so slightly incrementally improving their optical HR sensor, rather than massive wholesale changes for each new products. In the case of optical HR sensor accuracy, it’s mostly a game of fixing 1% issues. Fixing an algorithm error that may cause an issue for 1% of the population, but if you do that 10 or 20 times, you start to make significant ground. Essentially the whole concept of marginal gains. Roughly.

Of course, you can still just have bad-day moments like my ride yesterday with the FR945. Win some, lose some.

Product Comparison Tool:

I’ve added the Forerunner 945 into the product comparison tool, which allows you to compare it against any watches I’ve reviewed to date.  For the purposes of the below table, I’ve compared it against the existing Polar Vantage V, and Suunto 9, as well as the Fenix 5 Plus.  But you can easily mix and match against any other products within the database here, by creating your own product comparison tables.  Note that in some cases nuanced features (like being able to calibrate altitude based on the map DEM data), doesn’t really fit well into product comparison tools designed to host hundreds of watches (when only a single watch has it).

Function/FeatureGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated July 12th, 2022 @ 4:07 am New Window
Price$599/599EUR$499$699/699EUR$499$599 (non-baro is $499)
Product Announcement DateApr 30th, 2019Mar 29th, 2017June 17th, 2018Sept 13th, 2018June 5th, 2018
Actual Availability/Shipping DateEarly May 2019Mar 29th, 2017June 17th, 2018Late October 2018June 26th, 2018
GPS Recording FunctionalityYes (with Galileo too)YesYes (with Galileo too)YesYes
Data TransferUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB/Bluetooth Smart/WiFiUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTUSB & Bluetooth Smart
WaterproofingYes - 50mYes - 50mYes - 100mYes - 30mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)36hrs GPS, 60hrs UltraTracUp to 24hrs in GPS-on, up to 50hrs in UltraTrac GPSUp to 32hrs in GPS-on, up to 85hrs in UltraTrac GPS (varies by model)Up to 40 hoursUp to 120 Hours
Recording Interval1S or Smart1S or Smart1S or Smart1sVariable
Dual-Frequency GNSSNo
Backlight GreatnessGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceYEsYesYEsNoNo
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesYesYesYesYes
MusicGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Can control phone musicYesYEsYesNoNo
Has music storage and playbackYesNoYesNoNo
Streaming ServicesSpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadioNoSpotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeartRadioNoNo
PaymentsGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Contactless-NFC PaymentsYesNoYesNoNo
ConnectivityGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesYEsYesYesYes
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesYesYesFeb 2019Yes
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)YesYesYesNoNo
Group trackingYesYesYesNoNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)Yes (via phone)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNoNo
CyclingGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesYEsYesYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesYesYesYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFYesYEsYesNoNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYEsYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYesYesYesTBD Future UpdateNo
Crash detectionYesNoNoNoNo
RunningGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Designed for runningYesYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYEsYesYesYes
Running PowerWith extra sensorWITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (or 3rd party Stryd/RunScribe)With extra sensoryes (built-in)With extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYEsYesYEsYesYes
Race PredictorYesYesYesNoNo
Recovery AdvisorYesYEsYesYesYes
Run/Walk ModeYesYesYesNoNo
Track Recognition ModeYesNo
SwimmingGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Designed for swimmingYesYEsYesYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYEsYesYEsYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesYesYesYesYes
Record HR underwaterYesWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)WITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)YesYes
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesYesYesYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YEsYesYEsYesYes
Indoor Drill ModeYesYesYesNoNo
Indoor auto-pause featureNo (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No (it'll show rest time afterwards though)No (it'll show rest time afterwards though)YesNo
Change pool sizeYEsYEsYEsYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths14M/15Y TO 150Y/M14M/15Y TO 150Y/M14M/15Y TO 150Y/M20M/Y to 250 m/y15m/y to 1,200m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsYesYesYesYesyes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesYesYesYesYes
Indoor AlertsYesYesYesN/ANo
TriathlonGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Designed for triathlonYesYesYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesYesYesYesYes
WorkoutsGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureYEsYEsYEsNoYes
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesYesYesYesYes
FunctionsGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Auto Start/StopYesYEsYesNo
Virtual Partner FeatureYEsYEsYEsNo (but can give out of zone alerts)No
Virtual Racer FeatureYesYesYesNoNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)YesYEsYesNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)YesYesYesNoNo
NavigateGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesYesYesNoYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesYEsYesNoYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)YesNoYesNoNo
Back to startYesYesYesFeb 2019Yes
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationYesNoYesNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesYesYesNoYes
SensorsGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Altimeter TypeBarometricBarometricBarometricBarometricBarometric
Compass TypeMagneticMagneticMagneticN/AMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyYesYesYesYesYes
SpO2 (aka Pulse Oximetry)YesNoFenix 5X Plus onlyNoNo
ECG FunctionalityNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)NoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Remote ControlNo (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)No (can control VIRB though)NoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)YesYEsYesNoNo
Shimano Di2 ShiftingYesYEsYesNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesYEsYesYesYEs
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYesYEsYesYesYes
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYEsYEsYEsYesYes
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesYEsYesYesYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)YesYesYesNoNo
SoftwareGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
PC ApplicationGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressGarmin ExpressPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacPC/Mac
Web ApplicationGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectGarmin ConnectPolar FlowSuunto Movescount
Phone AppiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/Android/Windows PhoneiOS/AndroidiOS /Android
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoNoNo
PurchaseGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Competitive CyclistLinkLink
DCRainmakerGarmin Forerunner 945Garmin Forerunner 935Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5/5S/5X)Polar Vantage VSuunto 9 Baro
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink

Remember, you can mix and match and create your own product comparison tables here, for watches not seen above.



There’s pretty much no question the Forerunner 945 will be my mainstay watch going forward. I’ve previously used the Forerunner 935 as my main running/tri watch, though I switched for a period last fall to the Fenix 5 Plus. However eventually I fell off that bandwagon (primarily because I couldn’t find the darn thing at some point in December) – and ended up back on the FR935 again.  I’m finding myself actually liking the training load focus bits more than any other metric Garmin has stuffed into their watches previously. It’s easy to understand and color-coded with clear targets. I’m all about simplicity.

Of course, there is the reality that somehow this watch is now $599 – some $100 more than the Forerunner 935 was/is. Sure, it’s added a boatload of new features, primarily the maps/music/contactless payments. But still, ouch. Of course – it’s hard to reasonably argue with the factual reality that people are buying these watches more than ever before – the Fenix 5 series is concrete proof of that (and that costs $699+). Even Apple’s more recent watches have increased in price over previous editions. I’m not sure if the trend is long-term sustainable, but I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

The new GPS sensor is kinda meh. While I get that it provides significantly longer battery life, there is the tradeoff for less accuracy. It’s not as bad as some of their competitors using the same sensor – but it’s also not as good as the FR935 was. I’ve no doubt it will improve (I’ve seen notable improvements even in the last 4-6 weeks), and I’m not getting any ‘horrid’ tracks’. Just some tracks that are kinda…well…shrug.

Ultimately though, the Forerunner 945 is the most full-featured triathlon watch on the market today (even topping the Fenix 5 Plus). Heck, one could also argue that since the Forerunner 945 has a quick release kit whereas the $1,500 Garmin MARQ Athlete doesn’t, it’s more full-featured than that. Whether or not you need those features is an entirely different discussion – one primarily between you and your accountant. With that – thanks for reading!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you're shopping for the Garmin Forerunner 945 or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you shop with TPC (The Pro's Closet), you'll save $40 on purchases over $200 with coupon code DCRAIN40! The Pro's Closet has been a long-time partner of the site here - including sponsoring videos like my cargo bike race, as well as just being an awesome Colorado-based company full of good humans. Check them out with the links below and the DCRAIN40 coupon!

Here's a few other variants or sibling products that are worth considering:

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others being the Polar H9/H10). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

Seriously, this will change your life. $9 for a two-pack of these puck Garmin chargers that stay put and stay connected. One for the office, one for your bedside, another for your bag, and one for your dog's house. Just in case.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.

This wifi-connected scale will track your weight and related metrics both on the scale display and in Garmin Connect (plus 3rd party apps like TrainingPeaks). It'll also then sync your weight to your watch/bike computer, to ensure accurate calorie data.

The HRM-PRO Plus is Garmin's top-end chest strap. It transmits dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, but also transmits Running Dynamics & Running Pace/Distance metrics, stores HR data during a swim, and can be used without a watch for other sports. Also, it can transmit XC Skiing Dynamics as well.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

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  1. Viper

    Hi, how is the sleep tracking on this; any better?

    • I don’t have experience with previous Garmin devices as a sleep tracker, but I have used a Fitbit Versa pretty extensively, and I can say objectively that the Fitbit is better. The 945 basically says that I never wake up in the middle of the night, even when I wake fully enough to actually remember it (unless I get out of bed and walk downstairs). The Versa may not be a perfect sleep tracker, but it seemed much more in-line with reality.

      I would say the general sleep time and wake time are close enough, though the 945 generally waits until I am actually out of bed before saying I’m awake, as opposed to when I actually wake up, but am not quite ready to disembark the SS Dreambed.

  2. Frank

    Am I imagining things or did I read that firmware 2.6 was going to enable the wrist heart rate for swimming? I just installed 2.7, which logically would have rolled in all the 2.6 features as well, and don’t see it.

    Since transmitting through water isn’t an issue for an in-service sensor I don’t know why this was not enabled from the start on all watches with the wrist based sensor but I swear I read that it was coming in the next release

    Thanks for all you do, love this site and it is where I go before buying any sport device.

  3. Lee Sutton

    Has anyone used the golf features on this watch?

    Certainly not the main feature I require but seeing it listed peaked my interest!

    • Seth

      I have a 935 and have used it for golf extensively. The rangefinder on it is great. The shot tracking has been very good, but very recently missed some shots in my latest round. I’m not sure whether it’s due to a change in the tracking, my particular play on a round, or what. But overall the golf app is a huge plus.

    • Lee Sutton

      Thanks for the info!

    • C.A.

      Do you need an additional accessory to use the golf app or is all the information stored on the watch?

  4. JC Labbat

    since the 945 can connect to both ANT+ devices and Bluetooth (BLE) devices, is it possible to use the 945 as a bridge between 1NT+ connections and BLE device as an IPAD running TrainerRoad (bike application for inside bike trainer).

    the ipad read BLE but not ANT+. I was thinking of using the 945 as a bridge?

    Thanks for advice, JC

    • Stuart

      I’m going to go out on a limb (it looks like a pretty solid limb to me, though) and say no. Acting as a bridge in that way means re-transmitting the fitness data. I’m pretty sure that the firmware of the 945 is only set up to transmit heart rate data from the wrist-based HR sensor, and NOT to re-transmit data received over BLE.

      I would stake a substantial sum, in fact, on this not being an option. It’s not a primary function of a fitness watch. Your best bets are to look at the 4iiii Viiiiva heart rate strap, or the NPE Cable. (link to npe-inc.com)

  5. Greg K

    Thanks for another great review, Ray! It sounds like the OHR is improved over the 935 and Fenix 5 plus. Compared to the OHR on Polar’s Vantage V/M, what are your thoughts?

  6. van tomme loïc

    hi first of all big thanks for the great review.
    I was wondering if there is a difference between the european and american sold watches? Since i live in Europe (Belgium) and i can get a discount on the FR945 in America. So i wanted to be sure that i don’t buy a watch that doesn’t work perfectly here in Europe.

    Thank you for this awesome site.

    • kuifje777

      The American version comes with American maps, but no maps for Europe. There is a tutorial on how to add maps for free to your 945 on this site though. However, you will not have popularity routing, if you need it.

      In addition, I suspect that you will not have warranty here in Europe.

      I would only buy the American version, if it is quite a bit cheaper.

    • Marten

      Which discount, please enlight us :) *from a Belgian in Amsterdam

    • van tomme loïc

      it’s a discount thanks to the firm where my girlfriend works and she can only buy one, so can’t help you there sadly. Hope you find another deal.

    • Aaron Hagopian

      Wow, thanks for this random comment as it reminded me to look at my work’s health insurance discount program which lead me to just now buy this watch for 35% off. Was wavering on between this and Vantage V but 35% off made the decision really easy.

  7. Bret

    Thanks for the review Ray.
    My 945 has the epoxy plastic cracked already after only 2 months! I cannot believe it.
    I sent back 2 935’s and sold the third replacement because of the same issue. I have not swam with the 945 and due to a sports injury only used it as a watch. Is my sweat toxic?
    Garmin should change the design of the back to glass or a glass epoxy composite, because every forerunner I’ve had has eventually cracked but never so quickly. Normally it takes years to break. Ray do you have any advice about this? Garmin want to replace my 945 but I am inclined to get a refund because I can’t afford to just have the 945 replaced every few months when this happens. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest it isn’t my sweat causing this or impact, as I wear the watch 24/7 except when charging, when the watch is on its side.
    Could the heat from the battery charging cause the plastic to expand and contract over a short while? I cannot think of anything else that causes this. It’s crazy!

  8. Freddyrun

    Unfortunately the 945 is riddled with hardware and software bugs. I had to replace mine after buttons to stuck, common problem. The replacement came with a non functioning Pulse Ox.
    link to forums.garmin.com
    The 945 also locked during a marathon, lost half the data.
    Garmin doesn’t reply to my claims so have to try to return it to the shop.
    Gone back to my Polar V

  9. Alex Whittemore

    Like a bunch of other commenters, I’d LOVE to see mentioned in the article that NO currently available Garmin watch with optical HRM survives sunblock usage beyond a year without the epoxy encapsulation cracking. I’m on my second 935, and with an OBNOXIOUS routine of sunblock 30m before watch and a rigorous wash with dish soap once back inside, watch #2 has only survived about a year and a half – just cracked again.

    • I also had 2 935s returned due to cracked HRM and 2 due to barometric issues…..I’ve seen only a handful <5 reports of cracked HRMS on the 945….

    • Susan

      May I suggest the following:

      4 year old Garmin Vivoactive from ebay
      HR chest strap
      Install some useful data-fields (Single Run), Cycle, Hike
      Install some useful connectIQ apps

      Enjoy. The GPS tracks are the same on openstreetmap through goldencheetah app and HR is measured as good as can be expected, same as with any strap. You can use any ANT+ strap.

      Thank me later!

    • Mark

      I’m not so sure it’s sunblock usage. I was very careful to not wear my watch at all while wearing sunblock (primarily a cyclist, so it’s on the handlebar mount while I’m outside). To the point that I wouldn’t put the watch on until after I had showered off. I don’t run often, but when I did I avoided using sunblock on my arms. The replacement watch still cracked, and flaked out.

    • Sian

      I agree with Mark.

      It’s temperature that causes the plastic OHR casing to expand and contract. It’s bad design, basically. In time the OHR will always crack as a result of the temperature changes. Given your own body heat it’s unexpected that the underside of the watch will always crack in time, but unfortunately that’s the case. It takes a few months at least for most people to see this occurring. The 945 is relatively new and people are now seeing it a lot. Go figure.

      My advice is to post evidence to Garmin Support and, if you’re in the USA, start a class action lawsuit, because if you create a petition you can start to get unique pictures and serial numbers of 935, 945 and Fenix5 watches with the issue, from which you have evidence to present during the case. It’s among the worst watch range I’ve seen for a clearly inherent flaw, so don’t take ‘no’ for an answer from Garmin. They’ve messed up and even the new 945 has this issue. Does this tell you Garmin cares or do they just want to sell more duff watches? Exactly.

  10. Brent Gustafson

    Hi Ray,

    With the release of Fenix 6 any word on when a OWS fix might drop for the 945?

    • My understanding is that they were trying to drop another beta firmware update for this past Monday for it. It must have slipped for some reason.

    • Jens

      It still puzzles me with the reports of OWS problems. I don’t have a 945, but a 935, F5S and F5X+ but those are also models where people report OWS problems on. I’ve swum on average once a week for a while now and never had any kind of problems. Today I swam with a F5X+ on the left wrist and Suunto Spartan Ultra on the right wrist. Garmin is blue in the picture. Distances were 1050 (Garmin) and 1071m respectively – which is amazingly good. GPS+Glonass on both units and 1s/best recording.

    • New GPS 9 days ago with OW fixes…

      link to forums.garmin.com

    • The difference between those models you listed is the FR945 uses a Sony chipset, whereas all the other use a MediaTek chipset.

      Garmin has stated they’ve been working with the chipset providers on the issues (thus, chipset nuances are what’s causing it).

      It sounds like they may have finally fixed it though. I had some really strong results yesterday. But I still need more testing.

    • Mark R.

      Can you give us an update on the latest status here Ray? (or anyone else with first hand experience).
      I have a 935 and am contemplating rocking over to the 945. There must be a ‘crapton’ of us out here in that particular boat.

      3 things that are worrying me…
      1) GPS accuracy – are we over the hump? Will it be significantly better or worse than the 935.(I notice you tested the new garmin swim 2 watch vs the 935, not the 945; so I’m guessing the 935 is still most accurate?)
      2) Battery life, I’m getting reports of 4 days rather than the 7 or so days that the 935 lasts.
      3) Longevity of the case/buttons, lots of anecdotal reports here of both causing issues.

      + one last Last cheeky question: If you owned a 935 would you switch now, or later after more firmware updates?

      Thanks for any guidance.

    • hello

      I was in this dilemna and I think the Fenix 6S does the job (minus +11g on the wrist)

      What is your main reason to upgrade ?

  11. Raphael

    For those interested, price in now 700 cad (538 usd equivalent) right now on Amazon.ca

  12. Pascal Le Bail

    Yesterday my 945 showed a strange GPS error. During a trail run in the mountains, the GPS position suddenly leaped by nearly 500 meters from one moment to the other – putting me into the middle of nowhere on the map, apart from any trail.

    I admit that this started at a GPS-wise difficult location (gorge, forest). But it sustained for about 5 kilometers, most of which had easy conditions and a clear view to the sky. After those 5 km the recorded trace converged back towards the correct one (interestingly I was inside the forest again at that time).

    The shape of the course was correct all the time, it was only offset by these 500 meters.

    The attached image shows my (and other) GPS traces from Openstreetmap. I marked my actual course using green dots and the recorded one using red dots. “Start” shows the start of the GPS deviation, not the start of my run (which had started 6 km before that).

    Has anyone experienced a similar problem?

  13. Reha

    Hi, how do you get to see the “course pointer” pg. 27 of the manual during navigation? Great site and info, Regards, RC

  14. Bill Shepard

    I have my second broken crystal. This is insane. Is this “Gorilla” glass? It is $140 US flat rate repair. It has already been replaced once and now it is cracked and I have no idea how it could have happened. Just like the first one I was just wearing it. I would think I would know if I hit something hard enough to crack it. We have two fenix 3’s and they are so banged up they have nicks in the bezel and never cracked a crystal. I have had every watch for many years without a problem so this just doesn’t make sense. Is anyone else breaking them? The worst part is I have a 70.3 in two weeks. I hope they get it replaced in time. I guess I will try buying a Fenix 6 and giving this to my wife but something just isn’t right. How could I crack two crystals and not even know when I did it?

  15. N

    I want to buy either the 935 or the 945. Which one would you recommend?

  16. Marco

    Ordered the FR945 from Clever Training UK on a Saturday, got shipped the Tuesday after and delivered on Thursday! Well done! Happy with the FR945 so far, still playing with all the options.
    I’m a cyclist mostly and using it for my commutes/walking. Only didn’t know you need a power meter for the VO2Max part in the Training Load. So probably will start with running now and save me the money of a power meter ;)

    Thanks for the discount Ray!

  17. Paul

    Something I find slightly annoying is when you receive a phone call and the phone number comes up on the watch rather than the person’s name, even if it’s a contact that you have in your phone. I’ve encountered this on the 935 as well and was hoping it might be something that would be fixed in the 945, but it’s not.

    Is this a problem over the whole Garmin watch range? Does the Fenix 6 solve this bug?

  18. Hello,

    I’d like to know if someone had a chance to compare the race prediction time from a watch =< 935 to newer watches like the FR945 with the lateste Firstbeat algorithms.

    Is it going in a more realistic direction ? With =<935 models, the predictions are famous for being useless and so far from reality for a majority of people that it was laughable that they could not fix this with the gazillion of datas they had.

    So is it going really better now ? Thanks

    • Levon

      Same thing here, very curious about how the race prediction algorithms might be more realistic. The old one was delusionally optimistic :%-)

    • Kuifje777

      For me, the prediction looks pretty close to what I could realistically achieve. For example, last year, I ran a marathon in 3 h 40 min. This year, I focused on triathlons and the current prediction is 3 h 45 min, which I think should be broadly possible.

    • Thank you, that’s a good improvement. What is the running VO2max given for this prediction ?

      I have noticed that Runalyze website uses same tables as Garmin/FB used in the past.

    • The tables for a conversion from VO2max to prediction are the same, yes. Still, algorithms for finding an accurate estimate for the current (effective) VO2max are quite different.

    • snowfree52

      Are you sure ?
      does that mean it’s normal my VO2max went down from the 935 to the 945 ?

  19. Trond

    Nice review!
    Question; is there a place where I can see the total climb during a given time, lets say a winter? I can only find the total climb during the active session.

  20. Ryan Crognale

    So I have the 735xt and am looking to upgrade. The comparison says I need an additional foot pod to get run dynamics that are built in to the 735xt? So I’m upgrading but lose functionality in this respect and have to deal with a pod?

    • Lee Sutton

      You only get run dynamics on the 735 if you have one of their run/Tri heart rate straps or the footpod. The only data I get when I don’t wear my heart rate Tri is cadence as that’s built into the watch itself, which is also the same with the 945.

  21. Just took another look at LiveTrack, a feature I haven’t used in a few years. It now requires me to upload my full contact list to Garmins cloud

    > “Our new Contacts feature can securely store your contact list in our servers…”

    why would I want this. previously I could just enter my friends phone number and it worked fine.

    • It actually doesn’t. The next page explains that only the contacts (and within that just the phone/e-mail) that you actually want to send to are sent to Garmin, which makes sense, since they have to know the phone numbers to send to.

      It’s a poorly worded message that somehow is still written that way. I discussed it with Garmin way-back-when and they agreed it was poorly worded. They also noted that they sure and heck didn’t want your full address book either.

  22. Arnaud

    Will the 945 be able to use the Optical HR for swimming now that the Fenix 6 can do it ?

  23. Marco

    Ray, do you know if it’s normal behavior that stress is not measured during an activity or paused activity?

    Looks like when you close an activity with “Resume Later” the stress is not measured during the time that the activity is on hold.

    For instance I log my commute by bike. When I arrive at work I stop the activity and choose “Resume Later”. During my working day, no stress is measured. I ride home at the end of the working day. Now when at home, I save my activity and then stress measuring starts again!

    SW 2.70 and sensor hub 2.30

  24. Darren

    Speaking of prediction

    It has me down for a 41 min 10km
    And 19:42 5km

    But I raced a 10km this week and ran 38
    Yet it hasn’t up dated to that, which makes me think the predictor is using averages across training not a point in time race

    • thank you

      what running VO2max does it gives you after the 38 min 10k ? must be 58-62ish ?

    • Jens

      Ok so I have the 935, a F5S and F5X+ and I really shouldn’t get a 945….The CT discount is tempting however. Anyway on Friday I set a new PR for 10k, 42:05mins. Now my watches upped my VO2max to 61. Wonder if the 945 would be less “optimistic”. Perhaps 61 is not too wrong, anyone have a clue? At 5k I was at 20:20 btw. Slight uphill on the last 2k.

    • dquigs

      My VO2 Max for running is 56 and 54 for the bike according to the watch

  25. Howie

    The only missing from this watch is recording HRV while resting (sleeping) or during a 1-minute seated test. The current method is a 3-minute test performed while standing still.

    HRV4Training app can pull data from an Apple Watch (via the Health App).
    link to hrv4training.com

    Ray, do you know of plans to add continuous HRV monitoring to the FR945 and Fnx6?


  26. Avi

    Hi Ray
    Great review like always.
    I read the whole lot + ALL of the comments, but I didn’t notice anything about the barometer / altimeter.
    Do you know if Garmin did anything to improve it’s reliability?
    I’ve had my 935 for 22 months before it stopped working.
    Apparently, other users had the same problem
    link to forums.garmin.com

    • Alex

      I would love to hear an answer for this. I’ve just sent my 2nd 935 back, each failed after 5 months and it’s most likely related to swimming. The issue definitely lies with the location of the sensor on the watch which I see is the same for the 945. My hopes aren’t high that it’s resolved and am now definitely considering the Fenix at this point, although it comes at a higher price tag. ?‍♀️

    • avi

      still no reply from @garmin or @dcrainmaker
      I would only use it for swimming indoors and running, but if a triathlon watch can’t handle this, what’s the point…?
      From what I read around, I’m lucky my sensor lasted for as long as it did, considering it’s actually been in use.

    • I sent 4 x 935s back, 2 for failed barometer (I assume due to swimming), 2 for a cracked HRM. I got a 945, that also had a cracked HRM after 2 months.

      So I gave up on Garmin, currently happy with an Apple Watch, but I’ve also retired from triathlons so won’t need it for multi sport events.

    • Jens Westergren

      Greg, How did you diagnose failed barometer? Always good to recognize the signs

    • Jens – In one case the Altimeter and barometer were flat lining and not changing at all, in the other instance the altimeter was showing readings going up and down massively whilst playing field hockey on a dead level pitch!

    • bonefive

      in fr 935 and fr 945 barometer location is quite weird. it is at least partly underneath the watch so it contacts the wearer skin. Same design flaw can be found in Garmin instinct were barometer is some what an issue. your sweat and skin clog the barometer.

  27. Pete Dean

    No beta software, but this was from my wife’s strava feed tonight, from her 945

  28. Avi

    Regarding RHR
    I consistently get low HR readings throughout the day and night, but my RHR is always higher.
    e.g. today sleeping my HR was at a low of 30, and during work I had a couple of reading circa 33, but still RHR was shown as 37, so I don’t know how they measure RHR

    • Markus G

      Yes, they changed the way it works about 2 years ago. Before it was the lowest reading, now it seems to me that the HR must stay in that low area for a certain time.
      My values are pretty much the same. I have very often low readings in the area of 30-33 (I’ve always had such low readings, not necessarily because I’m a pro athlete ;-) ). The RHR reported by the widget and Connect is more in the range of 36-38, some time down to 34. But never as low as the lowest readings.

  29. Hello,

    about Firstbeat algortihms, does the Forerunner 945 take into account multisport activities like triathlon to gauge the Fitness Condition during an activity ? Because when I do brick runs or triathlons, my FR935 always finds me in bad conditions lol !

  30. Hello,
    I have two Garmin devices a Forerunner 935 and an Edge 530. When I do an activity with heart datas, I see that the training load is moving on each device. But what about the three different categories on the edge (anaerobic, high aerobic and low aerobic) are they impacted by activities on my Forerunner ? I guess no but I’d like to know since the training load stuff is something I like and might be a plus in the decision toward or not to buy the (new) Forerunner 945.
    Thank you
    PS sorry for double posting, just did that for clarity between two different topics

    • Paul W

      I have a Forerunner 945, and Edge 530 and an Edge 1030, all with “True-up” turned-on. It seems like data for all three devices is fairly independent, and I’m not sure how doing a workout using one device impacts data on the others.

      In the Connect app, Under “Training Status” I will often see a message “Data from 3 devices available”, which leads to a screen where you can view training status/load data from each individual device. Usually, this data is different for each device (also, VO2Max is calculated separately for cycling and for running and does not agree because muscles are use differently according to Garmin).

      So, if you’re looking for a unified overview of your fitness or training load while using multiple Garmin devices, I’m afraid that you will be disappointed.

    • Thank you Paul for your detailed answer.

      I have done the experience of comparing training load on my FR935 and Edge 530 before and after an activity, and I do confirm that True Up makes that a workout with a training load of 100 for a run will ramp up the Training Load on the Edge 530 or vice versa. But I don’t know if it will impact the detailed information.
      link to nfkb0.com
      light ride with the edge on recording and FR off recording and then :
      link to nfkb0.com

      Also, you are right it’s a bummer that three devices are separate in the training load in GC. I guess they have done that for people that do not want true up. For me the training load are roughly the same on the FR935 chart and on the edge 530 chart. There are juste a few points difference maybe due to a slight difference in algorithms calculations.

      About VO2max, yup it’s strange. But the strategy is right, the VO2max is different between sports. I have a 7 points difference between cycling and biking VO2max actually in favor of cycling which is very strange. But having been in the lab to test it due to a past medical condition, it’s roughly in the good ballpark.

    • hello Paul, I have consolidated my research : link to nfkb0.com

  31. Wilson Kane

    Interesting issue with the 945. When I have it on my wrist and sit on my TT bars it is causing my edge 1030 to drop power meter signal for a short time. It finds the signal again but intermittently drops. if I take the watch off and stick it in my pocket the 1030 works perfect. This doesn’t happen when I use my 935. Also the 945 was not recording anything at this point it was only used as a watch. Anyone else had this?

    • hello

      I can tell you that on this last saturday race, the power from my powertap G3 was ok on the edge 530 and FR 935 at the start of the bike leg, but I lost the power on the FR935 super quick… so… they are mysteries with theses devices (Ant+ connection, BT was disabled)

      Next time I plan to use the BT connection on my forerunner and the ANt+ on my edge if I keep the Powertap G3 (I am looking after the Assioma…)

  32. Is there any way to load multisport courses (or multiple individual courses)? E.g., I have a run course and a bike course for a triathlon, and I’d like the watch to keep me on track and give me the ClimbPro stats, and eventually the PacePro stats while I’m on the course for both the bike and the run, not just one or the other.

  33. Emanuele

    Hi to all, can I add or change the map loaded on the watch ? I have the American/ Canadian map on the watch but i would like to put European map or better Trekmap Italia, it s like on Fenix 5 where I simply add the map on the root of the watch ?

  34. HoangMinh

    I used 945 and set the GPS mode when cycling to Ultra Trac. After finishing the exam time, the journey map is equivalent to a software on the phone but the distance is only 1/3. Does anyone know why that is? Thanks

  35. DryLander

    Hi Rainmaker – I was wondering if you did any testing on the 945 Optical HR Monitor with the Quick Release strap on?

    Thank you!

  36. Wes

    Hi Ray, awesome detailed knowledgeable review, thank you! One question I had is whether the FR945 will also get the golf and ski resort maps released in the new Fenix 6?

  37. Eric

    Hi, deciding between fenix 6 / 6 pro vs 945, mainly for running. Kindly help. Thanks.

    • avi

      it’s basically the same watch, in a different package.
      the fenix is tougher, heavier and more expensive.

    • Sian

      Not entirely true.

      The 945 experiences optical heart rate sensor cracks that aren’t yet reported in the Fenix6 series as far as I am aware. Due to the major Garmin hardware faults – before we even get on to software – I advise to stick with your current watch and if you must buy a fenix6 or 945 buy it second hand in person or on ebay until the hardware problems are resolved in future versions.

      These watches are too expensive to buy one new with such inherent hardware faults.

  38. Len Weaver

    Thanks for the in-depth reviews! Have you ever tested (or thought about testing) the elevation gain metric for running and cycling using the altimeter? I have found the results to be quite varied when compared against GPS maps. I would certainly be useful to have accurate elevation data.

  39. Hi DC Rainmaker. Want to upgrade my 645M to higher level watch for more data, pulse ox sensor and other. Now options are 945 and F6 pro. BUT Garmin launches new models twice a year, january and september. Question: can I expect updated 945 model in 2020 january? Maybe next 945 (maybe 955) would get a biger screen like f6? Any rummors? Or they update theyr top forerunners every 2 year? Any insights or advice? Thanx.

    • Paul Voorend

      Well, the 935 came out Q2 2017, and the 945 came out Q2 2019… So based on that, I wouldn’t expect the new model until 2021. F6 Pro does have some features the 945 hasn’t, so you’d need to factor in what’s most important for you.

  40. Einundsiebzig

    Today I tried to broadcast the heartrate from my 945 (3.08 beta firmware over to zwift) with no success.
    Even iPad with Wahoo ANT+ Dongle failed. Both finding the watch heartrate and pair, but then no heartrate appears. Anyone else with the same experience?
    Unfortunately garmin forums are down atm!

  41. HoangMinh

    Hi All

    Can I share a calendar from Office 365 to Garmin 945 or Garmin Connect ?

  42. Terry Smithers

    Interesting review – Thank you.
    I have used the Garmin Forerunner 935 for around six months and purchased the Garmin Forerunner 945 as a replacement mainly for the music, pay and maps functionality. I have used the 945 Forerunner for probably around three months now.
    In the real world, I have not used the anticipated functionalities for the following reasons:
    a) Music – Getting music on is problematic. The music that is on there is on more by luck than understanding. I still have not used this fully even though I have some music on there, I cannot work out how to get more music and podcasts on. For example, I have some running music. Despite having spent hours trying to get this music on, I cannot seem to do it.
    b) Pay functionality – The merchants and processors that support this in the UK are few. I had to get a credit card from Santander just to use this functionality. After all of the hassle of getting the credit card, I just cannot be bothered with having to manage another specific credit card just for this so do not use it.
    c) Maps – The maps are not the ones that I want to use. However, having the map functionality is appreciated and I probably will use it eventually although I use alternative technology to provide this for OS explorer mapping.
    d) Pulse OX – The Pulse Ox is way off. My Pulse Ox dips to below 90%-85% frequently. For those that know, anything below 95% is of concern. Using this 945 Forerunner, my results means that I should be getting some extra oxygen somehow and I certainly should be breathless etc. Instead, I am running sub-hour 10k. My partner who is a nurse and uses Pulse Ox equipment says that the results are way out.
    e) Battery life – The battery life is significantly less than the Forerunner 935 especially when the Pulse Ox is in use. Since the Pulse Ox is nowhere near enough accurate, I have turned it off completely. This has saved some of the battery usage but it still does not last anywhere near as long as the Forerunner 935.
    f) Distance accuracy – This is causing me a problem at the moment as the 945 Forerunner seems to be significantly less accurate and not more accurate compared to the Forerunner 935. My distance accuracy is varying by as much as 20% extra. Obviously, this is causing me some difficulties when I am actually running as I cannot see the accurate distance. At home, I can later edit the distance and insert the actual distance run.
    All-in-all, upgrading from the 935 Forerunner was a mistake. However, I am pleased to support Garmin nonetheless as they are making real efforts to improve this technology.

    • Nedim

      >My distance accuracy is varying by as much as 20% extra.

      Wow. Do any of the goodies matter if the GPS distance is way off? If you want to pace yourself with it and the distance is 20% off, what does having a GPS watch even mean anymore? You could take a Fosil smartwatch on sale and be more accurate and have a better smartwatch. I won’t even mention the Apple Watch which would be practically superior in nearly every aspect.

      I too upgraded from the FR935, albeit to the Fenix 6 Pro with the same internals (comparison from today link to imgur.com), and it was a big bloody mistake. Additionally, I note that Ray used a FR935 as the reference watch for in his latest review. Tells you all you need to know.

  43. Mark

    Ray, based on your experience, how much do you think the 945 will be discounted this upcoming Black Friday/year end? Thanks!

    • That’s a tough one. I’d give it a 30% chance, based on historical chances of them putting things on sale.

      But, with the Fenix 6 still seeing some stockage issues, I could see them skipping the semi-common Black Friday Fenix deals, and instead going with the FR945 because they’ve caught up on stock there.

  44. FYI – the 3.08 beta includes the Fenix 6 features, i.e.,
    additional data field configs (5 and 6 fields)
    graphical guage data fields

    link to www8.garmin.com

  45. Chad Vacarella

    Ray, I’ve gone through 3 Forerunner 945s due to horrific GPS tracking. Each time I run in downtown Boston, I find that the GPS has me running though buildings and on the other side of the street. I also find it miss it turns. Have you heard anything about this and/or are you aware of Garmin taking action to rectify this? I’m happy to share any of my running files with you. Thanks.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      I’m also from Boston and GPS tracking (GPS + GLONASS) is a hit or miss. In downtown (high-rises) Boston it’s always really bad. I live in the South End (3/4 story buildings, no high-rises and lots of open spaces) and the GPS is really good somedays, and really bad in other days. This is what’s most disappointing about the 945: its inconsistency.

      I understand that GPS tracking can be really trick in some areas (near tall buildings, under bridges, etc). Looking at my older watches (935, 920xt, Fenix 3, etc..) they all struggled consistently in the same areas but they were also always great in other places. The 945 doesn’t do that. You never know where it’s going to disappoint you or where it’s going to shine. I usually do a 4mi loop that goes from the South End -> Charles River -> Hatch Shell -> Boston Common -> back to the South End. By the river (super open, no buildings around, no trees), the tracking has always been amazing with my older watches. The 945 sometimes puts me deep in the water.. hahah Shrug.

      I like the Firstbeat features, but overall, this watch has been a disappointment to me. And don’t get me started on the battery… it sucks. The 935 would last more than a week with heavy training (up to 12h, GPS, lots of ANT+ sensors, etc). The 945 last 4 days without a lot of training and I’m not using music/bluetooth, no Pulse Oximeter, no custom watch face. Nothing!

    • reading this made me happy to have choosen the Fenix 6 instead of the 945 !

      I know it doesn’t resolve the track issue, but Stryd is good for distance pace accuracy in city like yours


    • Chad

      I just received my 4th Forefunner 945. I haven’t opened it yet but will let you know if this one is better with GPS tracking. I am in the South End and don’t really run near any of the taller buildings. I don’t understand how the tracking can be so terrible. More to come.

    • Jeremy

      I’m quite in the same position as you, trying to decide between a F6 and a 945 (currently got a Suunto S9….just want to change :) ).
      Main sport until some months (or a year or two ago) was running/trail, but I’ve added quite a bunch of cycling, swimming…and you guess, aiming at triathlons (actually engages for IM Nice 2020….). But still planning to run some nice trails :)

      Which elements made you choose the F6 (pro?) against the 945?
      As far as I can see, those are exactly the same watches SW-wise, and the F6 only differentiate itself through construction (and being 1mm thicker for the 6 pro).

    • mostly design/look.

      I preferred the Fenix 6.

    • Nedim

      Hey Chad,

      Interesting to read this. I have massive GPS accuracy issues with the Fenix 6 Pro and after talking with support twice, they came back and recommended switching to the FR945, as the metal bezel on the F6 is allegedly is disrupting GPS signaling more than the plastic case on the FR945 (they did’t say plastic, they used another term, it’s plastic though).

      I am very disappointed to see that the FR945 is plagued by the same issues. I think it is very telling that Ray used the FR935, not 945, as his reference device on his recent review. I am also disappointed that he is completely ignoring this massive issue.

      If I had an Apple phone, I would probably just switch to an AW5. No point in Garmin’s anymore.

    • Levon

      Yes, I’m not impressed with the 945 GPS accuracy either .. can’t say it’s any better (if even) than my previous 230. That’s a bit disappointing.

      Overall, based on features, the 945 is a definite step up from the 230 (and should be at that price), so no regrets. I’m hoping software updates will improve the watch.

    • chad

      I reached out to Ray and request that he speak with Garmin’s engineers about the chipset in the Garmin 945/Fenix 6 and the issues we are seeing with its accuracy. To be determined. Any suggetsions on alternative triathlon watches that has music on it? I’m not a huge apple fan (especially in light of Ray’s recent discussion on the new watch) but I’m willing to try a new brand.

    • Jeremy

      This may be the strongest and most important point actually :D
      (After seeing and trying both in store, I came to the same conclusion (and frankly, coming from a Suunto S9, the 945 was really a hard choice to make…so I’m waiting for my f6 after…5 years of Suuntos)

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Well it is disappointing. I hope the new Sony chipset will mature over time through firmware and software updates. At the moment it’s all over the place as some people and myself pointed out. I do miss my 935 to be honest. Reliable GPS tracking and excellent battery. The 945 doesn’t have any of that. To some people, Music and Garmin Pay are useful features, but I couldn’t care less for them.

    • yqz

      AW5 has poor GPS accuracy, worse than iPhone. Increase by 300m to 400m every 10 kilometers.

    • I definitely haven’t seen anything like that.

    • yqz

      Thanks for reply.
      I used the Milanese band. Is it due to its magnetism? I will test it another day.

  46. Nissim Yochai

    Hi Any idea when the treadmill issue with Garmin 945 will be solved?
    every run is a Marathon world record pace and calibration doesn’t help.

  47. Kim Tang

    I’m still waiting for a garmin Watch that will allow emergency calls to be made without having to bring a phone!!

  48. Brian

    DC – I’ve noticed in other reviews/posts you’ve mentioned the 935 a few times as a comparison watch for activities with other watches. Are you still wearing the 935 instead of the 945, or were those “935” posts just typos? If not, why still with the 935?

    I’m a 945 user and the experience has been a bit frustrating for many reasons so I’m curious if you’re experiencing the same.

    • I often use the FR935 for comparisons merely because the GPS track quality is so good. So so good.

      If my wrists weren’t tied up on other devices at the moment, the FR945 would be on there as I find the FR945 tracks largely acceptable enough for my personal use.

    • Levon

      Do you think the 945 will ever rise to the level of the 935 with regard to GPS tracking (via software tweaks), or is this a fundamental limitation of the chip/hardware design?

    • Brian

      Thanks for the reply. I really don’t have issues with my 945 GPS tracks but then I use Stryd for accurate pace/distance anyway.

      It’s a few other things that have been frustrating with my 945:

      * – Very very slow syncs for activities (hours, sometimes over 12 hours to sync a 45min activity)

      * – The reboot issue when at altitude and trying to start or save an activity.

      * – Battery life not as advertised.

  49. Monte

    Hi Ray,

    I’m interested in real world battery life data that is often hard to get from manufacturers, in particular charge time. My Fenix 3S paired with a Run HR strap died after 15 hours use.

    I’m looking for a device that can take me through a 48 hour event without resorting to Garmin UltraTrac mode. The Suunto 9 might be the only option unless any of these watches charge quickly. I can top-up at food stops, but the Fenix is slow to charge.


    • Tracy

      You could just do what I have done:
      Scour ebay for a garmin vivoactive original (no optical HR). It seems to get around 8 hours battery with really good GPS tracks when paired with my HR monitor.

      On the go charging is easy, as it charges super fast! You can even buy an old charger and squeeze a square rechargeable battery in it and clip this on to the watch, giving around 15 hours battery life for shorter races.

      Over the years I compared my fenix, 935 and recently returned 945 to the tracks of the square vivoactive: they are the same and the 945 worse than the vivoactive! Crazy but true. It’s small, square and a very thin smartwatch. Compared to your Fenix it’ll be like running with no watch on, even with a tiny battery pack to recharge it a few times on the go. The lack of watch weight makes up for carrying a tiny 9V battery pack to recharge it a few times in my experience.

      With an app called connectIQ called “Hike” you can change the title manually to ‘Run’ and you’ll have your map track, GPS data and elevation derived from GPS. You can then auto-correct this in strava, garmin or using the computer application “Golden Cheetah” to autocorrect incorrect elevation.

  50. Hello! Does this watch has the 24×7 respiration rate tracking, like Vivoactive 4?

  51. Sumeet Gupta


    Need information on Garmin 945, if I but in US region I will get the North America region maps, if I move to some other region for work like APAC or Africa or Australia, will it possible to update maps according to region which I am going to stay for some time and if I back to US region will it be possible to roll back to North America region maps.

  52. Janyne Kizer

    It’s getting more colder and darker here and my riding has moved indoors. I am using Zwift for more and more and I’m super disappointed that my Garmin 945 does not take the Zwift (or Sufferfest) workouts that are synched to Garmin Connect into consideration for things like daily heart rate (Connect displays wrist HR, not the chest strap used on Zwift), Body Battery, recovery time (If you are going to display it to me each time I run, please make it somewhat accurate). When I got my 945, I actually considered getting an Edge 530 as well so that they could TrueUp together but with the lack of integration with Zwift/Sufferfest, I’m rethinking that.

    Also, it would be really nice of there was a Body Battery report in Garmin Connect’s web interface.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Why don’t you log Zwift/Sufferfest/TrainerRoad activities using your watch? I do that for all my indoor workouts and it’s works perfectly well. I setup up TrainerRoad to only sync with Strava. And because that usually happens before my Garmin syncs, the activity is not duplicated on Strava. This way, my watch 945 logs everything so I can still get Body Battery, recovery time, etc.

    • kuifje777

      Yes, if you log the Zwift (or other, I use Trainerroad) ride with your Garmin 945 at the same time, it will be taken into account. In addition, I use a Polar H10, which transmits HR via Bluetooth to my computer and via ANT+ to my watch at the same time. This means that data is essentially identical. Some newer Garmin straps do the same (i.e., they transmit via Bluetooth and ANT+ at the same time).

      For me, however, both the Trainerroad data and my Garmin data show up on Strava. However, that is only a minor problem as I just delete the Garmin data to avoid the duplication after the sync.

  53. Sandeep

    Dear Ray/ Other long term users,
    I am close to ordering the 945. Been reading the forums here at DCR as well Garmin forums, and seen a pattern of bugs/ issues. Can someone help clear a few doubts.

    1. Button issues – Appears the initial rev / shipments had a faulty button design, new lots seem to have that fixed. Can someone who bought their units in Sep-Oct-Nov confirm the same?
    2. Battery life – LOT of folks discussed terrible battery life in May (yeah been reading a LOT of these forum discussions), and not so much in the last few months. So have the new FW releases fixed the battery issues? (this is assuming PulseOxy is turned off).
    3. GPS accuracy – From the 945 review and from MarQ/ Fenix6 reviews that I read, 945 GPS is ‘decent’ enough. Is that your experience as well? I have had bad gps track on a 400m running tracks with my present 920xt.

    Grateful for your answers here!

  54. Jeff

    what are the chances of apple music being a viable option to work with the garmin 945?

  55. Emilio

    I went from 935 to 945 because I like having maps at the wrist when exploring places I do not know by running, then being able to return to start without trials and errors. This being said, the better reliability of the 935 GPS is quite obvious. The 945 GPS (set to GPS+GLONASS and 1s recording) is sometimes way off course, and I suspect that in those cases also the interpretation of the running session is wrong – maybe because of miscalculated pace? Example: 10x30s sprint session, GPS track OK, classified as “sprint”; 14x30s sprints, GPS off course, classified as “base”. Well ok … in the end who cares about how Gamin Connect classifies the run? Still it never happened with the 935. If it turns out to be an intrinsic weakness of the GPS sensor, impossible to correct by better firmware, then … maybe I did not make the wisest choice buying this particular smartwatch iteration. The GPS is the one sensor that must work reliably in these devices, it is as simple as that.

    • Nedim

      This is exactly it — the GPS in a GPS watch *must* function reliably and it does not. At this point buying the FR935 or fenix 6 for the GPS functionality is not, as you nicely put it “the wisest choice”.

      All the functionality that Garmin built around GPS tracking is useless if the GPS itself is compromised. I sometimes can’t tell which street I ran by looking at the track. How can I trust it for pacing then??? Short answer is, I can’t.

      I wish Ray would recognize this officially somewhere. He does implicitly by using the FR935 as his reference device. He has built his brand on honesty and trustworthiness and service to athletes. Just like he blasted Garmin for a nonfunctioning openwater swim and they fixed it, the GPS issue needs to be called out. If it can’t be fixed then this has to be removed from the recommended devices list.

    • I don’t understand. Seriously, I don’t.

      I’ve called out the less than awesome nature of the Sony GPS chipset every single time I’ve discussed it. Everywhere. Overwhelmingly everywhere. I’ts nuts.

      Heck, it accounts for 25% of my summary section. I’ve also got an entire GPS accuracy section on it.

      There’s nobody out there that’s showed the shortcomings of this GPS chipset (across all the vendors that use it), more than I.

      And yet – despite all that – by and large 99% of people who have bought a FR945/FR245/Fenix6 are perfectly happy with the GPS track accuracy. Those of us that hard-core GPS track-peep have our quibbles, but these days it rarely impacts my runs/rides/etc. Of which, you can find virtually all of them up on Strava to judge for yourself.

      As for using a FR935 as a secondary source the reason is super simple: It’s not a Sony GPS chipset. And while I could use a Polar V800 instead, I can’t log ANT+ sensor data properly with it (and Suunto’s .FIT file processing is horrifically bad).

    • Emilio

      on the positive side, I have learned to check the actual position on the map to make sure that the GPS has locked in the correct position and not somewhere else

  56. Trond Svartvatn

    Regarding the different activities that can be logged on the FR945 by default. One of my favorite activities is not listed here, skitouring (if not familiar, skiing uphill with skins, and going down alpine style). I have made an activity myself, copying the cross-country activity, and adjusted the screens for my use. That is including elevation and vertical speed and more. Still, I do not like the way this shows up in the connect app. This still says cross-country, and the activity is far from cross-country. Would it be better to use the “other” activity, and make it all new? What does people do when making a new activity? Also I miss features like being able to sort summary on activities, like getting total elevation on a season for only one activity.

    I am in general very happy with the FR945, but there are small things that are annoying, and things that I believe could be easily fixed. Like being able to make the activity screens in the phone connect app.

    • Jens herr Westergren

      I agree with you Trond. I still have a 920XT and choose not to upgrade to the 935 because is does not support Ski Mountaineering. However, there is one larger issue that I would ask Ray about, because it does not have a Skimo mode, I have to choose Running if I want the running metrics, but then those filters mess up downhill speed and altitude. If I change to cycling mode, it measures downhill speed and elevation change correctly, but I loose running metrics. Is there a way to work around this or does Garmin just need to get their s…. together? Living without large mountain, charging up a 150m hill 10 times in a very controlled fashion exposes just how bad these watches actually are.

  57. Jess

    I have seen some reviews that the battery life is not as good as claimed on the garmin site.

    Has anyone done an Ironman with one of these (14 hours+) I’m concerned that I will not be able to track my FTP as well as HR on the bike, then track HR on the run.

  58. Old Bull

    Late to the party, but I would love to see the studies that they chose for heat acclimatization… I’ve never seen one that says you can possibly get to max in four days (more like 10, with a reasonable number of benefits happening after five). I am intrigued, though, and wonder what algorithm they use and if they have a minimum amount of time per effort (about the shortest you see is an hour) and for days in a row (until you gain benefits you pretty much need to do it each day).

    • The tech behind it is FirstBeat, and the opening paragraph on their explainer bit basically explains that while heat acclimation takes weeks, the majority of the benefit occurs in the first few days:

      link to firstbeat.com

      Usually FirstBeat is pretty good, if asked, about providing the specific studies they leverage.

  59. Alex Masidlover

    I’m considering reluctantly coming back to Garmin (thanks Suunto and your Movescount debacle) and am still concerned about the long term reliability of their devices – particularly if paying £300 or more for a device.

    I’ve been aware of the OHR sensor crack issues on the latest watches (the main thing putting me off buying a 935 if one pops up on sale) and had assumed that Garmin would be working on a fix, but just found this on the Garmin forums:

    ‘This is what I got from Garmin today regarding my 935: “Thank you for contacting Outdoor Product Support. Since the epoxy coating covering the optical sensor is not vital to its performance, to have this layer peel away is only considered normal wear and tear to the watch. I can assure you, this will also not impact the water proofing of the watch. “‘

    So are Garmin not planning to come up with a permanent resolution? @Ray do you have any insight into this issue?

    I realise this probably only affects a relatively small number of devices, but at the end of the day if I’ve paid £300 for a multisport watch and its then not waterproof after 2 years and 1 day (just out of warranty), then it won’t help me much to know that I’m one of the unlucky few…

    • Howie

      I can’t wait to get off the Garmin-train. I couldn’t resist pulling the trigger on the sudden drop in price of the Polar Vantage M.

    • Alex Maron

      Hi fellow Alex M!

      Sweden has normal summer temperatures and colder winter temperatures. Even just using my 935 and 945 in normal conditions in summer the optical heart rate has cracked. I have not had the 945 long enough to see about winter cracks but it is obvious to me that if it happens in summer it is even more likely to happen in winter, as indoors temperatures are warm and outdoor temperatures are cold.

      Garmin don’t care. You can have warranty replacements for the 935 and I am in the process of sending back my 945 for a full refund. I’ve had Polar and Suunto watches and their optical heart rate sensor do not crack in the same sports usage. Interestingly the waterproofness of the watch is affected because there is no air gap between the internal heart rate LEDs and the motherboard of the watch.

      TLDR: Avoid unless you wish to send back watches every few months!

    • Alex

      Hi fellow Alex M!

      Sweden has normal summer temperatures and colder winter temperatures. Even just using my 935 and 945 in normal conditions in summer the optical heart rate has cracked. I have not had the 945 long enough to see about winter cracks but it is obvious to me that if it happens in summer it is even more likely to happen in winter, as indoors temperatures are warm and outdoor temperatures are cold.

      Garmin don’t care. You can have warranty replacements for the 935 and I am in the process of sending back my 945 for a full refund. I’ve had Polar and Suunto watches and their optical heart rate sensor do not crack in the same sports usage. Interestingly the waterproofness of the watch is affected because there is no air gap between the internal heart rate LEDs and the motherboard of the watch.

      TLDR: Avoid unless you wish to send back watches every few months!

    • Damien Miller

      DCR is doing a good job of reviewing the short term use of the watches, but not the longer term.

      The Fenix5 was a disaster, as DCR noted but in more polite language.

      The 935 and 945 have optical HR sensors that crack, yet even if I wear mine 24/7 it still shows cracks and fractures! When people are blamed for normal every day use of a watch you know the company has a design and hardware problem! The OHR sensor faces the upper wrist and even if I clean my fifth (yes, fifth 935!!!!) it still cracks after around 5 or 6 months. The irony is I’ve been laid up with an injury and this watch has only been used as a watch, yet it’s still cracked. It’s clearly a design flaw across the range and yet here we are today still pretending it’s an isolated batch of watches. It’s just not true, it’s an obvious design fault. It’s too expensive to accept this fault. Avoid.

  60. yogesh kadam

    As usual in-depth and very useful review.

  61. JohnW

    Anyone know how to get speed from a smart trainer (Wahoo Kickr snap) to the FR945?
    I get speed from the trainer on my Edge 530, but given the limitations of physio true-up I’d like to record all workouts on the watch.
    Is it just not supported on the watches, only on the bike computers?

  62. Jens Westergren

    I’ve got a question that I have asked Garmin about twice, and never got an answer. Hopefully the experts here can help me. Since Garmin does not suppport Ski Mountaineering (SKIMO) I either have to choose about getting correct speed and altitude going downhill or uphill, since Garmin have developed sport specific filters. If I choose running, I get pretty useful running metrics that actually work pretty well going uphill on skis, but downhill speed and altitude is completely useless. If I run it in cycling mode, I get correct downhill speed and altitude change, but loose the running metrics. Is there a work around? Since Garmin apparently has more customers jumping out of airplanes than doing ski mountaineering.

  63. David

    Hi guys,
    I have just updated via Garmin Express the maps of my 945 and after the update, the loading of maps for any activity is very slow and the round trip course function takes a life to calculate even the first option. I have been told of a reset but I do not know how this affects the training status, activity history, etc.
    Thanks for any help.

  64. William Hatheway

    Thank you for the super fast reply (and all the work you do on your site!). I did read through and saw the following:

    “Average acclimatization rates are roughly 50% after the first week of exposure, and roughly 80 % after the second week of activity in the new environment.”

    So half at seven days isn’t most at four days. I’m not at all being snarky, I really thank you for the insight and link, just I think that most should know that it takes longer than four days to mostly acclimate, and it’s also important to have a look under the hood to understand their own assumptions when calculating acclimitization (acclimation is under lab settings, not outside) and most sources have it that you need to do 60-100 minutes in consecutive days for five days to start to get higher sweat rates and some other benefits, while it takes up to ten days to get most benefits, and then you can do a similar workout every three days after to maintain.

    At any rate, I’m such a neophyte that I want to make clear that I am no expert and much appreciate this site.

  65. Kuifje777

    The most recent beta for the Forerrunner 945 now includes the swim features from the Swim 2 and more: link to www8.garmin.com

    I am very excited!

  66. Ryan Paxton

    Hi, I assume you are still using this and I am wondering about it’s durability so far? I’m on my second warranty replacement 935. Now the wrist hr is cracked, the software no longer tracks all day hr, and my chest strap has broken again

  67. Bob

    Hi everyone

    Garmin is now pushing SW Version 3.90 that is bringing many Fenix 6 series features to the 945 (at least those that I care about).


    • BikePower

      Seriously? My 945 is reporting no updates available and I’m on 2.8.

    • Haalewin

      Do you know exactly what is missing now from the 945 vs Fenix 6? I believe it’s the Ski Mountaineering profile, the widget glances and the new golf maps. Correct? I know the widget glances are coming on the future but does any know if the new golf profile will come to the 945 too?

    • BikePower – try restarting your watch and see if it offers to update then. Alternatively, you can connect it to a computer as well and that’ll usually kick-start it over.

      As for the added golf bits – I don’t believe that’s planned to come to the FR945 from my past discussion with Garmin on it, but certainly things might have changed in the last few months since I asked.

    • BikePower

      Thanks for the suggestions for updating the 945, but none of them worked (restart and connecting to desktop Connect both report no updates available). Additionally, the only firmware downloads that I can find online from Garmin are for 2.8 or a beta for 3.77. Perhaps 2.8 is still the current GA firmware in the U.S.?

    • Aaron Hagopian

      Agreed I looked around and that is what Garmin site lists but my watch is running 3.90 and before that I think I was at 3.30 both stable, no beta.

    • Frank Young

      I’m on 3.90 (d1422c8)

    • BikePower

      My 945 finally updated to firmware 3.30 last night around 3:45 a.m. (I know because I was wearing it and it woke me up when it restarted with the firmware update, which was very annoying). Garmin certainly takes their time pushing updates ….

    • Bas

      yesterday night my 945 got updates to 3.30 and last night my 945 got another update to 4.00.


      Hey DC! Do you know what is the issue with FR945 firmware update details? It seems like the download details for 945 (link to www8.garmin.com) is stuck to version 2.80 when clearly version 4.00 has been rolled out.
      Then there is another page that says current beta version is 3.77 (when I’ve been to 3.90 for a couple of weeks):link to www8.garmin.com
      Finally there is this 3rd page from garmin that displays no information whatsoever: link to www8.garmin.com

      I think garmin has really messed up with the “Updates & Downloads”, and not only that, for 945. I didn’t have such issues with 935. TBH I never had any issues with 935. GPS worked the moment I hit the run button and I never experienced a lag, now I have the typical 15minute delay with 3.90 update and even before that 935 was much faster in finding GPS, the SONY chipset was a bit of a failure. Spotify is also giving me the “Content expired” page and then freezes, I even think I got better HR metrics with 935.
      My whole experience with 935 was better in general. I rarely use Spotify since I’m trying to focus on my pace and music won’t help, NFC, ok, i’ve used it once or twice in the past 3 months but I could have lived without it and the better battery is a joke. I had a better battery with 935 and I think the maps are to blame. I really hoped there was an option to disable maps and extend my battery life but I don’t think that’s supported.

  68. Frank Young

    My music craps out on every long run. First time was last week about 90 minutes into a half marathon. Second time was yesterday about 60 minutes into a treadmill drill. Yesterday, I continued getting pace change alerts for another 20 minutes or so then those stopped too, FWIIW, I’m playing a downloaded Amazon Unlimited Playlist over a Trekz Air headset. I have my 945 set to Smart Notification Off During Activity. Both times, I was more interested in continuing the activity than messing with my watch but could not get the music to start up again by tapping the headset button that usually starts and pauses the music.

    As Ray warned, my Pulse Ox is way wrong low but I am a big fan of the body battery idea. If I drink more alcohol than I should my 945 refuses to recharge my body battery much at all no matter how long I sleep. How does it know? I’m perfectly happy with my GPS tracks and distances but am not an urban exerciser. I still have my 935 but it has been relegated to loaner status.

    • Frank Young

      Music stopped again today. 41 minutes into a run. Could not figure out how to get it restarted without stopping the activity so I just did without. Audio alerts continued coming from the headphones for the 15 minute balance of the run. Earlier in the day, I was listening to the same playlist for a few hours while marking a race course but not running any kind of activity. No problems.

  69. Frank Young

    I went on a ride this morning that was more surveying expedition than exercise activity. As usual, I had both my 520+ and FR945 on board. I use the 520+ primarily as a display and the 945 as a data collector. Today I used them both to measure mileage. Both units get their mileage information from a gamin Speed Sensor 2 mounted on the front hub of my road bike both computers are set to use a manual circumference of 2110mm.

    Most of my rides have the same the same beginning and end routes and consist of an ≈6.5 mile outbound leg, an ≈7.6 mile irregular loop and an ≈6.7 mile inbound leg that is slightly different from the outbound leg. I wanted to measure each of the three parts so that I could add a fourth out and back component of varying lengths in preparation for a Century I plan to do in May.

    This is what my two Garmin’s gave me for cumulative distance:
    FR945 520+
    Beginning to Common Point A 6.52 6.52
    Round Loop Back to Point A 14.08 14.10
    Point A to End 20.79 20.84

    That shouldn’t happen should it? Wheel goes around—both head units add 2110mm to the distance. At least that is the theory. More perplexing the 945 “slippage” or 520+ “inflation” seems to get bigger over time.

    A few weeks ago, I thought I had nailed down a 25 mile time trial course I had created for myself. On the first test run the 520+ reported 25.00. The 945 reported 24.80. What’s going on here?


      My guess is that Garmin uses Speed sensor only for instant speed but for the distance and the trace, uses GPS. So, depends witch GPS (glonas, galileo or so) and chipset (Sony on 945, not sure on 520+).

    • Frank Young

      Based on everything I can find, all Edge units—if connected to a speed sensor—default to that for distance measurement. I’m going to guess that the 945 does the same. I did another test earlier today on the Natchez Trace between mile marker 106 and 116 and back again. My 935 (not connected to any speed sensor) confirmed the 10 mile distance on GPS alone in both directions. The 520+ came up 0.02 short northbound and 0.01 short on the return trip. The 945 came up 0.03 short outbound and 0.04 short on the way back. I’m thinking the 945 deficit is due to a rounding error somewhere in Garmin’s math. In any event, not a problem. I have adjusted the 520+’s circumference from 2110 to 2113 and the 945 from 2110 to 2117.

      Anyway, this is insane. If I spent half as much time training as I do worrying about inconsequential stuff like this, I would be a contender. On the other hand, without the gadgets to play with, I probably would not exercise at all :).

    • emilio

      The difference might be due to the initial calibration of the wheel diameter, done automatically the first time the speed sensor is paired. I would not be surprised that if the sensor is paired to different devices in different moments the calibration is not the same: different tire pressures can be enough to generate different calculated diameters.

      In any case, in today’s ride the 945 reported 28.00 km, the 830 27.88; it seems to me that a difference of 0.5% is not much of an issue … right?

  70. Adrienne

    Hi I want a HRM that vibrates at a preset HR (or as a second choice beeps), will allow me to display my HR on my tablet (for my physio to watch as I exercise) and I can see the percentage of time my HR is in each HR zone in real time on the watch ( as the polar a370 does).

  71. Aaron Hagopian

    Anyone notice the GPS accuracy recently improved in the last 2 weeks on their 945? I’m pretty sure I received a GPS Software update notification about a week ago or so but my unit software version didn’t change. It’s showing 4.0 with GPS at 2.7. I’m attaching some pictures of my last 4 runs. There’s a small area where I back track down the same path. Since I’ve owned this watch, that back track area is always wildly far apart which has always made me question the GPS accuracy. The last 2 runs I recorded, the back track is very close together (pretty much looks like it used to with my Polar V800). Anyone else seeing this? We finally getting the GPS accuracy you would expect?

  72. mark collinson

    Minor issue. Perhaps someone has a solution.
    When using smart reply to an SMS the default signature is
    -sent from my Garmin.

    I can turn this off (and back on again) but cannot figure out how to change the Sig.

    Has anyone managed this?

  73. MattyA

    What is the maximum number of ANT+ sensors? Is it improved over the 935 (where I keep having to delete sensors and amazingly will upgrade solely to be able to have more sensors!)

  74. Gerhard

    Great review! Thanks for all of the detail.

  75. Thomas Molin

    Hello! How is the battery i have an Suunto 9 and will change to an FR945 (my Suunto 9 is Stolen).
    I get just under 6-7 days, run 3 times @ 40min and I walk about 12-15k have it set to smartwatch mod.

    How will the 945 be?

  76. Bill Schwabenland

    Ray – in one of your videos you mentioned that you use the onboard strength training app on the watch. Just wondering how you use it or if there is a video on that? Do you just account for the time that you spend in the gym or actually go to the trouble of tracking sets/reps? I tried this a couple of times but it seems to be more trouble than it was worth.

    • Frank

      Hi Bill,

      I use this app 2-3 times per week but frankly do not pay a lot of attention to the data collected. Primarily, I am interested in seeing the activity identified as the type of activity it is as well as the calorie burn associated with it. I always wear a chest strap or higher powered optical HR monitor like the Polar OH1 for these activities as the type of movements involved interfere with the accuracy of the onboard HR sensor.

      My strength training workouts are 100% on machines. The app properly identifies the type of exercise and counts reps correctly less than half of the time. You can go in after the fact and correct the information but that never seemed to be worths the effort to me. I’m more interested in knowing when and how often I have trained, heart rates achieved and totals for work and rest segments. When heart rates drop I start considering increasing weight. For those things it works great once you get used to hitting the lap key to begin and end rest cycles.

    • Bill Schwabenland

      Thanks Frank. Makes sense.

      I had even tried capturing the details in notes both in Garmin Connect and Final Surge (which is fed from Garmin Connect but the notes don’t come across) but it’s not worth the effort either. Fact is, If I don’t write down what I am doing while I am doing it, I won’t remember.

      But I agree – just categorizing as strength work, with the work and rest times, is probably the way to go.

  77. Melanie Barnes

    Thank you. I am working toward an Olympic distance in my retirement although I am returning from a torn hamstring..14 months of no activity. This helped me decide what watch to purchase as a gift from my very supportive brother. Thanks for all the details as I now feel I might actually use the watch efficiently. I have a Fitbit.

    • Thomas Molin

      I think the watch is awesome, bought one after my Suunto 9 was stolen. I use my watch spinning, cycling and running. Will try to navigate When out cycling In the woods (gravel bike) .

  78. Patrick

    Airplane Mode – Does the Garmin Forerunner 945 have Airplane Mode?

    Here (link to tizenhelp.com) it is listed, bit I don’t see it on the Garmin updates log or in the online manual?

    • Thomas Molin

      Yes I do have Airplane mod.

    • Patrick

      Hi. Thank you for your answer, Garmin wrote me the follwoing:

      Since the watch only has a Bluetooth connection, you can close it as follows:

      Deactivate the Bluetooth connection
      ANT + sensors only become active when you start an activity and are therefore not permanently on.
      The watch only connects to WiFi if it is in the corresponding network.
      The Forerunner 945 does not have a direct flight mode function.
      Basically, you can also switch off everything individually.

  79. David Ardley

    I have noticed that the garmin is missing a lot of Strava segments (not matching) – even on country paths where there is little opportunity to deviate from the route. Friend uses an iPhone only with Strava and it seems to match all of them. I set watch to GPS only and 1 second recording, but made no difference.

    Any ideas to fix this, or a better way to line up the segments ?

  80. Andrea

    Hi everyone,
    @Ray, Hi everyone,
    When I Zwift, I record every time one with my 945 and the other with the laptop.
    After some test with an Xcadey XpowerS, I found some quirk in the max power recorded from the watch.
    So, Long story short, the 945 is recording 3/4% less in the max power, as you can see there:
    link to zwiftpower.com
    That one is the same output (DiretoX) recorded once from zwift “2020-04-21-17-55-14” and the other with the 945 “4817204174”.
    How is that possible? I have also 1 second recording in the 945.

  81. Steven

    Great review! Would the Forerunner 935 or 945 be better for walking, swimming, running and hiking? I’m looking to upgrade from a Garmin Instinct. I could swing the price of the 935 right now, but would have to wait and save up for the 945. Is the 945 worth the extra $100-150 or would the 935 work for me?

    • Jens

      Hi Steven,

      The main differences I would say are
      Garmin pay – very convenient IMO
      Maps with great graphics for route navigation
      Much more accurate calculations of race time estimations.
      If any of those sound interesting, go for 945, if not get the cheaper 935 :)

    • Steven

      Thanks for the reply. I’m not that interested in Garmin pay or music. I take my phone with me during exercise. I do like the the maps since I love to hike, but can you upload hiking maps or tracks to the 935? If so, I could do that and save money and get a 935.

  82. Nick Margot

    Is there any time line on the 955? Its been a year since the 945 was released and all I read online about the fenix 6 pro is endless HR issues. Would rather buy at the start of the product cycle even if it means having constant bug fixes.

    • David

      If Ray knows anything then he is under NDA and cannot say anything. Be eagle eyed about whats on his wrists in photos. :)

      Speculation is a launch in the near future of a 955 and 955-LTE version.
      Present discounting of the 945 may suggest sooner rather than later. (Although COVID-19 may delay)

  83. Rishi

    Hi Ray

    Big fan of the content that you put out. I am a cross-fitter and really looking for the metrics after a workout session(usually use an external chest strap during the workout).

    I am torn between the 945 and the Polar Grit X. Things that are important to me are
    – Sleep Tracking
    – Metrics on my training load, recovery, am I peaking or not doing that well during my training sessions.
    – VO2 Max (showing general health progression)

    Since 945 is so feature-rich I more inclined to it. Would you recommend this over the polar based on my needs?



      Hi Rishi,

      I did crossfit for years and I’d go nowhere near those watches. You will get shitty results
      Moreover I’ve never had more inaccurate sleeps metrics than that from garmin. I don’t know why thecompany is doing such a horrible job in that aspect.
      VO2 Max is something that garmin manager to measure accurately, I think, but I’m not sure If it can be updated appropriately with crossfit training only, unless you also run

  84. Troy

    Does anyone know if Trailforks, a mountain biking app works on this device? Its similar to strava

    • David

      According to the publicly available documentation for the Trailforks app documentation doesn’t have it listed as a supported device.

  85. Diego

    Please compare its OHR in water with the Polar and Suunto peers.

  86. Matthew

    Rey (or anyone else that can add input),

    I am currently rocking the 935. I’ve had it for about 1-1/2 years, and I’ve really enjoyed it compared to the other Garmin watches I’ve had (235 and Vivoactive 3). Besides for the common problems that most people had; the heart rate monitor cracking and the barometer crashing that I can no longer get an accurate elevation in my activities, it has been a good watch. I do not NEED an upgrade right now, but I have some cash in my pocket to burn.

    I average about 40 miles a week, try to swim 3x a week, and going to add a lot of bicycle training in order to complete/finish my FIRST Ironman this upcoming year (depending on when the whole COVID situation settles down and races can resume).

    Right now I am torn between the 945 and the Fenix 6 Pro (maybe sapphire too). I’ve been researching for the past week, and read countless threads and reviews on both. I know that both are seamlessly the same. But the Garmin website has got some good deals right now, with the 945 at $479.99!!! But that also worries me on why Garmin has such a low price for the 945. Is it because the 955 will be launched soon, or they are making it cheaper than the Fenix 6 prices to justify it being the more “elite” watch?

    Would love to hear your input, because this has been a very tough decision for me lol.

    Thank you,


      Hey Matthew,

      previous owner of 935 which switched over to 945. In a few words, it’s not worth the upgrade. I’ve also had so many issues since I bought this, but it was my mistake since this is expected with new garmin products. I can say that now, after almost 3 months i’ve got not issue whatsoever.
      I’ve never considered Fenix 6 because of the weight and bulkiness. For me the the main reasons I bought 945 were

      1. Same weight and low profile as 935
      2. Ability for garmin pay which allowed me to go for a long run and at the same time not carry anything else with me than my airpods and my watch, which brings me to
      3. Ability to play spotify music over airpods
      4. New heart sensor that is capable of getting heart rate inside pool and open water so I don’t need to always use a tri belt (the oxymeter is a joke and I don’t use it

      other than those 4 there is nothing else (no better battery life on 945), and believe I could have lived without them with 935.
      If I were you I’d wait for 955, although there are no announcements from garmin it seems like the only sensible way to move forward is by taking 945 which was build over 5X’s chassis and build it over 6’s chassis + thinning the bezels.
      I consider thinning the bezels important as you can fit more metrics into your screen. Note that a few updates after 945 came out it receive identical software updates to fenix 6 which among other let you configure 6 fields in a training screen but with such a small screen it’s not worth it

    • Lars van der Huiz

      I agree with Laertis.

      Garmin Pay doesn’t support many cards in the UK, the listening is hit and miss for the spotify streaming, the Oyxgen sensor integration doesn’t work well at all and is basically as good as useless, to be honest.

      I have had four 935’s and I have avoided using my current 935 in swimming, water of any kind and no sun lotion anywhere near it. The barometer still works and the optical heart rate sensor hasn’t cracked yet after one year. It needs tender loving care. It also has very long battery life and can handle up to three days of long hiking before needing charged. I would stay with the 935 if I were to give anybody any advice, but don’t swim or use chemicals anywhere near it.

  87. Klaus

    This year the OWS tracks from my Fenix got unusable. Last year in september they were decent, but now the got worse.
    So I decided to get the SWIM2. The OWS track from this device is the best one I ever got from a Garmin watch.
    But the features of the SWM2 are to limited, so I may return the SWIM2, sell the Fenix 5 and get a 945 for only a little extra cost.

    What I want to know: Are the OWS tracks from the 945 as good as from the SWIM2 ??

    The attached pic shows how good the track from the SWIM2 is.
    orange = Swim2
    magenta = Fenix 3 on swim buoy
    blue = Fenix 5 (in 2020)

    • kuifje777

      I am pretty happy with the tracks of the 945 but I do not have a Swim2 to compare. I am enclosing a 945 track where I swam four laps along the walls.

      I used to have a Fenix 5 plus which would exhibit the jumps that can be seen in your map. I have not seen them with the 945.

  88. Greg

    Ray, do you have any knowledge about the future of FR945 ? 935 seemed to be a lighter Fenix 5. 945 started as a lighter F6 but now seems to have been abandoned. Many bugs were fixed for Fenix 6 and not for 945. Does the new line of F6 mean Garmin won’t care about 945 any more?

    • The Garmin Forerunner team always tends to be a bit more ‘cautious’ when it comes to betas and such. Ultimately, the recent surge you saw for Fenix 6 betas was simply because the Fenix team was also preparing for the Fenix 6 Solar release, and thus had a list of features they wanted released in conjunction with that.

      If we rewind to 6 months ago, people were complaining that the Fenix 6 had been abandoned already because the new Bluetooth Virtual Running profile launched on the FR245/945 instead. Since then, both have it.

      It’s always a bit of a seesaw, with both teams sharing code/features, but on their own schedules. Sorta like two siblings, yes, they’re siblings and share a lot of things, but they also march to their own drums.

      I wouldn’t overthink it. I suspect the FR945 will continue to get new features for a long while.

  89. Ian shaw

    Hi. Great review as always. One question I have if I may. How did you find the swim accuracy open water and in the pool?

    Many thanks Ian.

  90. Ajay Chawan

    Hi! Thanks for the great reviews on your product. I am a long-time reader, first-time commenter.

    My questions about the 945 Forerunner:
    – I am upgrading from a Garmin 920XT, as multisport functionality is important to me. Is this the best device to upgrade to?
    – Is the 945 compatible with Garmin Vector 3 Power Meter pedals, or other power meters?
    – Do you know if I can get the other functionality (such as Pulse Ox sensor) if I attach a quick release kit?

    Thank you very much for your time!


  91. Bryan

    When this review initially posted, I couldn’t find enough improvement over the 935 to justify an upgrade (e.g. I don’t care about music storage or contactless payment). In the ensuing 18 months, have there been upgrades that the 945 has received that the 935 has not, causing the performance gap to widen? And/or do you expect a new Forerunner 9xx model any time soon? I’m trying to figure out if there are any new options I should consider and if I’m missing out on anything by sticking with my 935.

    • Avi

      I’m waiting for the next release, the 955.
      Supposedly, it should feature an eSim, which is a major factor.
      Finally, crash collision can be added for runners.
      Should be out by April.

  92. Ricardo freitas

    Hi DCR, what do you think if garmin release a feature that supports the new widgets to iOS 14? I saw that the new iOS supports Apple Watch battery level. I attacked a image bellow. Is it possible to garmin add this function? As you are a very respected person I think if you suggest it to them, they will hear you! The should release a own widgets from garmin connect too. I have a Chinese headphone (Dacom P10) and they show this battery level!

  93. Dave Smith

    Will I have better battery life during an activity on my 945 by using the integrated sensor or by using an external strap?

    • Dave Smith

      To clarify, I am referring to heart rate monitoring.

    • External one for sure. When it comes to batter life, the basic order blow-torchy-ness is:

      A) Backlight on (huge)
      B) PulseOx (massive)
      C) GPS on (varies by mode)
      D) Optical HR sensor in workout mode (higher power)
      E) Phone connected
      F) Connected sensors on ANT+/BLE

      Using a chest strap is actually a big battery saver, since it shuts off the optical HR sensor. Mapping view live while using it the entire time also decreases batter life substantially.

    • GLT

      Any guesstimates on where WiFi and/or LTE would list on the rankings?

    • Dave Smith



    I have a question about training load and activities besides running / cycling on the FR945. Do you get a training load credit from completing activities such as backcountry skiing?

  95. Christelle Douillet

    Thanks for the review! One essential point for me: can you confirm you can charge the 945 ( with a battery pack) without interrupting the tracking recording ( during extra long Ultras of 48 hrs or more)? Thank you!!! My 920 is dead, I need a replacement ASAP and hesitate on models. The battery issue is the decisive factor!

  96. marco

    Hi, I saw your review of garmin 945. I bought a garmin 945 and I must admit I’m really upset with Garmin as the GPS doesn’t work properly and I received insufficient answers from them on that issue.
    May be I have lost the part where you perform this simple test I used to do:
    1) measure a track using google earth
    2) record a first run using garmin 945, running in track 1)
    3) record a second run using garmin 945, running in track 1)
    compare 1 vs 2 and 2 vs 3.
    It is a very easy test to do and give to you the answer if the garmin measure the track properly and consistently.
    Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see in your review if the garmin match the same distance than in google earth or what ever.
    I did this test and in my opinion garmin 945 did very bad. In 1543 meters the first run was 1610 and the second was 1557. Means to have potentially an error of around 223 meters in a 5k distance. Totally unusefull watch for an elite person that run 3′ per Km (potentially an error of 9″ per km).
    Garmin told me that it quite normal to have this differences (…made me crazy) and are not related to the garmin. I told them to change the advertising. Why an elite person should buy a watch with such level of error?
    Thanks for any help or comment

    • Jens

      Hi marco,

      I think Garmin might be right there but I might be corrected. Even the world’s fastet female XC skier uses 945 so it can’t be that bad. Therese Johaug has had one since it came out :)
      Get a Polar V800 if you need more accuracy, it should be super cheap by now :) Black Week and all!

    • bigroots

      You are tallking about a 2-3 % error. Google Earth is not to be taken as a reference precise to that point. There is A LOT of modelling and approximation in the way Google Earth calculates distances. See for example:

      link to support.google.com

    • Baxter

      I agree with you 100%!

      Same problems with my wifes Vivoactive 4:
      It always tracks more meters because it’s always off course. This results in an falsely higher pace of 15-20 seconds per km (!!). This is so unacceptable for a serious runner!!

      IMPORTANT: I do not accept the “under 5% difference is normal”, “other useres don’t complain” or DC just doesn’t mind BECAUSE we all know it can be so much better (735xt , 935 etc)!

    • marco

      Hi Baxter many thanks for your comment. As you can understand I fully agree with you.
      in addition to this:
      1) I checked google earth in a track and it was perfect. 400 meters measured.
      2) We can discuss if google earth is correct or not but it is really disappointing to have a watch that sometimes measure 4030 meters and right 5′ later 3900. This is crazy!!!
      3) Less than 5% is acceptable? The margin of error I have in my garmin is 3.25%. Means to be totally not useful for an elite person considering the level of accuracy they need
      4) The worst thing is the answer I received from Garmin being that 3% is acceptable… Tell this to an athlete elite that when he does 10×1000 at 3′ km could be 2’54” or 3’06″… depending on the mood of the garmin …
      5) I will go back to garmin
      6) I will upload the files of the track measured using professional instrument in a park closed to my house and I will check again the level of error.

      thanks again

    • “IMPORTANT: I do not accept the “under 5% difference is normal”, “other useres don’t complain” or DC just doesn’t mind BECAUSE we all know it can be so much better (735xt , 935 etc)!”

      I rarely understand why people come here and be passive-aggressive. But if you’re gonna be passive-aggressive, at least be good at it. And more importantly, when you are passive-aggressive, don’t be wrong. As is you’re case here.

      Generally speaking, I’m going to give a company a hard time when something is more than 1% off a known good. One only need to scroll up in this very review to see that. I’ve never ever said under 5% is normal for land-based GPS workouts. Literally, never.

      However, at this point, you haven’t actually provided any actual tracks/files yet, despite multiple people asking you to. Which, is probably the same reason why Garmin is shrugging too. Without any real detail, there’s no way to know what’s right or wrong.

  97. Marco

    Hi Jens, thanks for your comments .
    Honestly the fact that somebody famous uses the Garmin 945 it is not enough to make a watch good or not.
    For me are important facts and figures and my test shows a potential error of seconds per km. As I said, potentially is an error of 2km in a marathon …
    What make me crazy is that Garmin said it is in the standard.
    I found right 10′ ago a forum where most of the people is complaining about 945 GPS accuracy . Next time will check before . I will never buy a Garmin product again . Thanks

    • got links to any of your runs with this issue? and what firmware version are you on?

    • Agree, I’d really have to see some runs here to understand where the issue is. Generally speaking, outside of the nuances I outlined above in the GPS Accuracy section, we see very few complaints about GPS accuracy on the FR945.

      Also, as others noted, using Google Earth to measure is good for approximation, but not really for exact distances, because it fails to account for the small nuances to where you actually run (which adds up far more than people realize).

  98. bigroots

    only two ways:

    1- measure the distance of a path with the same tools used by marathon officials, then run the same exact path, in the same exact line, several times, then take the average.

    2- take a set of files from a number of FR945 files from a marathon, and compute the average. This will not tell you what is the precision of a FR945, but will give you an idea of the distance run by participants. Their path wanders about the ideal line measured by the officials. You will get a sort of calibration, telling you what the distance will look in real life on your FR.

    Apart from this, a few percent precision is already very good. There is an intrinsic error of any GPS device. Better than that you can obtain with differential GPS, and/or by using the non-degrated GPS signal – which unfortunately is available only to … how to say .. a restricted class of users.

    • bigroots

      — edit — sorry, I meant to say “using the full range of frequency of the GPS system”. Dual frequency is used only in professional applications (and the military)

  99. marco

    Hi DC, I don’t understand your comment. I said on point 6 I will upload the files. Give me the time to go to the park…
    Secondly, Garmin didn’t even ask for any file, even if I proposed it to them. The customer service simply said that 3.2% is an acceptable error. And again please stop writing that google earth is not precise as I’m talking also about difference in meters measuring the same track using the same garmin (so comparing the result with google earth).
    Tomorrow I will find the way to send the data I have waiting for to get the new one.
    In the meantime (probably there are in your review but I could not find) could you please upload the track measured outside with the instrument you prefer and what you got from garmin 945? I think it should be the basic test to do isn’t ?
    thanks again

    • I’m not sure I understand. There’s an entire GPS accuracy section here where I compare GPS data between 3-4 devices: link to dcrainmaker.com

      As for Google Earth, as others noted above – it’s not good for accuracy testing. It’s good for getting the ballpark of a run, but isn’t ideal because you can’t account for things like going around trees/people/cars/etc on a path, as well as the exact location each of your turns around a corner. I’ve written in the past on how much these can add up.

      I’ve also written in the past on using tools like a Jones Counter, which are used for measuring races. Those are great in those scenarios, because you’re trying to establish the fastest possible route. But I’ve also shown how even just a slight variance on those corners quickly adds up: link to dcrainmaker.com

      Instead, it’s far better in most GPS accuracy testing to instead look at the actual GPS tracks overlaid together, recorded together, with the specific knowledge of where you ran to corroborate that track location.

    • Marco why do you need “time to go to the park”? If it is so bad as you say, surely you have used it and have GPS tracks you can already share??

      There are devices that have issues and Garmin (in my experience) were very good at replacing faulty devices.

    • marco

      Hi all, please find attached the file. As I said the track is the same. First run 3.910 meters while second run 4060. In the second one the garmin recorded the first Km of my run in “nowhere places…”. 150 meters of difference.
      Today I’m going to run again in the same track and will measure for another time.

    • marco

      In addition to the files already posted please find the file of the today run.
      Situation is even worse. The garmin recorded 3.99km there and 4.09 km back. This gives an error of 180 meters compared to the one uploaded this morning (that was 3.91 km)
      Furthermore the heart rate monitored by the garmin was absolutely wrong: 138 btm (with a peak of 158) at 6′ per km is a non sense. I checked during the run and I was at 100 btm … But this is another story…
      thanks for any help

  100. marco

    On point 6 I said “I will upload the files of the track measured using professional instrument in a park closed to my house and I will check again the level of error”. I want to go there because there is a track already measured by professional technician so we will (hope) avoid discussion about google earth precision.
    Today i will upload the old files so you can see.

  101. Marco

    Hi all I uploaded the files as requested . Any feedback on that? I uploaded using the “choose file” when you leave a comment. It is a zip file. Don’t know if it is the right procedure . Just let me know . Thanks

  102. marco

    Hi all, it is me again. I’ve been requested to upload the files but I didn’t receive any feedback.
    Somebody can tell me if the files are visible? In addition to this please find the picture of another run: it is a circuit (not a circle, just 4 straights and 4 corners) where my gamin did pretty well…. The circuit is 491 meters, measured using a professional instrument and the garmin gave me 420 meters…. Bad Bad Bad !!!! You can see from the picture that he recorded everything but the track.
    Thanks for any help

  103. marco

    Hi , I’m uploading other pictures. Same track different results. Very different.

    • Paul Schinder

      If you really want someone to be interested, here’s what you do. Upload your tracks to Strava and provide the links to the activities, or provide the links to the activities on Garmin Connect (make sure they’re public). No one is going to download your FIT files and load them into something where they can be viewed, but someone might click through to a site where they can zoom in on the track and see what’s happening. Screen shots of a phone just don’t do it. Personally I think you expect too much from GPS on a watch, but you might just have a defective device.

    • Paul S

      Oh, and make sure you’re using current firmware (device and GPS). You probably are since you’re using the iOS Connect app (I think it nags you if it doesn’t just update behind your back), but it doesn’t hurt to check.

    • Paul Tomblin

      I would suggest a better approach would be the load them into the DCR Analyzer. It only costs $5 but it helps support the site. I did that back in June to see why my Fenix 6X was giving me different values than my 920XT back in June, and you can still see the tracks. link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

  104. Marco

    Hi all , thanks for your comment but I’ve just received confirmation from Garmin that 3.3% of error can be considered normal. They are crazy. Means in a test of 5k for a person that run at 5’/km pace to have an error of 50 seconds in total. 50 seconds !!!! This is something that I don’t see in their advertising …. Tell me why an elite person should spend this money to buy this watch. Infact elite person don’t use it (or they use only the cronometer in a measured track) . They are just paid to use it.
    See in Italian their answer :” Gentile Cliente,
    La ringraziamo per aver contattato il Customer Care di Garmin.
    Si le confermo il 3,25% di errore è normale.”
    Merry Christmas

    • robi

      Ciao Marco,

      Ti confermo quanto stai sperimentando.
      Io anni fa con un garmin Fenix 3HR mi trovai nella tua stessa situazione ed infatti abbandonai garmin passando al polar V800 all’epoca.
      Ora dato che negli ultimi anni non ho visto nulla che fosse meglio come GPS visto i nuovi chip sony di garmin invece che spendere soldi 500€ per un 945 mi son comprato uno Stryd e vado che è una meraviglia, senza mai nemmeno calibrazione vado in pista 400m e mi misura sempre circa-+2m (<1% di errore) a seconda della corsia cui sto, soddisfattissimo.
      Ti consiglio di risparmiare sul garmin prendendo un modello meno costoso e prendere un food pod!

      Fossi in te andrei di VantageM+Stryd per la stessa cifra forse meno con le offerte che ci sono.

      Io sto a Monza ;)


    • marco

      Ciao Robi, finalmente un consiglio utile!!! Qui scrivono tonnellate di recensioni e ancora non vedo nessuno che confronti metri misurati reali con metri misurati con gps. Mi chiedono di fare l’upload dei dati, non li guardano e poi mi dicono di metterli su strava. Booo
      Ti ringrazio ancora. Ho già speso purtroppo i soldi per il garmin e me lo devo tenere. Pero’ potrei comperare a questo punto lo Stryd e associarlo al garmin. Teoricamente il garmin a questo punto dovrebbe fare solo da lettore dati dello Stryd. L’unica cosa è che lo stryd costa un po’. Secondo te ce ne sono altri meno costosi che funzionano comunque?
      Grazie ancora per il suggerimento. Stavo per dare di matto.

    • Looking at the one image you posted above with the circle around the small park inside a city block, it definitely appears the GPS struggled there. Did you start running before it had full signal?

      In any case, I think you’re going to find most GPS units will struggle with buildings on all sides in a small forested park. I would have expected better performance on that GPS track, so you might consider trying Galileo enablement on the device, or, turning of GLONASS, which can sometimes help too in urban canyons.

      As for your cross-city run, it’s just too small a photo to really see what’s going on. As others have said, I’d really encourage you to post the actual files somewhere (the site here only allows pictures to be uploaded). The DCR Analyzer is one option as noted though for side by side file comparison.

    • robi

      Figurati Marco,
      Qualsiasi foodpod classico va bene,
      l’unica seccatura è che devi calibrarlo ogni volta che cambi paio di scarpe o comunque range di passo, essendo accurati in un intervallo limitato a seconda del passo a cui lo calibri, tipo se lo calibri in pista facendo un 800m e giri a 3.50min/km poi se fai uscite strada a 5min/km potrebbe non esser super accurato ma comunque sempre più preciso del gps, l’accuratezza di solito è del 2% circa e risulta più accurato nell’intervallo fai tipo -+45sec rispetto al passo cui calibrato.


    • bigroots

      I made a test today. I have run a 3.1 km path, distance measured by Google Earth. Looking at the track registered by the FR, I see a couple corners cut where I was under trees. Total distance measured by the FR: 3.08 km. The difference is definitely less than 1%, and it easily fits in the error I may have made when creating the path in Google Earth, and anyway I do not trust Google Earth to be precise to a few meters. I do not consider myself an elite runner, so I think this is OK for my use case of this kind of instrument. I know this is anectdotal, so I will try to collect some more statistics on this path.

      Second anecdotal observation: when I purchased an Edge bike computer, I initially took traces of the rides both on the Edge and the FR. Unfortunately I have discarded the duplicated tracks, after verifying that the difference was totally irrelevant; at least 2 Garmin instruments were consistent with each other. Again: I do not see myself as pro cyclist, so you may think that my requirements are not as tight as they should be.

    • Peter Z.

      Both Vivoactive 3 and Edge 1030 are pretty inaccurate in representing my actual path, but i figured that was simply as good as GPS can do. When I run on the sidewalk in my neighborhood the track wanders around, typically several few feet off to one side, as shown when i turn on satellite view. if I ride the shoulder, it often shows me in middle of road. Corners get cut off too. I haven’t worried about it enough to dump files into the analyzer. I can’t zoom if far enough on DCR comparison screen prints in reviews to see if his are off as much as mine.

      I’m going to add a speed sensor to my mountain bike because people tell me the distances are off with switchbacks and the such in trees. That is probably to be expected some

  105. Patrick

    Hello and Many Thanks for your great Reviews, it is very nice work and I like to read an watch it.

    But I have one qustion, are there any news or rumors for a New watch in the 900er series oder 700er series for 2021? I like to buy a new Sport watch but I dont want to see a new model few days or weeks after buying.

  106. Jens

    Question about the track mode.
    Let’s say I live 10 minutes away from a track. So when I start running from home the way towards the track would be my warm up and back would be the cooldown.
    Would it be a good idea to start from home immediately using track mode or does this mess up the calibration of the track I am running on?
    Anyone has some experience with this?

  107. Mike

    I’ve noticed an issue with Bike Indoor mode. Every time I start a new ride, the watch defaults to the second data screen. I’ve ended up reordering my screens so the information I’d like to see by default is on screen two, but ideally I shouldn’t have to do this, right? I’ve posted on Reddit hunting for a solution, but only found others with the same issue.

  108. Johan Joubert

    Amazing reviews!

  109. Texas Tri

    When the successor to the 945 come out? I’m in the market and the 945 appears to be the watch for my needs/budget, but I don’t want to get one if the successor is about to come out.

  110. Texas Tri

    Any word on when the 955 will be released? Trying to decide whether to buy a 945 or wait.


    • BikePower

      Garmin doesn’t pre-announce new models: they typically announce a new model only when is ready for release. Even if Ray (or other reviewers) have a new model in their procession and are in the process of testing it, they cannot say anything until Garmin lifts the embargo. I would guess there is a 955 coming sometime this year (perhaps within the next several months), but that’s only a guess.

  111. Andrew Morris

    Hi Ray,

    Is it safe to say that the FR945 and the Fenix 6 (pro, non-sapphire) with the current software for the Forerunner are on par, barring the case material?

    I’ve used the product comparison tool, and as far as I can see the main difference is the construction material?

    Appreciate your thoughts and time.



    • The main difference these days is the lack of power (battery) manager modes in the FR945.

    • Andrew Morris

      thanks mate – ended up finding a red hot deal on a Fenix 6 Sapphire, which made it almost less than a FR945 …. just have to wait for it to be delivered now!

      thanks again for your time :)

  112. EnnoDePenno

    It seems to me that, at the moment (March 2021) the 945 is less available here in The Netherlands than the Fenix 6 Pro. Any ideas why this is?

  113. Vincent George
  114. bigroots

    hi. Since the last firmware update I noticed that the rep count in strength training does not work anymore. Checked with bench press, overhead press, squat. Does anyone observe the same? It used to count more or less correctly most of the times. In particular the bench press count used to be quite accurate. Now it counts zero …

  115. Fred Wahnschaffe

    Hi, quick question: can someone please explain why the FR945 is not listed as compatible device with the Garmin Alpha 200i (dog tracker) but the Fenix 6 series is? I thought they had the same connectivity features.

  116. Wondering whether to hold off on one if these in case the 955 comes soon and this one gets reduced in price?… Any ideas?

    • David E.

      It’s been almost two years since the 945 was introduced, so that would suggest that a 955 might be approaching. But don’t expect Ray to give any hints. Been following him long enough to know that he respects his NDAs and embargoes. . .

    • MAGNUS

      I’ve had the F945 for a while now but was hoping an updated version would release this spring/summer… There’s been plenty of chatter about it on the Garmin forums however the release date is still TBD/unknown.

  117. Tony Papay

    Hi Ray, the Wiggle links no-longer work.

    The FR935 dropped to $400 on Amazon

  118. Kevin Gilleece

    Any word of Youtube Music becoming available on the 945?

  119. Jen Runventures

    Thanks for the great detailed review! I often use the uploaded course navigation feature in my trail running, while tracking my activity. How does using navigation during an activity affect battery life? I might be out there 8-9 hours and am afraid my watch battery won’t last.

  120. Teo

    I got an old 935 but i thought it would be better to post on this 945 thread as it’s more likely to be read and probably relevant to both.
    In a multisport activity like triathlon i want to be able to manually set the laps for bike and run parts but i haven’t found yet the way, because the manual lap button is the same as the one that switch from one sport (or transition) to next.
    Is there a way to make it work or are we stuck with automatic laps in this case (which you need to preset to certain distance or time)?

    • Patty O

      Teo, I have a 945 and I want the exact same thing. I want to record manual lap data while in a multsport activity. It seem like it would be easy to just map another button for manual laps. I suggested this to Garmin. Why don’t you as well? link to garmin.com

  121. Tei

    This is going to be a long read…

    Brace yourself…

    But, if possible to reply via message or publish a new blog post… would be best…

    In short: Can you address privacy, security issues, etc.?

    In long:

    The answers would really help me decide, for which watch to go for.

    I was set on Garmin 945 when I seen your video, etc. In Europe we are more privacy and data security oriented, I believe.

    And here are then “problematic” issues /queries with smart watches, etc. on my mind:

    -Can you transfer sports activities and “tracking” logs from the watch to computer (without Garmin propriety application)? If yes, how?
    -Which applications can read Garmin files? Any open source?
    -If you are doing a sports activity, without any phone connection, what else has to be enabled besides GPS? Is GPS required, or can it be deactivated, for let’s say fitness?
    – Has Garmin any website, which data are they collecting (on their servers), with regards to personal data?
    -Health data? Name of purchaser?
    – How much privacy it’s possible to have? Can you register the watch under an alias or different name?

    To give you an example:
    A person buys a Garmin watch for sports activities, he/she registed with XY name.
    What would Garmin know about this person?
    Where is the person located? Sport condition? Habits?

    -How does Garmin perform without any connection to smartphone or computer?
    -Can it work without never connecting it to the “cloud”?
    -Can it be solely used with heartbeat functionality and GPS and other features, to show the map, the route/track and such?

    Which watch from competitors would be the next best thing in comparison to Garmin 945? With all the above questions being taken into consideration.

    The idea of “our data” being in the cloud available for hackers, it’s not what I’d want.

    I would be ok, if the data is only on the smart-watch and then later transferred to computer.
    I would also be ok, if the watch is connected to the phone – to have access to Bluetooth for music.
    I dont need all the bells and whistles when it comes to analytics, etc.

    But I want a watch, capable of tracking my heart-rate, calories, and similar whilst doing multiple sports: swimming, kayaking, hiking, trekking, mountaineering, climbing, skiing, etc. and Me Being In Charge of My Data.

    I’ve added some other info in a direct message sent to you.

    • Paul Voorend

      I think perhaps you will want to read Garmin’ Privacy policies. If it’s really that important to you, then you’ll take the time to read them: link to garmin.com (This link may or may not work, depending on your location).

      Otherwise, go to the Privacy link in the site’s footer (right down the bottom of the Garmin site

    • Stuart

      I can answer _some_ of these questions.

      Transferring sports activities from the watch to the computer without Garmin proprietary software: Yes, you can. The 945 incorporates music, which means it uses the media transfer protocol. Windows supports this protocol out of the box; the 945 will appear as a standard filesystem on Windows hosts. For macOS, you’ll need Android File Transfer, from Google.

      Applications: any application that can parse .FIT files can handle Garmin files. I know there are open source options out there, but I don’t know what they are offhand.

      Sports activities: GPS is used for pace and distance. ANT+ or Bluetooth is used to connect to fitness sensors (cycling power meter; cadence sensor; speed sensor; foot pod; heart rate strap; etc.) I can’t comment on whether it CAN be disabled for non-endurance sports (cycling, running, open water swimming), but it can certainly be stripped fairly easily.

      Can it work without ever connecting to the “cloud” – yes. You’re somewhat constrained in the metrics you can gather, but yes.

      The rest, I don’t know. Paul’s recommendation about reading Garmin’s privacy policies is definitely a good idea.

  122. Brandon

    How do I stop the watch from displaying various stats after I complete an activity? THanks.

  123. Alice Phhillips

    Can you charge the 945 while you are using it.

    • Paul

      Yes you can. Either put it in your bag attached to a USB battery pack, or you can get a dock type charger that you can actually wear while using it, that has a cable long enough to reach a battery pack in your run belt or bag.

  124. Nikola

    What would be the battery life with navigation/maps ON and chest strap (OHR OFF)?
    Would it be able to reach 36h?

  125. Ray, you asked in your video, what the respiration rate is for, what it can be used for. It is for meditators. Practicing meditation is the only sports which lowers the respiration rate. World champions in practicing meditation meditate for 6 – 8 hours a day. This requires a chest strap.

  126. Vincent

    Many comments here, so perhaps my question’s already answered. I can’t find it on the website of Garmin.

    I’m looking to do a 70.3 Ironman soon. I would like to create a custom goal for the bike split, which I can then display during the event.

    I’d like the watch to display a range around my power target on the bike. I’m targeting 80% of my FTP, which is 254W. As in workouts, it should be possible for the watch to display a range of 245 – 260W for me to focus on.

    Is this possible, or will I simply have to pay attention to my power range all the time?

  127. Respiration Rate from a Garmin chest strap calculated from HRV? Other methods use R-R peaks for it. When I review how scientists struggle to get the respiration rate and how much research is in progress on this subject, I am wondering about how Garmin solved this problem, and whether it is worth spending money to buy a Garmin which can measure respiration rate.

    • Paul S

      Are they actually measuring respiration rate? I’ve seen no comparison of data from a Garmin and something known to be precise.

      My Edge 830 started recording and Garmin Connect displaying respiration rate after an update months ago. I use the old style Garmin hard shell chest strap, somewhere between 10-15 years old (one came with my Edge 705, bought two, left one at a hotel, and I don’t know which one I lost), So I don’t think Garmin can be using anything as fancy as HRV, because I doubt the old style belt reports that. The respiration rate data looks reasonable, goes up when I’m climbing, down when the dropper post is down and I’m watching the scenery go by. But I don’t know that it’s accurate.

    • Garmin says, there are some watches which can measure respiration rate at rest, others can do it during an activity with certain chest straps. Peter H. Charlton, biomedical engineer specialising in signal processing for wearables has developed respiratory rate estimation algorithms for ECG an PPG devices. He uses RR peak data and as far as I know PP data. I suppose Garmin or Firstbeat also use these algorithms, they are freely available. But how accurate are respiration data from Garmin watches? Peter H. Charlton measures respiratory rate in the hospital, and they are now developing new algoritms for respiratory rate for wearables, up to walking activities. But how to validate respiration rate data from Garmin watches? By carry arround an Adinstruments channel recorder with respiration belt and peak detection? Not very practical.

  128. Alexssandro Loyola

    DC, first I’m sorry to write, I’m using a translation app, errors can occur.
    1) i have the fenix 5x
    2) wanted to listen to music, notifications and monitor heart rate while swimming.
    3) thought about buying 945 or fenix 6, to get this, is it possible?
    4) I see your excellent work, but in my case, help is very important to add new features, even silly, music and stay away from the cell phone under water. It would be really cool. And of course, if the GPS goes wrong, it goes for more distance, so my followers can fight on the strava. Joke.
    5) I also have the edge 820, and I’ve already noticed that the performance metrics for both don’t talk, or I have to do cycling and running on the fenix 5x, if I mix the metrics the results are confusing. Does this only happen to me?

    • Paul S

      You’re going to listen how, with headphones/ear buds? Then every time the arm with the watch goes under water the Bluetooth connection will break, so no music. No watch, Garmin or otherwise, can get around that and so far as I know there’s no watch with a wired headphone jack. If I were you, I’d look to see if anyone makes waterproof headphones with on board music storage.

      Garmin has Physio TrueUp which is supposed to swap performance metrics between devices. The 820 might be too early to be included. My 830 and my Fenix 5+ trade metrics; my 5+ will know sometime today when it syncs about the ride I did with the 830 this morning. However, only a summary will show up, not much in the way of details. I haven’t found Physio TrueUp to be that useful, although in my case I bicycle in the spring/summer/fall exclusively with the 830 and cross country ski in the winter with the 5+, so TrueUp doesn’t have much to do.

    • Alexssandro Loyala

      Thanks. I use JBL Dive headphones, but what I wanted were distance alerts, for example, and at the same time hear something. I use the watch on the MTB, swim and running, and the 820 on the road bike, and performance data and rest metrics don’t talk. Maybe the problem is the 820. Tks.

    • Alexssandro Loyola

      Paul, good news. today I did something typical of Brazilian (use things for other purposes that were not designed). I used my fenix 5x to swim, but in the tracking function, the GPS freaked out, but the cardio worked positively, I edited the GPS mess (3600 meters of altimetry) and that’s it. My watch works the heart monitor in water. Of course, this will never be recommended by anyone. But maybe there’s someone else out there. A good day to all. Now, bad news for Garmin, I’m not buying your wonderful 945 anymore.

  129. Vincent

    Question on Move IQ:
    When I bring my child to school by bike, it usually turns up afterwards in my HR overview as a ‘Move IQ’ activity. It registers a certain (low) number of burned calories for this.

    But when I start a cycling activity manually for the exact same distance, speed, and (supposedly) HR, it registers many more burned calories.

    Any idea how this works?

    • Marco

      This could be because Move IQ needs to detect the movement and needs maybe 5 or 10 minutes before it knows you’re riding a bike. While the activity starts immediately!?

  130. Marco Zerbato

    Hi all, I’m still having issues with the Garmin 945. In one year I got three 945 from Garmin (customer service very good) and the last one has still GPS issues.
    In the last test I did, in 1620 meters measured with Google earth and with a specific instrument, the Garmin gave me the first time 1670 and the second time 1710. The Garmin didn’t pass the 2 foundamental tests that are correcteness and consistency in the the measurement. Waiting news from Garmin …. Ciao

  131. Martin

    Couldn’t see a way to search for a particular feature in the Comparison tool…but are there any other watches that offer background maps, rather than just the breadcrumb trail on a blank screen?

    My partner currently uses Google maps on her phone when trail running but wants that feature in a watch…the 945 clearly has this but is otherwise way overspec’d for what she needs…which is mainly just walking/running…perhaps gravel biking too.

    • Paul S.

      If I remember right, only the Fenix family has real maps (945 being a plastic Fenix, Descent/Tactix/etc. being variants) in Garmin’s line, and not every Fenix 6 at that. Otherwise, the Apple Watch certainly has maps, but that’s only useful if you have an iPhone, and I’m not sure there’s an app that both records and navigates at the same time (could be, I don’t use my AW for fitness so I haven’t looked). One of the new COROS watches that Ray recently reviewed has what I call “line art”, “maps” without place or street names, in other words, maps without context. But I think that’s the one that’s nearly as expensive as a Fenix with fewer features. The WearOS watches probably have maps, but I know next to nothing about them.

      If you want real maps with navigation abilities (can use the maps onboard to give you directions), then it’s basically only Garmin and the Fenix line or variants like the 945 so far as I know. There may also be ConnectIQ apps that bring maps to the lower Garmin end that can do ConnectIQ; I seem to remember that Ray wrote something about that within the last year.

    • Apple watch with this app does maps and routing (and intervals etc etc)

      link to workoutdoors.net

    • Paul

      Definitely sounds like the barometric altimeter. It is quite a common problem. Garmin support should be good about a replacement

  132. Havelaar

    Hi Ray,
    after 2 years & 2 weeks the altitude sensor of my 945 started to show random numbers (readings of up 40,000m in altitude at some points & 70,000m of altitude gain in 40min of running flat terrain). As we are a few people in my triathlon club experiencing this issue during the last month or so, do you know whether this is a commun issue and whether Garmin is working on a fix?
    It would be nice to have the option to get altitude from gps or map data, as in cycling wrong altitude data also causes distance to be wrong making the entire watch useless.
    Thanks in advance for your 2 cents on this one!

    • I would reach out to Garmin support on it. Essentially, it sounds like our altimeter is probably going. Garmin seems to be pretty good about swapping units with this issue lately, especially given their recent change to disable the altimeter/temp in pool swims, due to causing higher than expected rates of failure.

    • Raymond Matchi

      I recall the HR cracking being of fenix and 935s being blamed on the user. Same for the altimeter / barometer / temp sensor.

      Sad to see it took years for this problem to only be admitted once Garmin, a company notorious for lying, admitted it’s a design fault. Other watch companies don’t see huge failures under such expected environmental conditions and I have been very disappointed in you not leading the charge in 2018, 2019 and 2020 when huge numbers of 935 users posted here about HR cracking and swimming destroyed the altimeter. As such, I have vowed now to buy another Garmin watch device new and will stick to the second hand market when my $50 current 935 gives up. Bloatware badly implemented features seem to reign above quality design and implementation with this crowd.

  133. seth katzenstein

    Super random, this morning my wife shared her wordle results with me and the image showed up on my watch. It also showed up on her vivoactive 4s. Is this new? Regular pictures still show up on the watch as text.

    • Stuart

      Wordle results are text – they’re in Unicode, not an image. It may not look it, but I promise you: they’re regular text (albeit more modern than the old ASCII code most people think of when they say “text”.)

      Think of them as another form of emojis, if that helps.

    • Seth

      Thanks. I was a bit confused

  134. Brent Gustafson

    Is it safe to assume there will eventually be a successor to the 945 with roughly the same weight/form factor? I’ve been thinking about the Epix 2 as a replacement but like the lighter 945 especially OWS/Tri’s. My 945 weighs 54g so is a another ~16g noticeable?

  135. Seth

    My last two runs my 945 has tracked pace and distance just fine but the map only shows a portion of my course. Today’s 12 mile run only shows the last 3 miles or so. Any ideas

  136. Erik KL

    A question about newer Garmin watches. I have the Vivoactive 4 and Lap pace is only showing i steps of 5 sec. So 4:00, 4:05, 4:10 ans so on. On my older watch I could get this right on the second. I understand that Pace is hard to estimate but Lap pace? I reach out to Garmin support, they got back to me and said that this function is removed on newer watches. Is that really true?

  137. rayG

    Hi Ray!
    I’ve been going back and forth between the 945 and the Fenix 6 Pro. I currently have a 910xt and it still works great! No issues with battery or anything. My question was about the health data, and how i could use the watch for helping me understand how my body was recovering for my next workout whether it be a workout off the bike or a peloton or kickr, or a run, or yoga, or tennis or swim or something else and how i could train smarter.

    I read that some people learned how drinking was affecting their heart rate and affecting recovery. The fact that drinking would do that seems obvious. But HOW much it affects you can now be quantified instead of feeling hung over.

    I have always just followed a training schedule squeezed into my life somehow. I’ve always known that work stress and workout stress affected you similarly. In both cases you need to rest and recover. I’ve always worked out after work related stress just to de-stress! But then my run or bike training suffered.

    So my 910xt works great…but all it does is track basic data. HRM, cadence, distance, speed. That’s it. and it does it well. As i get older i feel like i need more info to help me schedule my workouts according to my body vs trying to adhere to a training schedule. Because i’m not as energetic as i used to be. And i find i need more rest and recovery.

    Will the newer devices like the 945 or Fenix 6, help me train smarter by giving me my own body feedback and motivate me and help me improve as i get older.

    And Garmin’s got a sale on now

    • Ryan

      Well what it will do is help quantify how you feel after drinking, not sleeping enough or well enough. Eating too late, having too much whatever before bed. It’ll tell your sleep quality and give basic suggestions to improve it. It tells you how much you body battery recharged or didn’t recharge. And if it didn’t charge much while sleeping and is low on a day you have a heavy workout scheduled, may e you push that workout back and make it a recovery ride day or do some easy gym cardio. Then focus on getting a good night’s sleep to hit the workout hard the next day.

      Nothing worse than having a good workout planned and it just goes to crap because you feel like crap and stupidly push through anyway. You didn’t get the benefit of the workout you wanted. You made your body feel worse when it wanted some recovery, and now your next night’s sleep might be a challenge which could now affect your next day/workout.

      You could actually just listen to your body. You are older. You should be more in tune with it’s needs and how it feels. A watch with the newest sensors and tracking could just quantify what you’re feeling and reinforce needing a rest day. And then you don’t artificially pump yourself up with pre-workout, caffeine and Sudafed to push through a workout your body isn’t prepared to do that day.

      It can also tell you how your training is going, helping you stay on the right path. It can make suggestions on workouts you should do that day based on your training. And yada yada yada…

    • Ray

      Thanks for your response. It is exactly what I was thinking too. I have learned over the years to listen to my body and I did get the watch so that i could quantify how I felt and get some metrics.

      The smart watch features are quite handy. Some of the notifications are a bit distracting.


    My 945 has been working perfectly for 2 years and 5 months (I bought it in May 20), but 3 days ago while swimming it turned black with a kind of peripheral shadow and it is not working anymore. (see picture)
    -Do you think it has lost watertight?
    – Is there anybody with the same problem?
    – Any ideas to solve the problem?

    Thank you very much

    • Ryan

      My 735xt did the same thing. Chalked it up to being a POS. I say that because my Timex Ironman from boot camp, 1989, still works when I replace the battery and take it into the ocean, pool, lake and so forth. The pic was after the first time it acted up. It got progressively worse afyer the next two swims and ultimately died.

      I picked up a Fenix 6 for $200 and haven’t looked back. Touch more bulk and heft, but it already survived more swims than my 735xt has. Didn’t feel like getting into it with Garmin CS, and the price was right as I don’t care about maps or music. But their band was crap and gave me a wicked rash, so I went 3rd party.


      Finally Garmin Iberia has taken care of the problem and has maintained the warranty (despite spending a few months over the 2-year period). In less than a week they have sent me a new watch. Very happy with the resolution of the incident by Garmin.

  139. Thierry Guertin

    With the history of the altimeter going bad for people swimming with their watch, why WHY can’t we disable the altimeter data recording using the watches menu!
    Happened on my 935 and now on my 945.
    Keeps recording crazy values for elevation gain and losses, goes in my training peaks, and messing up my TSS and fitness data?!?!
    I’d rather we had a way to turn off the sensor.

  140. Mike

    Garmin was nice enough to replace my 945 after my original from 2020 lost its altimeter functionality. I’m having an issue with a specific activity list on the new one that I don’t remember on the original. While the default activity list that is accessible from the start button can be reordered and have activities added and removed, the list that I see when using Change Sport (if I were to stop my bike and manually change sport to run) includes about a dozen different activities I will never need. I swear I remember being able to adjust this list as well, but I can’t seem to remember how. Is this a capability? Has it changed? Have I forgotten what I had? I am baffled. Thanks for your help!

    • Patty O

      Yep, you can edit that list. Two different ways. On the watch, when you hit the upper right button to choose your activity, scroll to the activity you want to delete – don’t select it – just have it in the middle window, then hold the middle left button to get the settings, training, reorder, remove. Voila! You can also do it from the mobile phone app. Select the device, Activities & Apps, select the one you want to delete, three dot menu, remove from list.