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Garmin Forerunner 945 Multisport Watch In-Depth Review

Garmin-FR945-Product-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:

Garmin-FR945-Whats-New-2019

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):

Garmin-FR945-vs-FR935

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:

Garmin-FR945-WatchFace-Default

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:

Garmin-FR945-ELEVATE-SpO2Sensor

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:

Garmin-FR945-Sport-Modes

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:

Garmin-FR945-Run-Waiting-GPS

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.

Garmin-FR945-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?

Garmin-FR945-WorkoutHistory

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:

Garmin-FR945-TrainingEffect

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.

Garmin-FR945-TrainingEffect-Aerobic

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

Garmin-FR945-TrainingEffect-Anaerobic

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:

Garmin-FR945-Training-Status-Load

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:

Garmin-FR945-Training-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.

Garmin-FR945-Training-Focus-Guidance

The next page then shows me my current recovery time:

Garmin-FR945-RecoveryHours

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:

Garmin-FR945-TrainingStatus-Alti-Temp

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.

Garmin-FR945-AltitudeAcclimation

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.

Garmin-FR945-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):

2019-04-30 02.00.41 2019-04-30 02.00.46

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.

2019-04-30 02.00.59 2019-04-30 02.01.06

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

2019-04-30 02.01.20 2019-04-30 02.01.23

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:

2019-04-29 14.48.28 2019-04-29 14.48.40

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:

screencapture-connect-garmin-modern-activity-3559791889-2019-04-30-02_08_20

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.

Garmin-FR945-RespirationRate

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:

Garmin-FR945-Maps

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.

Garmin-FR945-Round-Trip-Routing1Garmin-FR945-RoundTripRouting2

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:

2019-04-30 02.17.39 2019-04-30 02.20.11 2019-04-30 02.18.26

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.

Music:

Garmin-FR945-Music-Overview

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:

Garmin-FR945-HeadphonePairing

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:

Garmin-FR945-Spotify-Provider

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).

Garmin-FR945-LibraryDownload

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.

Garmin-FR945-RotaryMenu

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.

Garmin-FR945-Music-Controls

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.

PowerBeats-Headphones

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):

GarminPay-Garmin-Forerunner945

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:

Garmin-Pay-Forerunner945-Reader

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:

Garmin-FR945-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.

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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:

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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:

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

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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.

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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:

Garmin-FR945-HeartRateAccuracy

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:

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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.

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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:

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Wait!!!!

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:

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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.

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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

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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:

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Sigh.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 November 29th, 2019 @ 12:30 pmNew 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
Satellite Pre-Loading via ComputerYesYesYesYesYes
Quick Satellite ReceptionGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/Visual/Vibrate
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 Legacy (pre-4.0) to PhoneNoNoNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart (4.0+) 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 Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)WITH RD POD, HRM-TRI OR HRM-RUN (NOT VIA OPTICAL HR)NoNo
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
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 underwaterWITH HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM (Not with optical HR)WITH 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
Can change yards to metersYesYEsYesYesYes
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
Day to day watch abilityYesYesYesYesYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataYesYesYesNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)YesYesYesNoNo
GeocachingVia GPS coordinatesVia GPS coordinatesVia GPS coordinatesNoNo
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
Pulse Oximetry (aka Pulse Ox)YesNoFenix 5X Plus onlyNoNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Footpod CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Power Meter CapableYesYesYesNoNo
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoNoNoNo
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+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)YesYesYesNoNo
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
Compatible with Firstbeat HR toolsYesYEsYesN/A-
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
Amazon LinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training - Save with the VIP programLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF)LinkLinkLinkN/A
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.

Summary:

Garmin-FR945-OpticalHR-Sensor

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 review useful? Or just want a good deal? Here’s how:

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. 

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased.  By joining the Clever Training VIP Program, you will earn 10% points on this item and 10% off (instantly) on thousands of other fitness products and accessories.  Points can be used on your very next purchase at Clever Training for anything site-wide.  You can read more about the details here.  By joining, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers.  And, since this item is more than $49, you get free 3-day (or less) US shipping as well.

Garmin Forerunner 945 (select drop-down for triathlon bundle)
Garmin Forerunner 945 (EU/UK readers – don’t forget to use Europe coupon code DCR10BTF to save 10%)
Garmin Speed/Cadence Sensors (new ANT+/Bluetooth Smart ones – review here)
Garmin HRM-DUAL (new ANT+/Bluetooth HR strap – review here)
Garmin HRM-TRI (triathlon-focused swim strap – review here)
Garmin HRM-SWIM (indoor-swimming focused swim strap – review here)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the Forerunner 945 or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pick up on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

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.

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1,151 Comments

  1. Keep up the great work.

  2. Rui Pereira

    Wondering how many of the new things will trickle down… to the Stratos 2! 😛

  3. Mark

    Maybe I am missing this but I haven’t seen it posted anywhere in the review or comments but what is the battery life of the 945 when using music?

    • alang

      Mark, there is a review in the Garmin forums on battery while using Music. The short version is that the user reports that it uses substantial battery capacity.

  4. Knuta

    Can you change the preloaded maps? The 945 isn’t available here yet (Malaysia). I was thinking of buying one from the US or Europe, but would like to have local maps available.

  5. Itai

    I moved from Fenix 5 plus to AW 4.. As much as I wanted to love the Garmin (and want to love the 945), the AW just gives you a better ecosystem and functionality a cross the board..
    I run and swim About 40 km a week, paricipate in half marathons now and then, but the AW just does a better job in most areas (not to talk about perfect integration with Airpods – 2).

    • ThePrez

      Your comment is not meant to be serious, right? If not, read the whole article again.

    • Itai

      Enlighten me (:
      It’s a matter of preferences.. I like the screen, integration with phone, music and airpods, the ability to share with freinds etc. more on the apple watch than in Garmin, even though Garmin watches are cosidered more “sport oriented”.

  6. Ryan

    Does the new worst-based optical heart rate sensor take HRV readings similar to Apple Watch?

  7. Gordon Morrison

    Excellent blog

  8. Mircea

    It’s such a shame they kept those big bezels around the screen. It makes the watch look so dated. This is the watch I was waiting for to be released, but not going to buy this. Looks years old. I hope a refresh of the 735 is coming.

  9. Francesco

    Can someone report on running battery life? My 935 (2YO) loose 4-5% per hour in running mode, that is around 20 hours of battery life, if the 945 is really lasting more than 30 hours, it should loose no more than 3% per hour. This is a very important for people running ultras. Thanks.

    • Toby Beahan

      I just ran for 1hr20min GPS +glonass with run pod and tri HRM connected. Bluetooth on activity tracking on. Used about 5%. Not sure if I’m happy with take it not… Doesn’t seem that much better than my 935

    • Lyen

      I get about 5-6% with my 5X plus on GPS only with tri HRM connected. Bluetooth on and activity tracking for an hour run.

  10. Ross

    Great review, as always. Pre 945, I assume that the 935/735 and Fenix range were the only dedicated multisport watches being manufactured by Garmin. I ‘assume’ any 910s and 920s for sale would be ‘old stock’ or 2nd hand/refurbs? Is it reasonable to assume that in 12-18 months, only the 945,Marq and Fenix range will be manufactured as multisport watches? So it’s a nearly $1000 entry point for a Garmin tri watch? Or is there room for a 745 type ‘midrange’ watch?

    • Are you talking USD? Right now the FR945 is $599, the FR935 if $499, and the FR735 is usually in the $300’s. And the FR920 – which is somehow still more capable than most competitors out there, floats arround $200.

      The Fenix 5 Plus is normally $649, though right now on sale for $499.

      I do think there’s room for a refreshed FR735 (aka FR745), though honestly, I have no idea what they’d do to it feature-wise to not cannibalize their FR945. My guess would be no music, no advanced metrics, maybe not even power meter support. Hard to say.

  11. Roxen

    Do you know what battery life one can get while using GPS+GLONASS? Since this seems to be a requirement to get good accuracy with the sony chip.

  12. Thanks for all the deep analysis on your blog. I love the new music on the 945!

  13. Itai

    Great and amazing review as always!

    Are you sure WATERPROOFING is 100M (see table)?
    I think Garmin claims it’s only 50M

  14. Brian

    Ray do you need to use the built-in HRM for all those good Firstbeat/Body-Battery/etc training effect metrics?

    I much prefer NOT to use that and instead use an external HRM (like the schosche products). Can you elaborate if this will cause some of the metrics not to be captured/recorded/analyzed?

    • Tim Grose

      No. I mainly use an HRM-Tri in actual timed activities – e.g runs and rides and gives all that. In fact those metrics will likely be a nonsense if your HR is also a nonsense – whatever HR source you use. As such, best to use whichever you think works best for you.

  15. Januszekwiatuszek

    Do you know when will be available in Poland 🇵🇱?

  16. Todd

    Do you know anything about how scratch resistant the new Gorilla Glass DX is versus the ‘chemically hardened glass’ from the previous forerunners?

  17. Koly

    Sorry for bothering, but where is the promised post on the new female health functionality? Thanks!

  18. Keri

    I was looking at a Fenix 5 Plus but now it seems that the 945 is a better watch. Can we see a size comparison in picture on a wrist? (I bought a 920xt and recalled seeing a similar picture on your review.) I have a small wrist (920 is massive so I don’t wear it all day…) but I’m hoping that the 945 could be worn all day. Thanks!

  19. Ross

    Sorry, $AUD. Nearly a grand for the watch and over $1000 for the bundle. A lot of coin for a watch!

  20. Marios

    Ray in the review you mention “typically vendors significantly bump up the optical sensor light/power draw during a workout versus in 24×7 mode”. Do you happen to know if one can “force” the 945 to be on high-power draw even during the 24×7 mode? In my tests of the 935, it was really struggling getting my HR during walking around in 24×7 mode (cadence lock with fast walking) but if I were to start an activity, the HR would be spot on.

  21. Kevin

    Ordered one (Clever Training UK) Did anybody receive theirs yet? My status keeps saying “processing”.

    • Christoph

      I ordered there, too.
      Asked them, if they knew, when they will have the watch available.
      Answer: first watches are expected at the end of this week, but they are not sure, that they get enough for all orders.

    • Henrique

      Get on Wiggle, I’m getting mine tomorrow.
      I tried on Clever Training Uk and their risk assessment rejected me.

      I think I prefer to support this site directly.

    • gingerneil

      10% off for CT UK is worth waiting for tho!!

    • Jonathan

      I went for CT over wiggle as a £52 discount was too good to ignore, happy to wait a dew extra days for the watch.

  22. Mog

    Thank a lot for the review. in the comparison it would be very useful, beyond technical features, to have a clear view on materials used (glass, plastic etc.) it would ease the comparison and understand the cost drivers for those who are not familiar with other model (fenix plus, suunto 9 etc)
    thanks!

    • Digital Fury

      Coming from a 935, looks to me like it is build the same exact way, using some kind of chinesium alloy for the body and recycled sewer pipes and condoms for the band. Like Ray mentioned, they have changed the colors on the buttons. The screen still has that huge bezel too and at least it is using the same connector for the cable.

    • Mog

      thank you!
      I indeed understood it is similar to 935, but how about fenix5 x plus and fenix5 plus?
      I d like to understand if the material used (especially for the glass) is worth spending more for a fenix for less features than Fr945
      thanks!

    • Digital Fury

      The 945 like the 935 are basically Fenix 5 Ps as in “plastic”. The metal body of the Fenix looks better, but not much. I had a Fenix 3 HR and 5 bith with sapphire. Size might be different, but they kind of both look the same (black), and never had an issues with body or screen scratches on any of them, and I do sport activities on a daily basis. Sapphire is not worth it IMO, at least the MARQs in term of material look much better IMO than the Fenix 5, but are not available (yet) and expensive.

    • Mog

      very clear thank you
      well obviously, as FR945 glass is quite solide material, the gap of functionality doesn t justify to go for fenix
      thanks

  23. Brian

    Can anyone describe which metrics are tied to the onboard HRM and which ones are not? I suspect things like Pulse Ox would be, but it’s not clear on the rest (like training load, etc).

    I want to know what the drawbacks are for turning off the HRM and going with an external HRM instead.

    This would be something that would be helpful to include in the comparison chart.

    • Tim Grose

      The “onboard” HRM is always used outside a timed activity so for your general health stats so you would need to wear it all the time for best effect. In a timed activity (which are used for training load) you can elect (as I do) to use an external HR strap instead on a belief it gives me more reliable results. That said I did try OHR for a run and it worked a lot better than some previous devices have in that regard.

    • Brian

      Thank you for the reply!

  24. Digital Fury

    Just got mine today and par for the course for good old Garmin, it’s crippled by what I hope is simply the usual firmware buggery, and not a Fenix 5 redux with its b0rked antenas. Yes I did update to firmware 2.40, for the obvious Captain Obvious/Garmin my-product-is-perfect fanboys.

    Wi-Fi is sketchy at best regardless if setup directly from the watch, GE or Connect on my phone. Half the time it stays stuck at “Searching for Wi-Fi network”, and I have defined three networks that work flawlessly with other devices. At least when it does accept to connect, Spotify sync is working as expected.

    Caveat Emptor

    I hope it’s simply Garmin’s usual firmware QC buggery

  25. Ben

    Ray,

    Any idea if Garmin intends to introduce its inReach emergency technology with the Fenix 6?

    That seems like the next critical feature for a true backcountry adventure watch.

    Cheers,

    Ben

    • I wouldn’t see inReach being added into any watch anytime soon, mainly due to the antenna size alone being large than the watch itself right now. :-/

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      In the future the Galileo satellites should provide a service similar to inReach, called SAR. I don’t know if it’s already operational. link to gsa.europa.eu
      It should be interesting to ask Garmin if in the future they will support this service in their watches (obviously when the service begins to be operational).

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      But maybe to use this Galileo SAR service the antenna of the watch is too little, like Ray suggested for the inReach. Looking at the video in the link above where the man in the boat is calling for help, it seems that you need a big antenna

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      The main difference between Galileo SAR and inReach is that maybe Galileo SAR is free (without cost for the user), but I don’t know if Europe decided to give this service for free.

  26. Chris

    Ray, thanks again for a great review.

    Garmin’s Web site says 10 hour GPS battery life (60 hours in ultra-trac).

    Your review, and other reviews I’ve read say 36 hour GPS battery life.

    Which is accurate? Thanks.

  27. Lukasz

    I’ve not seen better GPS accuracy on any other watch.
    In GPS + Glonass mode, on the 1st lane of track, my 1K repeats tracked as 1.00km (5 reps) and 1.01 (3 reps).

    link to connect.garmin.com

  28. Jaro

    I can’t seem to find answer anywhere on that: is there any option to set up audio alert when you get out of your hr zone? Either above or below? I remember this feature on polar and I miss it desperately on vivo active 3. Does forerunner fill the gap? Thanks Ray!

    • Stuart

      There most certainly is, at least on my 935, so I have absolutely no doubt that there’ll be a similar feature on the 945.

      One caveat: I found that the HR low/high alerts needed to be spaced apart by a minimum of 10 bpm – when my coach had my e3 as going from 128 bpm to 135 bpm, that was a problem. (It broadened significantly as my fitness improved.) Apart from that though, you can definitely set a low/high alert whilst running, and I’m fairly sure a similar feature applies for cycling if you want it (though I never used that myself.)

    • Jaro

      Thanks Stuart!

  29. Dante

    I ordered this for my 945 but the protectors are marginally too big (fit on the bezel, not directly on the glass). There are no specific 945 screen protectors on Amazon that have been reviewed as yet.

    link to amazon.co.uk

    • Brian

      So it sounds like the bezel is smaller than the 935? That doesn’t sound right, I doubt they’d make such an incrementally trivial change like that. Maybe it’s just a bad vendor on amazon?

      I pre-ordered a 935-specific screen protector from Amazon as well (mostly to get a matte finish as opposed to the glossy it comes with) and I’ll post back how mine fits.

    • snowfree52

      the bezel is not the same as the 935, I bought some protectors from Ebay

    • Anne Farawila

      I got the 4 pack from diruite on amazon and it fits. it’s tight and I had to get it just right, but got it on without wasting any screens.

    • JMR

      Hi,
      Can you please send the link? I’ve also bought some but they don’t fit, same for the one I had on my 935…
      Thx

    • JMR

      Thanks, I got them but still not…

  30. Jo smith

    Hi Ray, great review. I currently have the 935 but do enjoy listening to music so would be happy to upgrade so I don’t have to also take my phone out. My question is about the music function, if you pair the watch with waterproof Bluetooth headphones would it work in the pool. That would seal the deal for me. Thankyou

  31. Pires

    Hi! For those who already have the watch what are your first thoughts on it? How’s the battery life? Found any bugs/problems? What do you think about OHR and GPS accuracy (while we wait for DCR to write the next review)?

    Thanks.

    • David

      Gps is reasonable. No worse than 935 but strays a tad in places
      OHR is very good. Much better than 935

      Battery life.

      A 30 minute run with OHR, GPS+Glonass, RD Pod and music took about 9% – so I am doubting their numbers.

      SPO2 *kills* the battery, drains hugely. That being said they do warn this.

    • CrossTrainer

      Thanks David. The advertised battery life on the 945 seems to good to be true 🙂 but you turned music on which Garmin says cuts a hell lot of battery life from the watch.

      Have you noticed if the battery drains too quickly when the watch is not in sports mode? I’m fearing that the other sensors like spo2 can kill the battery life too soon (vs. the 935). Thanks

    • David

      SPO2 is a battery drainer if on all day mode. Seems good otherwise.

    • Yeah, SpO2 is fun to play with for a week, or if you’re at high altitude, and then you’ll realize how quickly it burns battery and turn it off. Though, the red light is cool.

    • Digital Fury

      I would keep “Sleep Pulse Ox” though, good way to detect sleep apnea, especially for people sleeping alone.

    • snowfree52

      Hi ray,
      If I want the temperature and altitude acclimatation for my VO2max, do I need to keep the all day SpO2 on ?

    • sleepless

      does this mean I might be able to justify using HSA for this purchase!? Sweet!

  32. CrossTrainer

    What do you think is the better buy: 1) Garmin 945 or 2) Garmin 245 + Stryd?

    So with 2) you loose maps, some additional training metrics but gain more accuracy in running power and instant running pace. Garmin pay is pretty much useless in Portugal so it’s out of the equation.

    I’ve looked into some reviews on Garmin Power vs. Stryd and I feel that either Garmin’s power
    is wrong or the numbers are pretty much useless because they are excessively volatile. You would need to adjust your running pace a gazillion times to keep it at about the optimum power level. I’m not saying the absolute number of Stryd is correct (they don’t take wind into account) but it surely seems smoother and usable in practice.

    • Easily #1.

      I guess with running power in general, there’s just too many variability for my taste. Maybe over time that’ll change as hardware evolves…but not today.

  33. Philip

    I word of warning if you try and order from CT in the UK. They charged my credit card, then cancelled the order. I tried a different card and they did it again. It’s now 5 days and I haven’t had the money back yet. Apparently I failed a security check and have been red-flagged!! It would be funny if it a) wasn’t £1000, and b) wasn’t the only discount you can get in the UK.

    UK staff can;t do anything – it’s all ‘Head office’ in the US…and they’re not saying very much. Apparently this has happened to a ‘few’ people in the UK.

    Sorry DCrainmaker – I wanted to support the site with an order but instead I’m a grand down. 🙁 Red flagged means you can *never* order from them in the future.

    In 25 years of shopping online this is a new one….

    • CrossTrainer

      Scary!

    • Neil

      I’ve ordered from CT uk and they have taken money, my order has been sat processing since then.

      I hope I don’t have the same experience, but can you not just let your CC fight it out with clever training? A few CC recharges and Mastercard will take them to task

    • Ralf

      Same here in Germany. CT canceled my order for security reasons (no comprehensible), but nevertheless blocked the amount on my credit card.
      Never-ever-Clevertraining-again.

    • Charles

      I ordered from them as well to give DCR support but they emailed me today to tell me they won’t be getting enough stock and they won’t know when they will fill my order. They had already charged my card last week too. Sorry, Ray, I’m going to get it from one of the shops that does have it available.

    • Hey Guys – sorry for the CTUK rejection troubles (credit rejection). There’s definitely something amiss, and CT HQ is looking into it as we speak. As noted, way too many people are getting rejected (more today than I’ve seen in two years combined).

      I appreciate the support, and hope to have things untangled shortly!

    • Philip

      I can’t get anything from CT at all so taking it up with the card issuers and Mastercard is on the list for tomorrow. I haven’t had the couple of hours spare it’ll take to go through it all. 🙂

    • Philip

      Appreciate the intervention, Ray. Hope you have better luck than everyone else. 🙂

    • Kevin

      Hi Charles, did you ask them for an update or did they just email you explaining the problem? My order is still processing, haven’t heard anything back from them, the cc is charged too.

    • Stuart

      CT need to contact affected customers to say “We’re looking into this, please stand by.” If it were me affected by the problem, and I heard nothing from them, I’d be contacting my credit card company and asking for a chargeback, and if there’s anything a merchant doesn’t want to have to deal with, it’s a flood of chargeback requests.

      They need to get ahead of the puck, in other words – simply looking into it quietly is going to cause more problems for them down the road.

    • Charles

      @Kevin – I e-mailed them to ask and they said that they would get them at the end of this week and they would ship this next week. They followed that up two days later to say they weren’t getting as many as expected and that there won’t be many. FWIW, I ordered within 30 minutes of it going live.

    • Neil

      I just phoned CT UK and was told that they are getting deliveries next week, but have been told they will not have nearly enough units, and will be fulfilling on a first come first served basis, and wouldn’t be able to tell me when or if mine would be fulfilled.

      I don’t mind waiting for things if I can get a clear idea of when, but open ended vagueness isn’t something I’m willing to accept from a retailer. I cancelled my order and ordered from Wiggle

      Sorry Ray

    • Jiri

      Can anybody comment if the credit card problem is already solved? I am going to order through CT UK, but I am a little bit worried……Thanks

  34. Rob

    Just posted by garmin netherlands

    On the vívoactive® 3 Music, Forerunner® 645, Forerunner® 645 Music and the fēnix® 5 Plus series, the safety and tracking functions are now also available!

    Btw just ordered the FR945 😎 to replace my Fenix 3 HR.

  35. MAGNUS

    Ordered Saturday afternoon from CT and got a shipment confirmation today… Also ordered the 530, though did that about two weeks ago, but still no word on that shipment.

    • Nina

      Ordered the Forerunner 945 from Wiggle on sunday evening and received it on tuesday. GPS accuracy is even better then on my 935 (6 activities in open area, near buildings and in woodlands) so i‘m really surprised. No problems with sensor connections (jaybird headphones, stryd power pod etc.). WLAN setup worked fine but to synchronise with spotify drains battery really fast.

  36. Rob

    Is temperature adjusted Vo2Max a software update and therefore will be available on the Garmin 935 as well?

    Garmin support have already indicated that the updated 7 day training load metrics will be available on 935. However these are not currently showing in Garmin Connect on the phone (only overall value and status are available).

  37. Kardiuz

    I have a 945, on Garmin connect I can see “respiration rate” in exercises when paired with Scosche Rythm+.
    I thought I would need a chest belt for this(?)
    Without the Rhytm+ and only using 945 wrist OHR these respiration figures are not shown.

  38. Florian

    Have not received my unit yet and was just wondering (as a new-to-Garmin user): Do they support rotating the screen?
    Would be usefull in the TT-position…

    • Shaun

      The screen on the 945 is round. I’m not sure that there would be a benefit to be able to rotate the screen.

    • Florian

      well, the benefit would be that when you have your arms extended forward (like an an aerobar), you wouldn’t be looking at your numbers sideways 😉

  39. Greg

    @Ray any chance you used V800 or any of the older SIRF-based watches as a reference for GPS comparison? They’ve always been better. Now it’s only the new, I’d say inferior, chipsets for your runs so it’s hard to see how really good the newest watches are.

  40. DQuigs

    On the course creator

    If i buy the watch in the UK – Am going to US for work and want to run some trails, assuming I create the course in course creator and download it to the watch will I see a map or will I just see a breadcrumb trail like the older models ?

    • Peter Schmidt

      I bought a Fenix 5 and now a Fenix 5x Plus in Germany. Regular European edition, official dealers, nothing special. I do not know why, but I had full US maps on multiple occasions (California and Texas) without getting any additional maps from Garmin or anybody else. So I guess this should work for you, too.

  41. Joey

    Ray,

    I know your previously preferred watch was the Fenix 5 Plus, and it may be too early to tell, but will you stick with the Fenix or swap to the 945? I’m only curious because I am torn between the 2. With the Fenix currently being cheaper than the 945, I see it as the better value as it does almost everything the 945 does but with higher quality materials. I know there are a few features the 945 has that the Fenix doesn’t but those are not features I personally find much value in. I could be missing something though. What are your thoughts?

    Awesome review by the way. Thanks for all that you do.

  42. Wawan Setiawan

    My FR945 is otw from CT. Yay!

  43. Tracy

    Hi Ray,

    It appears the 945 does not have the virtual partner function which I find useful. Seems the 245 and lower models have it. Do you know why it was scrapped in the 945?

    Tracy

  44. Vitalii

    Could you please tell me how quickly CT ships to US?

    • Florian

      CT is located in the US, so shipping is pretty quick. I don’t believe you can order from CT UK and get it shipped to the states and even if you did, you’d pay a lot for import duties and have the wrong maps on the unit.

  45. Xan

    Ray, thank you so much for all the awesome geek-sport information that you every time provide.
    I use a Polar RS800CX PTE with all the sensors and it still works for me for sports but it’s in the past compared with a Android Wear watch or a dedicated sport oriented watch like Garmin flagships.
    To bury my RS800CX in the technology graveyard I need something that have both of these worlds but it still doesn’t exist. A real sport smartwatch that has all the sport sensors or at least that can communicate with them and be real smart that can function with Google Maps/Earth, Strava, etc. Polar tried with M600 but it has ridiculous battery, can’t communicate with the sensors and is too slow. And probably we won’t see that in a couple of years, or we have something that’s just for sport or is just a geek watch. We still don’t have a watch that we use all-day for maps/orientations, apps notifications and get out to run, cycle or trekking with maps.
    You work close to the developers, will we see that soon or they don’t have the interest? Apple is just too closed/proprietary, Garmin is just for sport and Android Wear watches are trapped in limbo.

  46. pedro

    bought on CT on the 30th of April. still not shipped. yesterday they said to me they are expecting a stock later this week…

    does anybody in the uk have more detailed news on shipping times?

  47. Shaun

    36 hours of gps life, is that
    GPS only
    Or
    GPS + Glonass

    The 935 was not 24 hours of battery life when using GPS+GLONASS, it was 24 hours on one second recording with GPS only

  48. Johnston Orr

    Worth considering before you buy this: I have a Garmin 645 that I’ve been unable to upload workouts to for a couple of months now, thanks to Garmin’s buggy software. Garmin Express for the Mac is broken and has been for months, refusing to sync anything to the watch after falsely claiming it’s not the default activity tracker. And Garmin Connect mobile for iOS is also broken, just failing to upload workouts to the watch (no error reported, it just doesn’t do it).

    Having bought the watch to drive my running interval sessions, I’m extremely annoyed. More so due to the lack of response from Garmin. (See Garmin forums for the whole saga.) I’m even more angry with Garmin as I’ve got an Edge 520 with a crippled battery ever since firmware v12.60 was unleashed by Garmin.

    These devices might boast an attractive set of features on day 1 but by the end of year 1 Garmin no longer cares about fixing the many bugs it has introduced.

    Buyer beware.

    • Have you tried opening up a Garmin support ticket? I haven’t heard of any sort of widespread upload issue blocking people for months (I use iOS upload daily without issue, along with many others).

    • Johnston Orr

      Yes, I’ve opened on every recently when it became clear that no fix was going to be implemented any time soon.

      I’d offer you links to the threads showing the 2 long-standing problems but the Garmin forums are down for migration to the new platform, ironically. iOS upload worked for me months ago but is broken now. And Garmin Express for Mac has been broken for months. Very disappointing.

    • Paul S.

      Garmin Express has been working fine for me on both my MacBookPro running Mojave (10.14) and my MacPro running Sierra (10.12). Syncing, updating various devices including maps have all been working as normal. I don’t have many workouts, since I only use them in the winter, but I was able to send them to my Edge 1000 over the winter with no difficulty.

    • Johnston Orr

      You’ll be able to sync to your Edge 1000 absolutely fine as it isn’t an activity tracker. Do you have an activity tracker watch, and is it syncing too?

    • Paul S

      Yes but it’s not a Garmin, and all of the “steps” crap on my Apple Watch is kept quiet as much as possible. (I cant keep it from counting “steps” but I can keep it from bothering me about it.). My Garmin watch is my Epix and I don’t remember if it can count steps but it’s turned off if it can.

    • Johnston Orr

      So after a bit of to-and-fro with Garmin support by email, they admit that Garmin Express for Mac and Garmin Connect for iOS are both broken and that you can’t create a Workout then upload it to the FR645 from either platform.

      Stupendous work, Garmin. You just killed the very feature that I wanted from the FR645.

      Again, beware of Garmin’s buggy firmware and software before buying one of their devices.

    • Garmin-Joey

      Hi Johnston,

      Sorry to see that you are having some issue getting workouts uploaded to/from your Forerunner 645. We will want to try and determine what exactly is going on with your device. There shouldn’t be any reason why you are not able to sync data between your account and watch. If possible can you reach back out to our Support team so that we can assist you directly? It looks like we need to look at your situation again.

    • Johnston Orr

      Hi Joey,

      Interesting that you reply to me here in this widely-read blog but not in the Garmin forums where this and other bugs sit unheeded for a year or more.

      I have got a case open with Garmin Support and they agree that both the Garmin Connect iOS app and Garmin Express are broken in this regard (Chris’s email to me of 21 May), and as you can see from the Garmin Forums they’ve been broken for ages.

      Here’s a year’s worth of pain on the iOS app – https://forums.garmin.com/apps-software/mobile-apps-web/f/garmin-connect-mobile-ios/145578/garmin-connect—ios-not-syncing—workouts-or-training-calendar

      …and 6 months of broken Garmin Express for Mac – link to forums.garmin.com

      Cautionary tales for any potential Garmin customer.

    • Johnston Orr

      Are you a Mac user? Then don’t expect Garmin Express for Mac to work – it’s been broken for around 6 months with no fix in sight. Here are the details.

      link to forums.garmin.com

      link to forums.garmin.com

      Worth thinking about if you’ve got a Mac and iPhone (see earlier post about broken Workout upload from iOS) and were thinking about buying a Garmin device. The decision is yours.

    • Paul S.

      I’m an iOS and Mac user and Express works fine for me. I recently added an Edge 830 and Fenix 5+ to my collection, and both sync with no problems along with my VIRB 360 and the older devices I have synced recently (Epix, Edge 1000). I don’t count steps. So the problem isn’t universal. (You’re not using any “anti-virus” crap or a “cleaner” on your Macs, are you?)

    • Johnston Orr

      Nope, I’m not using either of those things.

      The problem is widespread enough to continue to feature on the Garmin forums for months.

      And Garmin Support have just emailed me back to say “I have now added you to the ongoing investigation. As this is a know issue currently, and is being worked on by the engineers, please be patient whilst they work a fix. And apologies for any inconveniences, ” so they’re not denying the bugs exist.

    • Johnston Orr

      To reiterate, the problem relates to activity tracking devices such as the FR645. The VIRB, Edge 830 and Edge 1000 are unlikely to trigger this bug as they aren’t activity trackers (as in, daily steps, resting HR etc).

    • Paul S.

      Oh, I don’t doubt that Garmin software has bugs. I’ve used Garmin software too long not to know that they always have bugs. Just saying that I’m not being affected on both Mojave and Sierra. If activity tracking is the cause, just turn it off and see if that helps. So far my 5+ isn’t causing any problems, and it’s set as my primary activity tracker but tracking is turned off on the watch.

  49. wacomme

    I don’t have a sports watch. I can buy a used 935 for $300. Would this be a better deal than a new 245? Or, is the 945 worth the price over the 935?

    • Digital Fury

      New sensors, Firstbeat metrics, Pay and Music; so I would say yes having migrated from a 935 myself.

  50. Brian

    My 945 came in from Clever Training today. Looking forward to setting it up. I noticed on Amazon that there are all kinds of bands and so forth available. Are those little covers for the charge port even worth getting?

  51. Mark B

    Great review as always. If you use a HRM-SWIM strap will this contribute towards training status and load statistics? I’m tracking those data points but it’s frustrating to have gaps where I’ve completed pool swims.

  52. Edward

    My buttons are a little soft. Doesn’t really have a good tactile feel to them. It seems to soft press halfway and have a false click until pressing harder to actually activate the button. Ordered from clever training and was wondering if anyone else is having this problem?

    • MARTIN

      yes, exactly the same issue. I am going to give it a little time to see if either I get used to it or it gets better. Others have reported exchanging and the replacement was OK, maybe they just had a bad batch

  53. Jack S.

    Hi everyone,
    does the 945 have the ABC widgets (just like Fenix watches have it) ?
    Thanks!

  54. Digital Fury

    Must say that I’m pleasantly surprised that the music part (through Spotify) linked to a pair of Bose SoundSport actually works without a snag. Battery then drains rather quickly but not unexpected.

    Now Garmin needs to integrate mobile telephony so that we can ditch the phone (i.e. if you need to call for help) when working out.

  55. MAGNUS

    Weird, I can’t seem to plug my F945 as a Mass Storage Device regardless of USB Mode selected (MTP vs Garmin).

    @Ray – when plugged into GarminExpress I see a few available map options. One being TopoActive North Americas which is 7.9 GBs… I was under the impression the device came loaded with maps from the original region of purchase. Do I need to install the nearly 8gb update? How much available storage does the F945 have?

    • Starting a while back with the music devices, you’ll see them show up like a music device – still a file system accessible device, but not with a drive letter (assuming you’re talking Windows).

      As for the maps, that’s just the updates. For whatever reason, Garmin has always delivered entire map updates, not differentials. I’d save that for a rainy day.

    • MAGNUS

      I don’t see it at all when I’m plugged in to my machine (mac). I do however see the option to add music via Garmin Express but vía a drag and drop file system option.

      I’m interested because I’d like to drop and save a few files from other folders.

      That said, I’m not sure how to get to these update files.

    • Brian

      Did you find a way to browse the file system of the 945? I am still unable to browse in either Garmin or Music mode…

    • Brian

      Nevermind… I found this in the manual “NOTE: Mac® operating systems provide limited support for MTP file transfer mode. You must open the Garmin drive on a Windows® operating system. “

    • Brian

      Just for internet searching sake… the solution I found for OSX (10.14.5) was to install Android File Transfer, and select MTP on the 945 when connected. This allowed me to browse and grab what I needed, which was screenshots 🙂

    • Stuart

      As a Mac user who prefers (for privacy reasons) to manually upload workouts, this is a near deal breaker for me. At least there’s a workaround.

    • MAGNUS

      @Brian – Thanks for posting this… I haven’t had time to dig further after finding the same thing in the manual.

  56. Pat

    Wrote to fb and garmin asking for new fb features as addon…(pay) and they seem to say if enough people ask for it they may consider it for the fenix 5xplus .

    Write in! Garmin

  57. Jeff T

    REI is running their Anniversary sale starting May 17th and REI members can get 20% off a single full price item. Anyone know if this maybe used for the purchase of the Garmin 945? This would be a pretty good deal if it works.

  58. Sergio Dantas

    Is the 935 cable the same as the 945 or due to the music side they are slightly differents??

    Thanks in advance

  59. Wouter

    Does the 945 have the same navigation limit as the 935 : only 50 navigation points are supported ?
    I don’t find much info on this on the internet, but it bothers me when I use the 935 for navigation on longer bike rides where 50 points is not enough. I’ve read it was 150 on some other models (which would be a much more comfortable number).

    Technically I also do not understand this limitation as I can’t imagine it to take up a lot of memory either.
    Do you guys also find this annoying ? Or how do you get around this limitation ?

    Kind regards,

    Wouter

    • OnlyTwo

      There was(is) a test done on Garmin forum(temp down).

      FR945 can manage 200 Course points.

    • Jonathan

      200 is pretty poor, I think my Fenix 3 supports 10,000 points per track.

      If 200 the limit, then I’ll probably cancel my 945 order as I need around 1000 for some of my 100 milers.

    • Jonathan

      The forum is down, so I can’t check – but there is a difference between route points and track points – what I need is track points and can’t find that figure anywhere.

      The Fenix 3 for example had 10,000 track points and 50 route points.

    • Wouter

      @OnlyTwo : Thanks for the helpful reply, this is exactly what I was looking for !
      200 should be enough !

      @Jonathan : we were indeed discussing route points, not track points.

      Kind regards
      Wouter

  60. TC

    Wouldn’t the ‘pill’ boxes in the load overview depend on what you’re trying to achieve? I.e. shouldn’t a 5k runner see different recommendations than a marathon runner?

  61. Jonathan

    I’ve just spoken to Clever Training UK and was told that they haven’t received any stock yet, they were supposed to on Friday but are having to chase Garmin as they got nothing.

    I ordered on the 3rd May, she said there were “many” pre-orders before me, which started from around the middle of April so I would most likely have to wait quite a long time, probably into June.

    With that in mind, I’ve cancelled my order and gone with Wiggle (will get my watch tomorrow), I know I have lost the discount but I would have no idea on when the watch would have arrived from clever training.

    Sorry Ray.

    • Flo

      Oh man, that is cruel – I ordered one day after you. To make things worse: My V800 just died and I have races coming up, so definitely can’t wait till June…

      Why the heck does wiggle get stock and Clever Training does not?!

    • Jonathan

      I think Wiggle had a deal with Garmin for an exclusive I guess.

      I wouldn’t have minded waiting had Clever Training kept me updated of likely delivery, but I wasn’t happy leaving it open ended when as far as I know it could be another month.

    • Rodnest

      This watch was announced on April 30th. How are there pre-orders from mid-April? That is a joke. They (CT-UK) should be more proactive with their clients, whatever the problem, and not so creative with their excuses.

    • chris

      I also ordered at clevertraining.co.uk and now I regret this decision. I can wait nex few days but this looks like a joke – we will have units and dispatch in early May, we will have units until 10th may and start dispatching 13th, we do not know when we will have stock. I do not know whose fault is this, clevertraining or Garmin, but this makes me angry. Never again, sorry. Do not sell things if you don’t have it in stock or can’t guarantee delivery date.

    • Kardiuz

      I ordered a 945 just minutes after it was released on Clever Training UK website April 30th.
      I had no confirmation on delivery in conversation with them the following week. They were awaiting information from “Head office”. In the end I cancelled my order (refund was smooth) and bought from Wiggle instead.
      When asking where I was in the line to get my watch they informed they could not tell because they did not know from HQ hiw many watches they would get in first batch.
      They also told med they had orders from April 26. This was what really triggered me to cancel the order at CT UK. I am annoyed
      how they can accept pre orders before official launch.

    • pedro

      did the same!
      canceled order with CT (after 15 days) got it from wiggle today (less than 24h).
      cheers

    • Phoner

      I’ve ordered FR945 from CT UK on April 30. Called them today. It seems they have received today a small amount and mine was among them. Have received a shipping confirmation just a few minutes ago. Glad I did not cancel my order, waited and got it with the discount.

    • ommike

      Same here, ordered on the 30th from CT UK and just received a tracking number. Was just about to give up and order it for the staggering 649€ price the local shops are asking for, but now definitely glad I didn’t. Hope everyone gets their own soon.

    • Rodnest

      After emailing them and receiving the open response today, I decided to cancel. Otherwise, there was no delivery date and if I want to play the lottery, I buy tickets. Never more. (Even knowing that they have sent some, more than satisfied to pay the extra to know when I receive what I bought and paid).

  62. Brian

    @Ray – Is it possible to differentiate LiveTrack by Activity type?

    For example, I want all cycling activities to LiveTrack (since I’ll have my phone with me) but no Running activities.

    From what I can tell if you set up LiveTrack “AutoStart” it doesn’t differentiate. Which is a pain as I will start most of my runs “near” my phone (it being in my vehicle or at my house) but quickly “not near” so it sends a “false” LiveTrack notification to my established contacts.

    If this could simply be designated by Activity type it would solve the problem.

  63. Brian

    Is it possible to differentiate Alert notification types by Alert types? It doesn’t appear so by the menu options that’s why I’m asking if I’m missing something.

    For example:

    I might want an HR max alert by vibration but Lap splits to be by audible beep.

    Is that possible?

  64. Guillermo Guerini

    After a full week of training for a 70.3 (11 hours – pool swimming/indoor trainer/outdoor running) and using the 945, I have a few things to say:

    Pool swimming: No complaints here. It counted all my laps perfectly during 4 different workouts.
    Indoor training: No surprises using an external HRM strap and Assioma Duo with power-match Wahoo Core 2018. The only thing I noticed is an issue when doing the 0 offset. Even though I see “0 offset” in the screen, the animation keeps spinning and I never get the green confirmation to accept it and go to the activity screen. I need to manually “return” to exit the screen (which makes me think it’s not really saving the result). This is probably a bug, because I can do the 0 offset using Trainer Road without any problem.
    Outdoor running: The GPS is.. hmm.. meh. I did a few runs using a 920xt while testing the 945. The 920xt is (almost) always perfect, and the 945 is not. I tried GSP only initially, and the results weren’t great at all (I live in Boston, USA – 3/4 story buildings so not at lot of tall buildings, and plenty of wide open areas around the Charles River bike path). In the past few runs I’ve been using GSP + GLONASS and it’s definitely better. My long run yesterday was surprisingly good, the first good result I would say. But when you zoom in and compare with the 920xt tracking (or old 935 / Fenix 3 activities) you see a lot of rough edges.. it’s not as smooth as my previous watches. And when I compare live stats (speed / distance) while running, the watches NEVER agree with the numbers. But I have faith it will get better.

    Small issue: syncing. I initially setup both my home and work WI-FI networks. Then I noticed that it wouldn’t always sync after a workout. While the 920xt would. Yesterday, I got tired of seeing the watch connected, the little sync animation going but no sign of syncing, I removed the WI-FI networks and it seemed to have fixed my issue. Let’s see..

    Now my biggest complaint: the UP & DOWN buttons. Like some people already complained, they are very soft. It’s like I need to press twice or much harder than the other buttons, otherwise it’s a false click. Yesterday, on my long run, it was “cold” 5C/41F (hello spring?) and I was wearing gloves. This turned out to be a huge problem. I really struggled to actually make them to work. For a $600 watch, I was expecting them to be better. I’m going to contact Clever Training and see what they have to say.

    I haven’t used music yet. I always run with my phone because I listen to a lot of podcasts at 1.5x speed and I’m not sure I can do that with the watch. I wish Garmin had released two versions: 945 and 945 Music for the $100 premium. Shrug. I’m still bitter that I’m paying $100 extra for this watch (I know I didn’t “have to” buy it).

    But overall, besides the soft buttons, I’m somewhat happy with the 945. All the metrics are cool and they seem to be a bit better than the used to be.

    • MARTIN

      This matches my experience after a week as well. Even after deleting the wifi network, mine still takes about 10 trys to sync. Usually have to turn on and back off bluetooth, etc. One of those things where I have no idea what actually worked. All I know is my 935 connected and synced fine. this one shows connected and syncing, but then never completes

    • Itai

      Thank you for yor review it really helped me (to wait a bit longer and see if problems are fidxed 😉

    • Stephen Hemminger

      I discovered that FR945 download only supports 802.11b not g or n. Many people have there Wifi configured to modern standards only because supporting legacy devices hurts Wifi performance.

      Went in and chose Legacy mode (I have Openwrt) and that resolved the problems with Wifi connections.

      Interesting many people had similar issues with older watches (on Garmin Forums). But for some reason Garmin took the forum posts offline…

  65. Tim Nufire

    Is anyone else having problems with elevation on their Forerunner 945? I just got my new watch and I’m seeing somewhat random readings and stretches of no data at all (dropouts of some sort). The following 2 analyzer comparisons show the 2 rides I did this past weekend recorded on the Forerunner 945 and Edge 1030:

    link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com
    link to analyze.dcrainmaker.com

    I suspect bad hardware and am ready to return my watch for replacement, but though I would check here first.

  66. herbivoor

    Ray, could you check whether or not the FR935 and FR945 screens are exactly the same size? Screenprotectors for a FR935 don’t fit the FR945. Thanks!

  67. Philip

    10 days after having 2 orders declined by CleverTraining for no reason they have still not released the funds on my credit card for one order but seem to think everything is resolved.

    I’ve never dealt with such a shady company online – I’m really surprised they are recommended on such a good site.

    I’ve emailed and called again today – maybe something will happen this week before I have to use UK consumer law?

    • Hi Philip – sorry for the troubles. I confirmed with the CT US folks who looked into your UK case that the funds were released back to your bank yesterday. However, they noted that sometimes banks in turn take a couple days before that shows up on your side. FWIW – the top accounting folks were working to try and untangle your situation (certainly not your fault). It’s the first time they’ve seen something like this before.

      Again, sorry for the problems – but hopefully you’re good to go shortly.

    • Xorkkgul

      Just an other “interesting” experience with Clever Training… Forerunner 945 ordered on May 12 (for 533.51 EUR), order cancelled on May 14, but 532.30 EUR only refunded on May 16! Where are my last 1.21 EUR??? Exchange rates somewhere??? Commission for the “excellent” job of Clever Training???

    • That’s weird. I’ve forwarded it on to the right folks.

    • Though, i could see a scenario whereby if you were billed in GBP and then your bank’s exchange rate varied, that might explain it.

    • Xorkkgul

      Hi Ray, thank you for your intervention. No, I was billed in EUR, my order confirmation only stipulates amounts in EUR. I also asked the question to Clever Training UK. Strange…

    • Alex

      Same for me – Did you already get any update?

    • Xorkkgul

      Hi Alex! No, I contacted Clever Training UK again yesterday but no update until now…

    • Joaquin

      I ordered on May 4…still processing…my card was instantly charged on May 4. I hope I don’t have to wait much longer. Furthermore, they should upgrade us all to next day shipping… I’m traveling overseas on the 29th of May. I really don’t know if I will have received it by then. Lost faith with Clever Training. Sorry…

    • Xorkkgul

      Hi Alex (and Ray)! I now understand what my (our?) problem is. Clever Training US didn’t refund me the amount paid in EUR (533.51 EUR), but the equivalent amount in GBP (532.30) expressed in EUR (532.30 EUR). Following their invoicing system, they refunded me 533.51 EUR but it isn’t true. Buggy invoicing system or punctual error, I don’t know. But I don’t give up, I will get my money back, it’s a question of principle. Sorry Ray but I’m glad I cancelled my order with Clever Training UK, it’s one of the best decisions I took in 2019 until now:-)

    • Hi Xorkkgul-

      I was under the impression that they had reached out to you last week to sort things out and figure out what had gone on there. That’s the first time I’ve heard of it occurring – but I know it’s something I discussed with them and they were escalating quickly to sort out.

      Thanks for the support attempt though!

      Cheers.

  68. TX911

    I’ve noticed the WHR LEDs on the 945 stay on even when connected to an external HRM.

    This differs from the 935, and seems an unnecessary battery drain.

  69. Brian

    What is this “Floor Climb” app pre-installed?

    Of course I go to the Connect IQ page and search on “floor climb” and it doesn’t show up so I can’t get a description there.

  70. Jyrki P.

    Clever Training UK just completed my order. Original order date was April 30.

    • Harald

      ordered 30.04., via DPD UK on the way to Hamburg

      would have been great to use for my weekend run (Paris Saint-German-en-Laye La Course), but arrives on Friday in Hamburg. Sad Panda.

      But something to look forward to next week 🙂

    • Thanks for the support guys – and sorry for the delays. At least it’s on the way now! Good luck on the run!

    • Harald

      Paris-STG was fun, the whole weekend in Paris was great as always.
      Oh, and we´ve been for diner at Comme Cha Toi again, always good food 🙂

  71. Steve

    I also ordered on 30th April from Clever Training UK and I received tracking details today.

  72. JorgeP

    Hello, I have two questions about navigation with the FR945. With RoundTrip routing, you get a notification on the clock at every turn, just like with car navigation. But if I plan a route on the PC and transfer it to the clock, then I don’t receive a notification during navigation, but only see the route and must always look at the clock myself to see the direction. Is there any way to set it so that the notifications also come automatically for routes? The second question is whether you can load other maps on the clock, so that you get e.g. RoundTrip-Routing or with the “Back to Start” function also forest tracks suggested? At the moment only roads are suggested.

    • Andrew B

      Your Activity settings, routing, courses needs to be set to “use map” instead of “follow route”. Then it will use the imbedded maps and navigate off of that. The downside is it takes longer to calculate.

  73. I ordered from CT UK early morning of May 1st, my order is still processing, seems like I didn’t make the first batch 🙁

  74. I’ve done a detailed review of the Garmin/Firstbeat derived VO2 max as well as the breathing rate estimation from heart rate variability. If anyone is interested: link to muscleoxygentraining.com

  75. I am another disgruntled Clever Training UK customer.

    I ordered on 30th April via the link above. I’ve had no official updates as to what is happening after ordering (i.e. no emails).

    I am unable to check the status of my order. When I advised them the order is not tied to my account last week, they said they would fix it, which they have not.

    Last week they told me the 945 would be here by today. Today they said they do not expect stock until the end of May or after.

    Not impressed with this website so far. Surprised that they are recommended as the whole experience has been extremely poor.

    I ordered my 935 from Wiggle at launch last time and leaning towards cancelling my order with Clever Training and ordering there. Does anyone know of any other stores that have them in stock?

    • Joaquin

      I also ordered from clever training following this site’s recommendation. DC Rainmaker is probably the best equipment review page in the world. Thus, I though that clever training would be at his level. Not even close. Ray, many of us follows your recommendation. It would be great if you speak with them directly and are able to give us some feedback. Something is very wrong here. Furthermore, many of us buy products based on your reviews and recommendations. Garmin should know that. If they make clever training look bad, they are making you look bad. I know you have nothing to do with this, but still, many of us purchased through clever training to support your page. Thus, by not having inventory for weeks when other stores do…I’m short, I’m not buying from them ever again. The problem is the uncertainty, if I had more information I could decide if I should just cancel and purchase the 945 elsewhere. Also, if they are like this, I wonder how long is going to take them to refund my money. I mean, they were very quick in charging my card. Sorry Ray, we need answers. Having said all that, you have the best page out there and your reviews are the best in the industry. No one comes close to your level. Congrats on that. Lastly, I read that you were recently in Mallorca. I live there and would have loved to cross paths, if even for a second to tell you that I’m a fan and that you are doing incredible work. Thank you.

    • Hi Kevin and Joaquin-

      First off, sorry for the troubles. I hear ya – trust me, I do. It sucks. And I know CT hears you as well (mostly, because they hear it from me three times a day – including every one of your comments).

      I’ve got them committed that before you wake up in the morning all CT UK Garmin backorders will get a status update. CT US folks were getting weekly e-mail status updates for back orders, but UK folks weren’t. So that’s changing. They also just spent the last hour or two trying to get a clear timeline from the manufacturer on exactly when the pending shipments will arrive (which, includes some good news as soon as tomorrow). Again, update coming in the next few hours.

      Atop that, they do agree that the mixed messages from CT UK aren’t good. So they’re working to get that correct. Be it good news, or bad news, the news should be the same (unless of course, the news varies on order date).

      Thanks again for the support – I do appreciate it!

    • Joaquin

      Ray, wow. Thank you. Things out of our control happen all the time. The problem, as I said before, is being in the dark which in turn makes it harder to understand the situation and be patient with the other party. It’s mind blowing how quickly you took charge of the situation and wrote back to us. No one does that. You are a true professional. Big thanks.

    • Thanks for that DC. I do empathise with your position as obviously this is not your store and have no control over stock issues etc. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we want to support the companies you work with as your reviews help us make the right decision with sports equipment.

      I wanted this quick as I am planning on doing a YouTube review with it, and as you know, being late to the game with new products usually means no views. That’s why this has been pressing for me.

      Not received any updates yet, but hopefully we will get some update about the order soon.

      I do agree with Ray on the card issue though. Charging cards weeks before they come in stock is a very poor way to perform business and more concerning than any stock issues.

    • Thanks, totally understand.

      I’ll check on why CT UK is pre-charging the cards, as I know CT US doesn’t anymore (stopped a few years ago). It’s mostly the same platform, but maybe it’s a difference in payment provider. Either way, poking now.

      Also, my understanding is e-mail updates were set to go out shortly after we all went to sleep. I’ll double-check that those happened.

    • I haven’t had any updates today about my order. I still can’t check my order status on their website either.

      I just checked my credit card statement and after ordering on 30th April my card was charged on 1st May. Which means that I’m going to be paying interest on the watch soon despite not having it.

      This is definitely not acceptable in my eyes and something which the company has to address in some way.

    • kurito

      Just chiming in to echo other people’s concerns, my order was placed on the 30th of April. Absolutely no communication from CT and my emails were met with generic and vague answers. I can’t see how a company can advertise timelines for stock that they haven’t secured. CT haven’t gotten in touch after your post above Ray. I do hope this is getting resolved soon, thank you for trying to get CT to behave as they should.

    • No update about my order yet, but it looks like they have finally assigned my order to my account so I can at least see now that it is “Processing”.

      Progress 😉

    • Ciprian

      I didn’t get any update either. Wrote to them this morning but no response yet.

    • Ciprian

      The really frustrating thing is that the local distributor in Romania does have in stock at the same price (minus the 10% discount of course, but with some premium warranty which is nice). I hope to hear soon from CT UK, if it’s June then probably I will have to cancel.

    • Joaquin

      Just received a mail from Clever Training UK stating that they will be receiving more inventory this week and every week after that. They expect to be able to fulfill all back orders before the end of May.

      On a final note directed to GARMIN; I don’t know who’s fault it is, it’s beside the point. But know this, I trust Ray, as many thousands of other sports enthusiasts do. I’ve been a very faithful Polar user for more than 15 years. Im currently on my second V800 and I was very much looking forward to the Vantage V. However, because of Ray’s very professional, unbiased and comprehensive reviews, and lately of the Garmin 945 I decided to make a change. The point is, Ray, although unquestionably unbiased and truthful in his reviews is helping you sell thousands of Garmin products. Because of that, you should make sure that he and the channels that he recommends are well taken care of. Most people I know that play sports, from cycling to even sailing…trust DC Rainmaker. Other sites are secondary…thus, don’t fail him and us in turn. The fact that we are having this conversation when lesser suppliers have product and the retailers recommended by Ray do not is beyond comprehension.

    • Jon

      I ordered late on the 30th April and seemingly missed the first batch they sent out.. But just got my shipping email now, hopefully they’ll be able to get the rest sent out sharpish.

    • chris

      Just few minutes ago I received this email from Clever Training (not CT UK):

      “Thank you for your patience and we are happy to announce that the Garmin Forerunner 945 Black units have finally started to arrive into our UK warehouse.

      Some units have arrived this week and we will be receiving the units as well next week.

      The bulk of the units are scheduled to be arriving in the last few business days in May as well and going forward we will be sending out notifications every Wednesday evening to update you on your incoming order.

      As a reminder that on the day that your unit ships a shipping and tracking email will be generated at that time to provide you with the ETA.

      If you have any current or further questions or concerns please contact the UK Clever Training Team at:

      CUSTOMER SERVICE”

      Earlier today I received tracking number from DPD, however order in my account is still “Processing”. When I check tracking info on DPD website I see this status:
      “We’ve received your order details, and we’re expecting your parcel shortly”

      Thank you for the update but it is definitely too late to improve user experience. I will not cancel my order (if shipping info is true) but will never buy anything else in this shop. Very poor communication, charging card immediately after order was made without watch in stock. This is not how online shop should work.

    • Thanks for fighting our cause Ray.

      I received the same email as others explaining that orders will be in soon. I ordered on 30th April, but it is still sitting at processing and there is no delivery information yet. I suspect I’m going to be one of the unlucky ones that has to wait.

    • Ciprian

      I just received the shipping notification from CT UK, order was made 4AM on May 1st.

    • Mine has shipped too.

      Can’t believe my order says 3 to 5 days after all this hassle. After charging our cards weeks early, the least they could have done is send it next day delivery.

      But hey ho, at least the ball is moving.

    • Nevermind. Royal mail says they haven’t even received it yet.

      “16 May
      05:08pm
      Sender preparing item”

    • Florian

      Re: “On a final note directed to GARMIN;…”

      Well said! And scary how identical our situation is. I also just had my second V800 “drown” and decided to finally make the switch because of Ray’s reviews…

    • chris

      Ok, finally have my 945 from CT UK. It took long weeks but it is here and I am excited.

  76. MAGNUS

    Ray – I’m a bit confused with the Pulse Ox feature and hoping you can help me understand it.

    You noted in the review it’s primarily intended for folks doing high altitude training, which is not me as I live and train at sea level, so I’m good there.. However, is the ‘all day’ feature needed as part of the Heat Acclimation? When I go onto the watch or GC site I see the two toggles under Device Settings > Pulse Ox

    Turn this on to track blood oxygen measurements throughout the day.
    Acclimation

    Turn this on to track blood oxygen measurements throughout the day.
    Sleep Tracking

    How do these impact the heat acclimation piece?

    • No, the all day features of PulseOx don’t tie into heat acclimation at all. Totally separate. In effect, there’s basically three acclimation metrics:

      PulseOx: This one is probably the ‘least well’ integrated in terms of guidance. Though, it’s been around the longest from Garmin. It basically plots SpO2 over altitude graphs. So if you’re climbing, it shows those values atop each other. It doesn’t really say whether you’re acclimated per se though in the same sense as the others. It’s more of a ‘here’s your current not-dead status’.

      Heat Acclimation: This is dependent on workouts specifically, and uses weather stations nearby your starting point using Garmin Connect Mobile (smartphone app). If you don’t do workouts, then the acclimation will slowly fade away. Further, it does depend on being above 71*F. Humidity is also factored in.

      Altitude Acclimation: This data point is gathered both at the point of a workout from the watch itself, but also daily at midnight quietly in the background from the watch itself. It looks at your current altitude and then sees how long you’ve spent there. If it lacks a workout that day, it presumes you spent the entire day at that altitude. Said differently, if you arrive at a hotel in the Alps at 11:35PM, you’ll get credit for that whole day when the clock checks in at midnight. Same goes for a redye flight. The longer you spend at altitude, the more acclimated you are, and it shows you your current acclimation altitude.

  77. Karl Melrose

    Picked mine up on Saturday and took it out for the first run on trails, then another long run on Sunday. Replacing my Fenix 3. Everything appears in order. One concern is that the battery depletion is faster than I expected – I was using a GPS track to navigate a run, dropped about 15% over the course of a 2 hour run, meaning a 13 hour battery life even without music if that’s a trend. At the moment I’m putting it down to having my phone with me and bluetooth on – I’ve had that issue before on both the Fenix 3 and my Edge 810.

    Mapping feature is excellent – can’t rave enough about it and really looking forward to using it in anger on the trail.

    Also really liking the advanced sleep metrics. Pulse Ox is feeling a little bit like a chocolate tea pot at the moment – but when I start doing higher altitude events, it might come into its own.

    GREAT DEVICE! Reccommend!

    • Simon

      It might be unrelated but it seems some devices are experiencing abnormal battery drain. My 945 was going from 100% to 76% within 24 hours without any gps tracking or pulse ox.
      Garmin are not sure yet what is causing the issue and it appears not to affect every user but been reported by several in US and EU.

      I’ve just returned my 945 for a refund because it was within 7 days of purchase and will buy again once Garmin have resolved the problem

  78. Michael

    AWESOME review as always, i end up reading reviews of most of the stuff even though I dont need them like power meters 😂😂😂 Do you think 935 is still a good buy? Will they keep updating the software? I returned my VA3 due to a faulty sensor and I want to step up to 935 or 645

  79. Paul Tomblin

    – The CleverTraining page for the Forerunner 945 looks terrible and the dropdowns don’t work if you’re logged in, but looks fine if you’re not. (Tested on Safari and Chrome on macOS.) I had to log out, add it to my cart, then log back in.
    – Evidently the 20% VIP coupon code doesn’t work for the 945.

    • Just to clarify – CT US or CT UK? Though honestly, should be identical.

      As for the VIP coupon, yeah, most Garmin stuff is excluded per Garmin requirement.

    • Paul Tomblin

      CT US. But the problem seems to have cleared up. Possibly a .css caching issue or something.

      That’s too bad about the Garmin exclusion. Maybe I should have another look at your review of the Suunto.

  80. MAGNUS

    How long does it generally take to activate Garmin Pay. My bank is supported so I went through the setup on Saturday (05/11) however Garmin Pay still shows as ‘pending issuer activation’.

    • Michael

      for me it was immediate(several minutes at most)

    • Yeah, it’s instant for me (a few seconds).

      The last time I had a card get stuck was at launch of the tech almost two years ago. I’d say at this point you should escalate to Garmin Support and they can poke the payment provider. I’m not sure exactly how that support aspects works, but certainly Garmin Support will be able to get you going in the right direction on that (or at least as far as they can depending on how much of it is the banks fault).

    • MAGNUS

      Just before reaching out to Garmin I figured I’d remove the card to try re-adding. Like you two commented, it instantly activated. Guessing the activation got ‘stuck’ first time around.

      Thanks fellas!

  81. snowfree52

    Hi Ray, I have the 945, edge 1030 and Edge 130
    before the 945 I had the 935 and everything was working fine with true up but now with the 945 it’s all gone wild.
    When I do a workout on the edge 1030 it’s transfered to the 945 but the amount of load reported for the week load is stupidely low and it completeny screws the load calculations (IE workout done yesterday, 2h ride TE aerobic : 3.1 anaerobic 2.2) load reported by the 945 : around 20 … and is shown in grey.
    other problem : swimming is not even taken into account. I know without HR it cannot give a true number of load but it would be good to get at least “some” load based on pace or something.

    • Yeah, only workouts with HR are taken into account. I didn’t do any with the HRM-TRI/SWIM though to see if those account for it (my regular swim workouts I did with it…I just did sans-strap).

      If you’re getting wonky Physio TrueUp stuffs, the biggest things to do is double-check and re-toggle on/off the Physio True-up options on both the phone and device for each unit you have. I find that usually kicks it going again.

      Failing that, Garmin Support can usually pretty quickly see if there’s something clogging the pipes on your account. Finally, ensuring quickie items like weight/gender are correct on all devices is important too.

    • I have the same issue. Low values (55) for bike rides with a TSS of 200+ whereas easy runs of 4-5 miles have 100+.

    • MAGNUS

      Same experience here… Had a good experience with my F935 and Edge 520 but now things are all over the place on both new devices (eg F945 and Edge 530).

      All user settings are correct on both devices yet the stats/values are all over the place.

      Values from 935/520 also had no issues updating on my F5. Workouts still show on the F5 but even the stats on that are now skewed and don’t line up with either the 945 or 530.

  82. Michael Cooper

    Hi Ray,

    Great review as always and appreciate the work you do!

    I’ve had my FR945 for 10 days and noticing 2 issues, battery and syncing

    Battery

    With 2 complete battery drains and charges so far I’m getting about 4 days/cycle (2 workout activities/day average).

    Compared to the 935 it is horrendous. My 935 would give me 10 days approx.

    Syncing

    The calendar and weather widgets will only update/sync with IQ open.

    Workouts Are only syncing manually – on the 935 when I saved a workout it synced to IQ almost instantly

    Any ideas would be appreciated from you (or anyone else) in the group.

    Thank you

    • Mike S.

      Hi, i did face the same problems. An hard reset made things a little bit better but still not on the level of the 935.

  83. Damon

    Ray, I’m the owner of an 820, which I’m going to give to my wife and move to the 830. I also have a Forerunner 935. One feature I was hoping would work on the 820/935 combo was communication on effort and recommended recovery time. I know via your review, you now get that with the 830/945. I’m sure the answer is no, but do you know if you can get that with the 830/935 combo via software update? That’s a tough sell getting the wife to approve the 945 when the 935 works just fine (and I just bought the 830).

    Any insight would be appreciated!

  84. Thorough as ever, brilliant review.

    I missed the 945 launch stumbling upon it here when looking for a good 935 review. Excellent detail and brilliant stats. Looks like the 945 is the next watch to get!

  85. Mirko Surf&Run

    In the menu of the watch 945, in settings -> user profile there is “wrist left or right”. Can you ask why? Maybe for the accelerometer?

    • Brian

      It’s needed for the auto-backlight feature. It activates the backlight when the watch is “raised” so it needs to know left from right for that at least.

  86. Brian

    I have noticed my 945 will change the white background to black background occasionally on some run activities. I can’t figure out the logic behind it though, does any one know why this initiates?

    • Stuart

      My Edge 520 does the same thing when night time comes. Just throwing out a possibility, not making a definitive statement about the 945.

    • Trevor

      It’s maybe the climbing logic, at least my 935 do that if climb detection is enabled and watch detects climb that exceed the set elevation (default is 600m/h which means rate of 10m/minute). It can be turned on/off from sport settings.

  87. nyochai

    Hi, thanks fr the great review as always. one question, can the maps be changed if I move b between different ares?

  88. Andrej Schmitt

    Last weekend i did a 70.3 Triathlon. In open water swimming my 945 measured 50m instead of 1900. Seems that it had no connection while swimming. Switched from 935 which was flawless in open water swimming. Anyone having same problem while swimming open water? I know that Fenix had many issues with open water swim… Now the same for FR945?!?

  89. Brian

    Ray et al – So this might be the wrong place to ask this but is it not possible to create profiles on this device? Meaning I want say the “bike” profile to only connect to certain power meters and sensors etc and my “run” profile to only connect to certain power meters (stryd) and its own sensors.

    The other day I did a bike/run/bike commute to work and the device retained my Stryd power meter and registered obviously VERY low wattage for the bike commute portions that I had the Stryd stowed away in a pack. It seemed obvious to me that you would assign certain sensors to certain profiles (as other devices do) but I don’t see it as an option here?

    • Brian

      Anyone? Bueller?

    • No method of doing that unfortunately.

      For your Stryd unit though, are you pairing it as a power meter? Or using the Stryd app? In theory if you use the Stryd data fields in run mode there’s no reason to pair it as a power meter.

      However, if you’re using the bike profile for running (since it supports power zones and such), then…that’s less ideal. No solution I know of there aside from ensuring each time you start a workout you’ve got it connected to the right sensor (You could name the sensors, so that at least it pops-up and says ‘Connected to Stryd’ or ‘Connected to Quarq’. Though with only one power meter, your pickle is complete.

      Essentially, what you’re saying is you need a cycling power meter on your commuter bike. Problem solved. 🙂

    • Brian

      Ha ha, the commuter bike is an ElliptiGo actually! Thanks, I had the Stryd connected as a power meter so it would show up in a special data field I pulled down from CIQ (“DozenRun”). Without that, the field doesn’t display power.

      I am coming to the 945 from an original version “Vivoactive” and I was hoping some of these problems would’ve been solved by now.

  90. SEBASTIAN

    Great review! Question, I do Ironmans but also lots of Trail Running / Ultras and some hiking, which watch would you recommend? FR945 or Fenix 5/5x plus?

    Thanks!

  91. Tomas

    First of all I am a huge fan of this website and the youtube channel, great job!

    Has anybody received any update from clevertraining.uk? I placed my order on 6th with a note “early May” and it is still shown as “processing”. Of course my card has been charged. Just generic excuses from them without expected time of delivery and they are not willing to provide any discount for the delay. This is ridiculous, have never experienced anything like that with an eshop so far.

  92. Andy

    Great review! As usual 🙂

    I wish Garmin had added GPS dual frequency (L1 + L5 and/or E1 + E5a). Maybe next year. Or 2021.

    Since many here are complaining about CleverTraining and since I want to support Ray: Order placed at Clevertraining.com on May 18, 2019, delivered on May 22, 2019 (California).

    • Thanks for the support Andy, I appreciate it!

      As for dual frequency, Garmin says they’re looking at it (I had a chat with them about it), but that at this point it would set them back power-consumption wise and basically erase any of the gains they saw with the new Sony chipset (power-wise). Given it’s not even in any headliner phones yet, it sounds like it’ll be a ways before we see it in any wearables. Which wasn’t a hard no from them, purely a ‘the time isn’t yet right’.

    • Mario

      You erase with music more than with dual frequency. The Forerunner and Fenix products should be more for athletes as for lifestyle. If Garmin waits that Suunto or even Polar have dual frequency, so we would never see dual frequency by Garmin. Why should Garmin not be the first and have the lead with this technology?

    • Sure, but people can decide whether or not to use music – and thus, it’s either an impact or not depending on user preference. I don’t know if in dual chipsets the user would have that choice or not.

      I’m going to highly doubt we’ll see Suunto or Polar move first on dual frequency. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but it seems unlikely given what we’ve seen both companies do in recent years.

    • Does that mean that the Sony chip supports dual frequency and there is a chance that the firmware will be updated down the line to support it? Or Garmin are evaluating the possibility of using chips in future devices that will support dual frequency?

    • It doesn’t support it.

      Garmin have said they’re looking at dual, but at this time the tech/adoption is just too early. They noted that no headliner phones have it yet (not that that’s a requirement, but just pointing it out), and they noted that while the battery life isn’t a massive hit, it would erase the gains of the Sony chipset. Again, they said they’re super interested in it…but just not yet.

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      Good to know that Garmin confirmed to you that from a design and production process view point it’s possible to fit a dual frequency chip and a dual frequency antenna in a small object like a watch.

    • Mirko Surf&Run

      Anyway, it seems that I’m the exception. After reading your review I had not high expectations about gps accuracy, but my FR945 in my first runs in easy environment for gps is giving me better results than the FR35 with the Mediatek chipset and better results of my old trusted FR610 with Sirfstar chipset. I’m quite surprised by the good results with GSP + Galileo.
      Now I’m waiting to test the watch in other routes more difficult for gps, and test how the watch will handle with multipath errors (near mountains and building).
      Even without the dual frequency, my first impressions is that the FR945 is a great sport watch!

  93. Ross

    Thank you for the review. I do about 25% of my workouts on an indoor cross country ski machine (Nordic Track Skier). What would be the best Garmin set up to monitor and store these workouts? I don’t see and indoor skiing option so would one choose indoor running and would a foot pod be useful for this activity?

    • I’m honestly not sure any of those modes would really track anything of use. You’d basically be tracking HR/time, but I don’t believe you’d see any distance out of that.

    • Paul S.

      If you actually ski outdoors, then you already know that a Nordic Track is really nothing like skiing outdoors. But here’s the simple answer: you’re on a trainer that isn’t moving. Your distance is zero. (Glad to help.) The most you can do is monitor heart rate and maybe cadence. A foot pod would be of little use since there’s no distance to be measured. Possibly it could measure cadence but since there’s no impact of foot on surface, it may not be able to. (If you actually want to associate distance to a workout, simply make a number up based on what seems reasonable for the level of effort.)

      The more complex answer is that outdoors distance isn’t all that great an indicator of effort anyway (consider going uphill and downhill). When I’m skiing outdoors I track speed/distance (which actually means something outdoors), elevation, and heart rate. There’s really nothing else that can be measured. (Calories you get for free from the watch, and I really don’t believe that number anyway.)

    • Anders

      I don’t know about the Nordic Track skier, but for the Concept2 Ski-erg which is popular in Sweden there is an connectIQ app which let’s you save the power, distance, stroke cadence etc. It should work with every newer Garmin watch.

    • Ross

      Thank you Paul and Anders for the reply. I will check for the connect app.

  94. Toby Beahan

    Have you heard anything from Garmin about battery drain problems? I have had my 945 for about 2 weeks and I love it except for the battery. It drains way faster than my 935 did. More than 1% per hour in smart watch mode with pulse ox off. I’m hoping it’s a firmware issue, but getting frustrated.

    • Brian

      I am disappointed with the battery drain as well. My in-use estimation is about 8 hours of GPS life (no music, external HRM) which is far under my expectation. Trying to think of what I might be doing to cause this (vibration alerts, backlight on wrist turn, etc).

      P.S. Ray – I ordered from CleverTraining (US) and had no issues on my end, received very quickly.

    • Markus G

      Hmm…

      Just remembering my last trail race with the 945:

      nearly 3h with GPS+Glonass enabled and navigation (though map was not always in front): Battery went down from 100% to 91%

      So for me that’s pretty good. Any other runs (also with music) are within expectation and match Garmin’s claims. I can’t say much about daily usage because I only use the 945 only for running and keep it turned off. (I have a F5+ for daily usage).

      I do not say want to say that I don’t believe you, just as a remark that maybe there is something else (worst case: battery itself) that might cause your bad results.

    • Brian

      Well that’s encouraging.

      For reference, here is my usage since the last full charge:

      Monday PM – Charged overnight to 100%
      Tuesday AM – 50min bike, 60min run, 50min bike
      Tuesday PM – 95min bike
      Wednesday – 40min run, 15min treadmill workout (no GPS)
      Thursday AM – 60min run w/ music

      That’s about 295min (almost 5 hours) of GPS use with no music, 15min of treadmill (no gps) and an hour of GPS with music. So roughly 6 hours of usage all told.

      Watch was on and connected the rest of the time with background HR monitoring. This morning I’m sitting on about 15% battery remaining. That doesn’t seem to jive with their estimations right?

    • Toby Beahan

      I ended up contacting garmin yesterday. They asked me to return it right away for a new watch. I shipped it out yesterday afternoon. I’m hoping the new one is better. I went back to my 935 (which I’m so happy I hadn’t sold yet) and it just reconfirmed something was wrong with the 945. I was losing 5-7% in 7 hours of sleep. 935 last night lost 1% after 8 hours. With the connect battery widget. it reported that the 945 was using 1.1% battery per hour.

    • David

      What % per hour in smart watch with pulseOx off would people expect?

    • Brian

      I have read that sometimes the charge cycles need to run through a few times before the battery sets. So, I’m going to do that and see what difference it makes.

      Also, i have no events longer than say 4 hours coming up so it’s not like I’m going to run out of juice in anything that matters.

  95. Joaquin

    My order was placed on May 4 with Clever Training UK. The card was charged immediately. As of today, May 23, the order is still in “processing” status.

    Incredible…oh, but I receive one or two emails “spam” per day offering me all sort of new products. Yep…I’m so motivated to keep buying things from them…NOT!!! And everybody else is getting product delivered. Even Clever Training US, isn’t Garmin from Europe, shouldn’t Clever Training UK receive at least the same treatment?

    What a mess…sorry, a bit frustrated here…

    • Zoltan

      Ordered mine from Clever Training UK on 01/05, shipped on 21/05, delivered today.
      Friend of mine placed his order on the same day (01/05) and have received his today as well.

    • Joaquin

      Did you received a shipping confirmation or the watch just showed up at your door? There is something very wrong here….

    • Daniel

      I ordered mine on the 2nd of May. Received this yesterday after I asked for the promised Wedensday evening update:
      “Good Afternoon,

      We are currently waiting for a definite date the Garmin 945 will be coming into our warehouse. Unfortunately there are no other update at the moment.”

      Also slightly frustrated, but it is what it is.

    • RE: CT UK vs CT US

      Unfortunately, Garmin treats these as separate entities. There’s no concept of a single global merchant in the world of Garmin.

      As for looking at shipping tracking numbers on CT US or UK, to do so go to Order Status (top of page) > View Order > Track your order (and then it shows you a DPD number right there).

  96. Luis

    Hi. Sorry to say Rai but this is being a complete NIGHTMARE. I have bought the watch on the very 30 of April, and it was supposed to arribe yesterday but nothing happened. Today I have asked Clever Training by email, and the answer was: “the parcel must have been lost, we will get in contact with dpd (sender company) and will arrange another order, this may take us a few days. Kind regards.” UNBELIEVABLE. Never again. No apologies, no sorries, no nothing, not even a simple excuse…
    BLOODY HELL!!!! Whats wrong with them????

    • Hi Luis-

      Did you receive a tracking number? With CT UK and DPD, the tracking number is shown in your account as well as typically e-mailed to you. What does the tracking number show?

      To find the tracking number, go to Order Status (top of page) > View Order > Track your order (and then it shows you a DPD number right there).

      What does that show?

    • Joaquin

      Couple of days ago I reached to Clever Training UK for an order update. Mine was placed on May 4. They quickly responded that although eagerly expected, very little to no inventory had been received this week and that they hope to get more orders fulfilled the following week. They also said that orders are being shipped in the order they were received. No exceptions.

      If this had been a general problem it would have been easy to understand. But as to why Clever Training UK is barely getting any product out when everybody else has…it just defies logic. Ray…everybody follows you…Garmin should take care of your followers and get product to CT UK.

    • Luis

      Hi Rai!!!
      I got everything, the track number and the email. It was expected to arrive last week but I DONT KNOW WHY, it’s been lost in transit, as CT has told me, so the fault is on dpd. I have ask dpd and they apologized and told me to email their experts extension group (this is because the watch supposedly has gone out of UK, so they, dpd, dont really know where is it). Last words of CT were: We can’t do more but wait 14 days to prepare another order.
      I dont know whats going on, SHOULD I BEEN LOOKING FOR MY PARCEL?? Emailing, and emailing again?? I dont think this is fair..
      However, thank you for ask Rai. It has nothing to do with you.
      What else can I do to get what I have paid almost a month ago?????

    • Hi Luis-

      Hmm, yeah, that’s tricky. If you’ve got a DPD tracking number (and it shows it left CT’s warehouse according to DPD’s site and is somewhere between it and you), I’m not sure what to say. I’d be poking DPD as the consumer, while CT does it concurrently from their side.

      I did go ahead and raise the issue again today to CT, and they’re going to escalate the resolution as well.

  97. David

    Looking at the FIT files what I see is

    2% usage an hour during an activity with no music – extrapolating out to 18 hours usage
    7% usage an hour during an activity with music – extrapolating to 7 hours

    Does not seem right at all – thoughts?

    • I’m not sure I follow. 2% an hour = 50 hours.
      7%/hour with music is = 14.28571428571429 hours.

    • Paul S.

      C’mon, Ray, stop approximating. You can be more precise than that.

    • Haha…I’m here to serve!

      That does remind me, I wonder how easy it would be to surface battery life from .FIT files that support it into the DCR Analyzer. That’d be super cool.

    • David

      Massive typos

      2% for 30 minutes, and 7% for 30 minutes. Hence the numbers.

    • Hmm, yeah, that’s a bit tougher. What GPS mode (GLONASS or Galileo)? And any CIQ apps running?

    • David Tunney

      GPS + GLONASS
      CIQ – running power only

      Another 30 minute run at lunch from 64.0% – 62.0%, so 2% for the 30 minutes, 4% for 60

    • David

      30 minute run at lunch

      Timestamp BatteryLevel
      27/05/2019 07:55:44 0.67
      27/05/2019 08:00:44 0.66
      27/05/2019 08:05:44 0.66
      27/05/2019 08:10:44 0.65
      27/05/2019 08:15:44 0.65
      27/05/2019 08:20:44 0.65
      27/05/2019 08:25:44 0.64

    • David

      Or rather the 30 minute cycle to work

    • Hi David-

      Out of curiosity, is that from the native .FIT file, or are you using a Connect IQ app to collect it? Or just in general, how are you gathering that data?

      Cheers.

    • David

      Hi Ray – using the Fit File Repair Tool to look at the fit files.

      Attached more data with what sensors etc are used. If I was a betting man I’d say its something to do with sensor comms, and perhaps OHR not turning off when chest strap on.

    • Gotchya.

      Yeah, looking at the stats on a run with GPS+GLONASS and optical HR I’m at about 5%/hour using Fit File Repair Tool, which, does seem a bit high. No CIQ apps.

      I’ll do a bit more digging first and circle back to Garmin.

  98. Natalie Wolverson

    Hi, can anyone help? I got my first 945 on May 2nd, but had to return it after 2 weeks as the battery life was really bad. I received a new one on Sunday but it doesn’t track my training load or strength training calories? It has uploaded runs to Garmin Connect but says the training benefit is “unknown” and doesn’t show on my 7 day training load screen. The last training load activity which shows is from my first 945 even though I have ran Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and strength trained Monday and Friday.

  99. Bill Shepard

    I ordered the bundle from CT and received shipping notification yesterday. I am so anxious.

  100. maikkeli

    Today I gave first ever chance to a Garmin device (from CC UK & CDR code), planning a switch from Polar ecosystem fully to Trainingpeaks. Fingers crossed I will not regret this, but interesting to see whether the grass is any greener “on the other side” 😀

  101. Gus

    I always get good information from your blog. Thank you.
    Can the 945 oximetar be used to check the threshold during exercise like Moxy monitor or Humon?

  102. Adrian

    How is your battery life compared to the 935? My 945 seems to be a bit worse than my 935. Just wanted to mention that my settings impacting battery life are: SpO2 turned off, backlight at 20%.
    I’ve installed the Battery Widget from Garmin Connect and it says it consumes about 0.75% per hour. That means about 5.4 days of power in smartwatch mode and that is about half of what they said in the specs.
    Thanks for the review! It was great quality as usual. Will you do a battery test including the 945?

    • Toby Beahan

      I had to return mine to Garmin for a replacement after two weeks. my battery was consistantly under performing…. Especially in smartwatch mode. Using about 1% per hour in smart watch mode. Pulse ox off. I’m hoping the new one will work better or they come out with a firmware fix. Glad I held on to my 935!

    • Adrian

      I also read on Facebook some reviews that said battery life is worse than the 935. Please keep us posted about the battery on the 945 replacement when it arrives. I’m really interested if another unit would perform better.
      Thanks!

    • Adrian

      Just a small update on this, the discharge rate is about the same and it stabilized towards 0.73% per hour.
      Ray, what discharge rate are you getting in smartwatch mode? Has anybody else noticed similar battery life in smartwatch mode?

    • Hmm, I haven’t tracked smartwatch mode that closely. Though, I’d be curious what the impact of that CIQ app is compared to not (my complete swag is higher than one might think, at least based on historical data points).

    • Brian

      I installed the battery widget and I am averaging about 1.1% per hour in the “long term avg” but that includes smartwatch usage (SpO2 off, I think) and in-activity use (external HRM and rarely w/ music).

      I’m beginning to think I have a defective watch/battery as that measures out to a mere 2 days of combined smartwatch/activity use.

      It’s a hard thing to gauge though as there are so many variables (vibration, backlight, oHR, music, raise-to-wake, etc).

      I have a 4 hour event this weekend that will at least give me a good idea of GPS use.

      P.S. How exactly do you turn “off” the SpO2 anyway? I removed the widget from the device, figuring that would do it. Can’t find anything else in any of the menus.

    • Adrian

      Hi Brian,

      Here’s how to turn on or off anything related to SpO2: link to www8.garmin.com
      I’m now on my third charging cycle and what I saw was that battery drain has improved just a little bit. It now drains at approx. 0.7% per hour, down from 0.75%. I discharged it to just 3% and now I’m charging it. I read somewhere that doing this once or twice should format the battery and improve charge.
      I’ll keep you updated on what happens. Your 2 days of battery seems really bad compared to what I used to get on the 935 (6, sometimes 7 days, just like the specifications on the box).

    • Brian

      Thanks for the info. I also mis-spoke above, 1.1% equates to about 4 days of usage, not the 2 days I said. Still low of course.

      I haven’t gone through a full discharge yet, maybe that will make a difference.

      Overnight (when it was sitting on the bathroom counter), the battery widget said the usage rate was .46% per hour. That’s the only time it’s come in close to the range that Garmin is listing in the specs.

    • My bet is raise to wake backlight is hurting a fair bit. The reason I say that is that the 2nd biggest battery life hit is backlight display (behind GPS). It’s huge. I suspect that the number of times you raise sorta adds up over time. just a guess.

    • Adrian

      Raise to wake should contribute to battery drain as it lights up the screen and uses energy but the old 935 had this feature too and it worked the same way. Yet, the 945 has less battery life with the same settings and under the same conditions as the 935.
      This would not be a problem as the 945 has a lot more functions compared to the 935 but Garmin said in the specs that it would have twice the battery life of the previous model. I would be happy if it was 1.2-1.5 times but the 945 is constantly draining faster than my previous 935 (i’m on my fourth charge).
      This is why I posted here so I can figure out if it’s just my watch battery or if this is a problem for the majority of 945 users. Ray, what do you think? Is 0.7% per hour (6 days of battery life) normal for a 945 or should i get a replacement?

    • Traveling Texan

      I am also getting battery drain of about 0.7% per hour (~6 days total) without active use of GPS.

    • Hmm, that’s a good question. Official specs say ‘Up to 14 days’, but I’ve gotta believe there’s a pile of things that impact that pretty quickly. Off the top of my head, I’d assume the following drive 24×7 battery performance:

      – Bluetooth Smart connectivity (sans notifications, but for background sync, I believe this is accounted for)
      – Smartphone notifications (with both backlight and vibration on)
      – PulseOx (a biggie, as discussed)
      – Connect IQ Widgets (could be substantial)
      – 24×7 optical HR sensor enabled (I believe this is accounted for in the 14 day figure)
      – HR displayed on watch face 24×7
      – Activity tracking (I believe this is within the reference number)

    • My battery life has improved hugely since 2.5 firmware and the ability to only turn the backlight on when raised or key presses after sunset.

  103. Xandegui77

    I want to follow my friends in a route that I don’t know, record the track and later put that track in the watch and follow the instructions of where I need to go.
    And a “Mario Kart ghost mode” where I see on the screen a map and a moving dot that was me at my previous training on that route. And follow that dot to run at the same speed or be faster.
    Are those functions already available? It would be amazing!

  104. Luis

    Rai, I really appreciate your help. When in my last message I said experts I meant “dpd exports team” to whom I had been addressed or redirected to by “dpd costumer service”. I wrote them on Friday and again today, but no news have I received. DONT KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO. I had put all my expectations in this watch, I was so excited when I first saw your review but all is twisting and turning into the worst experience I have ever had buying online.
    It is almost a month since I bought the watch, too long waiting… I’d simply want to know where is it, it must be somewhere and still it’s UNBELIEVABLE, to my understanding, that no one knows about and I should be the one searching for..
    To add insult to injury, CT keeps sending me offers to became a Vip member and more and more publicity…

    CHEERS anyway!!!

    • That sucks. Though, it does seem like it’s fully within DPD’s realm at this point – at least until CT is able (per whatever rules DPD has) to consider the shipment lost and have it re-issued. The tracking shows it was picked up, moved around the UK, and then left the UK.

      Have you tried calling DPD and seeing what they say? DPD is a pretty massive European shipping company, and i know I’ve generally had good luck interfacing with them here in the Netherlands when I’ve tried.

    • Luis

      Hi again Rai. Finally the dpd exports team has emailed me. I don’t really get what is going on because now they’ve told me to talk to the sender, I guess CT. Literally (copy/paste):
      “Hello Luis,
      I would request you to please get in touch with them for further updates on your parcel as they will be able to help you to provide you with the updates. This is because we have certain contractual terms with your sender and we can share the updates on the investigation only with them.”

      We have completed the circle. At the end we get again with CT. Preciously they (CT) asked me to talk with dpd…
      Long story short, I think things are at least moving, we’ll see how fast because many stages are implied in al this mess. Don’t really know how much can I wait.
      MUCHAS GRACIAS POR TODO
      Many thanks Rai.

  105. Brian

    Ray – Is it even possible to use the Pulse Oximeter feature to record any kind of activity? Meaning, you want to specifically test your SpO2 in a targeted activity (say you’re on a mountain top or something – or conversely you bought a $2000 altitude tent).

    Can you even turn this feature on and record the metrics for review later? If not, is this possible in a widget or a CIQ app?

    • Hmm, at present the data is saved to the app plotted over time. I haven’t looked at a specific workout .FIT file to see if it also shows in there as well somewhere.

      The widget though is also on the watch and shows the data 24×7 plotted over two time durations. If I didn’t include it here, the functionality is the same as in my Fenix 5X Plus review, where I was at higher altitudes and able to dig into it more deeply (identical functionality).

    • Brian

      It does not seem to be carrying over into the FIT file, well at least from what I can tell with what’s shown in Garmin Connect or elsewhere (Sporttracks).

      I’ll check out the Fenix review, however what I’m really looking for is a measurable and most importantly “recordable” way of tracking SpO2 in preparation for alpine events. Was hoping this would provide a way to do that. Otherwise, why have this as a widget only?

  106. David W Marks

    Hmm, in the Summary you say you hope the accuracy of the GPS chip would get better compared to the 935. But isn’t the accuracy solely dependent on the chip and maybe their sampling rate. How’s it going to get better unless they increase the sampling rate? Aren’t they solely dependent on the chip for accuracy?

    • Jan Nilsson (Sweden)

      I do not read that @ all.
      I read that his conclusion is that GPS does not work as good as the 935 “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”.

      My own findings is, in the short time i used 945, that for me GPS on 945 is as accurate as on the 935.
      I am one of them that bought Fenix 5 Plus last summer and returned it to seller shortly after, i wrote about my experiences on this site.
      I have compared tracks in city, among trails in woods a.s.o. and i can’t see any big diffrence, it work as good as i can expect, it’s not 100% spot on, but neither is 935 or any other other GPS i use (including gpsmap 276cx).

    • Firmware updates for GPS and watch itself are super common, and have a long history of seeing watches from all companies improve. We’ve seen Suunto for example go for horrible Suunto 9 performance to generally good. The same for Polar. And there’s also countless examples from Garmin too in various historical products.

      That said, nothing can address bad antenna design (I have zero antenna design concerns on any of the new Forerunner watches). Far too many people focus on GPS chipsets, when in reality it’s usually antenna’s that hose up companies (including Garmin).

      Most of what changes in firmware is algorithm related and essentially getting better at sorting noise from intention, not sampling rates.

  107. James

    I’m seeing really poor heart rate results with my 945 – 10-15 BPM below what it should be, and even going in reverse at times e.g. I speed up, HR goes down. It’s my first wrist-based HRM, is there anywhere online any useful hints and tips around how to wear it for highest accuracy? When I look at the HR section of the review above it seems to be pretty perfect, which is very far from what I’m seeing on mine.

    • AirVetra

      From my point of view OHR is not for activities but only for 24h metrics, especially, not for intervals

    • James

      That’s certainly what I’ve seen in a couple of weeks of use, however It seems like Ray can make OHR work pretty well across a range of activities judging by the review above, so it must be possible. It also is a very expansive watch if one of the basic features can’t be relied upon.

    • Mine seems good for running. I think Ray suggests wearing it at least 2 finger widths above the bony part of your wrist, and pretty snug/tight.

  108. Andreas

    Today I have canceled my order at clever training (UK).I had ordered on May 3. the Garmin 945, first I heard nothing from Clever Training, but my Credit Card was charged. Then the promised Wednesday customer update was also a fail. Also yesterday no Wednesday update about my order. Now I have to wait for my refund. Sorry Clever Training this was a real fail !!!

    Andreas

  109. DQ

    I’ve also cancelled the UK order today

    Who knows when it will actually arrive and the battery/gps issues need to settle before that kind of investment.

    Given the stock levels for other sellers, I wonder if clever training are accepting orders and using the payments to buy stock then sending on…doesn’t make sense that you can get it next day from so many other sellers

  110. Miro

    I noticed a few things do not seem to be included in the true up / workout sync. This is based on doing a ride with the 1030, and seeing how it reflected on the 945.

    1. Temperature acclimatization did not update on the 945, based on a ride done on the 1030. It was a hot day (85) but the 945 still showed my acclimatization for that day going down.

    2. Intensity minutes on the 945 not credited for a ride recorded on the 1030.

    Has anyone else notices this?

    ML

    • RE: Temp acclimation – The Edge 1030 doesn’t yet have the new firmware coming out that adds that feature, so in this case that feature won’t work backwards quite yet.

      RE: Intensity minutes: Not sure on this one. However, triple-check that Physio TrueUp is enabled for both devices in your Garmin Connect Mobile app (and consider toggling it on/off/on again for fun).

  111. David

    Is this the same barometric/altimeter sensor from the 935? I have had 3 replacement 935 watches due to failed barometric/altimeter sensors and was told by Garmin support that chlorine from the swimming pool eventually kills the sensor. After the first one failed, I tried cleaning with soap and water after every pool swim. Still failed. Twice.

  112. James F. Duncan

    Thanks so much for this review that persuaded me to upgrade from the 935 to the 945. Really appreciate the additional performance data and graphics the 945 has. Question: After a run, the 945, as you’ve noted, will peg aerobic score to its impact such as base or tempo. My 945 on the initial runs indicated that I needed to put in more low aerobic training for overall balance. When I have followed this suggestion, I will get positive feedback from the 945 for performing a low aerobics training segment but at same time be given an “unproductive” ranking overall on run even though my pace, time and speed meet PRs and my average heart rate for run is lower than usual. Seems like a conflict between this new aerobics detail and the grade on overall run. What am I missing here? Thanks again for your invaluable review. Jim Duncan

  113. Brian

    So, I’ve had my 945 now for enough time really comment on its use.

    I’m frankly a little disappointed.

    For context, I’m coming over from a Vivoactive (v1) that I bought about 3 years ago, but I’ve also owned several Garmin devices over the year (405, 910xt, Fenix v1, etc).

    Many of the bugs I attributed to my good ol’ Vivoactive being old and out-of-date are also occurring on this brand new 945:

    – battery life less than expected (I have posted a number of comments above around this)
    – smartphone notifications failing to send to device (a reboot always fixes it though)
    – taking an incredible amount of time to sync an activity or just failing to sync outright
    – glitchy, weird behavior such as activities failing to load CIQ data screens (Stryd, Dozenrun) and causing the watch to reboot, hosing up the activity altogether
    – “raise to wake” for backlight working only intermittently (I look like a fool sometimes dramatically raising my arm trying to get it light up)

    I have enjoyed the music feature, but I frankly only use that on <10% of my activities so it's not a great impact. The maps are cool but with such limited use I am only just beginning to try that out.

    I bought the watch based on A) battery life, B) New Features (music/maps), C) for a robust upgrade. So far, it's only really scoring for me on (B).

  114. Luis

    Hi mates!! I’d like to share with you all my ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY!!!! Yeah right, today I’ve been waiting a whole month for this watch to come. Thanks to Clever Training, it would have been impossible without them.
    My excitement has been bombarded, broken into pieces; I wished so hard to train with it but feelings at the moment are kinda weird. Many downs regarding battery life, not enough garmin pay banks allowed, bugs, gps accuracy, and so on. I don’t really know if I want this device anymore… Just hope my money is safe

    BTW, Rai I haven’t phone to dpd or any of them because this international phone calls must cost an arm and a leg. I’d have appreciated CT calling me; just a comforting gesture.

    • Hi Luis-

      I know CT has contacted DPD to try and figure out where your shipment went. However, to be clear, DPD has numbers in all European countries that are local. You can ring them as well without paying international fees.

      Bummed to hear about the trouble for sure though. 🙁

  115. norm

    if i understand this correctly, you pay 600USD but don’t get worldwide maps?
    Say you buy the watch in the US you get NORTH america maps – are these just driving maps? does it include all map types?

    Garmin maps are very very expensive so thats an important part to cover. Say you want the French alps topographic maps its 240USD!

    • You get maps for the region you’re in. They aren’t driving maps at all, but rather detailed trail/street maps. You can download free 3rd party maps here for the FR945 (it’s almost identical to what Garmin includes): link to dcrainmaker.com

      I do agree however, I think it’s stupid that Garmin makes it this complex.

  116. Sam Striano

    I currently have a Vivoactive HR (great little watch) and I am training for a Century Ride, run a little bit (nothing major) and love to be outdoors and active.

    I am looking at either the Fenix 5X Plus or the 945.

    What would you recommend? Should I just keep the Vivoactive HR and get a 530/830?

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Sam

    • Brian

      That’s what I’d suggest.

      I’m the opposite of you (run alot and bike a little) and I’m having a hard time self-justifying the upgrade to the 945 from my Vivoactive.

    • Sam Striano

      Do you find the 945 to be a lot more accurate than the Vivoactive? Did you have the Vivoactive HR?

      Really is a pretty cool little device. Part of this is driven by the nerd side of me that likes new gadgets! LOL

    • Brian

      Actually, the GPS tracks seem worse than the Vivoactive. That part doesn’t bother me much though as I use Stryd and have it calculate pace/distance. But for example, many of my 945 runs have been out and backs and the GPS track often is “off” where you’d expect the “back” to be perfectly on top of the “out.”

      Totally agree on the gadget aspect though, that was a main driving force for my upgrade. But $550 is a lot for such an upgrade.

    • Out of curiosity, which GPS mode are you using (GLONASS, GALILEO, Regular GPS)?

    • Brian

      I have mine set to GPS+Glonass. I think that came out of the review above as the best option but I may have read wrong. It’s a long review. 🙂

    • I cannot compare the FR945 with the Vivoactive but so far I’m really pleased with the FR945 GPS accuracy provided you only begin your workout after the watch acquires the GPS signal. DCR is the bible on GPS-watches reviews but if you want to check some more logs I provided an analysis on 2 runs here: link to ptjuggernaut.blogspot.com

      I had a first bad impression with the watch on my first run because I started running without waiting for the watch to acquire a GPS signal – this has turned out to be my worst-ever experience with a GPS watch. The FR945 went completely wacko the entire course, posting 1K laps @ 3 mins/km which unfortunately I cannot do 🙂 This was unexpected behavior as with my old FR225 I could start running even without GPS signal and the watch didn’t perform badly as it captured the signal a min or so after beginning.

      Bottom line: wait for the 945 to acquire GPS signal and you’ll be OK.

    • Michael D

      2 years (3500 km run) with Vivoactive 1 and now 1+year with 645M (2500km run) and I can confirm that the Vivoactive has a better GPS result.
      In my opinion, it could be the “basic plastic case” the reason behind these good results.

  117. Andrew Erlichson

    i’ve tried to use Garmin Pay. It’s significantly more cumbersome than Apple Pay on an Apple Watch.

    Apple unlocks your watch when you unlock your phone, which you can do with your face. Practically speaking, this means you nearly never enter a passcode on your watch. With Garmin Pay, I need to enter the passcode using the Asteroids-Style chooser, which takes probably 10 seconds at least. And I likely won’t do that until I am at a cash register, since the watch is usable w/o entering a passcode.

    Second, Apple Pay can be triggered with a double press of the lower right button. Wit Garmin Pay I must long press the top left button and then hit the top right button – or if the last used function was not the Wallet, click “down” “down” until I get to the wallet.

    The net result is that the convenience of Garmin Pay is far lower than using Apple Pay on an Apple Watch. It’s not even close. I feel like Garmin Pay was added without the product managers actually trying to use the thing on a daily basis.

    And there is the problem that the number of issuers that support Garmin Pay is small – but that was pointed out in the review.

    • Just as a heads up – you only have to enter the passcode once per 24hrs, so you can do it anytime before you get to the register as well (such as standing in line). After that, it’s just a single long-hold away. I don’t find that it takes 10 seconds to enter it, a couple seconds perhaps once you’ve done it a few times.

      As for unlocking via face – I don’t see any realistic way of that changing for Garmin. Apple doesn’t permit apps to leverage that off-phone, so it’s not like Garmin could tap into that if they wanted to.

    • Kevin

      I actually like Garmin Pay. It works really good for me. Little tip, you can setup “hot keys”, for example, long press back button to open the wallet.

    • Andrew Erlichson

      @dcrainmaker, Garmin could tie unlocking the wallet to opening the connect app, which I do once per morning on my iPhone either after a workout or to see how my sleep went.

      @kevin, my hotkey is set to opening music, which is sensible to me since I use that more often than NFC payments.

      In my opinion, the out-of-the-box convenience of Apple Pay is far higher. Have you all tried Apple Pay?

    • RE: Tie to opening the app, that’s an interesting idea. I like it. Though, I don’t know how/if Garmin could then know whether the phone also had pin-code enforcement. Keep in mind, most of these restrictions come not from Garmin, but the banking industry.

      I have actually spent a ton of time with Apple Pay – and in fact just used it 10 minutes ago. There are things I like better there (such better receipt confirmations). However, I’ve also spent a lot of time with Garmin Pay too, and I don’t think there’s really that much of a difference once you use it for a short period.

    • Paul S.

      One big difference is the primary use of each device. The AW is a smart watch, and it’s designed to detect when it’s on your wrist and to lock when it’s not. Unlock it, and so long as it’s on your wrist you don’t have to do that again. Once it’s off your wrist, though, it’s pretty useless. Garmin watches are fitness devices. They have to function just as well off your wrist as on it. My new Fenix 5+ will be worn over clothing in the winter so I can see it, not touching my skin. It’s pointless to wear an Apple Watch that way. So the security model is different. If my 5+ falls off somewhere I don’t want someone to be able to pick it up and start buying things. Garmin’s security model has to be more strict, which makes Garmin Pay less usable than the simple double click it takes with an unlocked AW on your wrist. I enabled a card on my 5+, but because of the PIN and because I don’t wear it all the time like I do the AW I doubt I’ll ever use Garmin Pay.

    • Andrew Erlichson

      Paul, I agree that Apple Watch is more of a “smart watch” / lifestyle watch than the Garmin. And that really is my issue. I want the best of both worlds. I want a watch with LTE connectivity that can get me out of a bind when I am not carrying my phone, but also be an amazing fitness device. We all know that Garmin makes better fitness packages. The combination of the sensors, the software, the integration with Strava and the customizability of the screens, always-on-display, and physical buttons make garmin the leader in fitness tracking for serious amateurs. It’s just a shame that I still need to swap back and forth between two devices.

    • Paul S.

      And I’d like to have dinner tonight at that place in orbit around Proxima Centuri (you know the one, the view is fantastic). But that’s not going to happen. Your dream is way more possible, but it’s still pretty unlikely. The requirements for a smart watch and a serious fitness watch are just too dissimilar for mashing them together to work well. Do you want a screen that’s always on, or do you want a beautiful high resolution color screen that would drain the battery in an hour (unless you want to wear a tin can on your wrist) if it were always on? Apple could easily add ANT+ to their devices (from what I understand, this is a leftover Jobsism), but that still doesn’t change the other weaknesses of the AW as a fitness device. Fortunately, the solution is pretty easy, buy one of each. I wear my AW most of the day every day, while my 5+ basically awaits the winter and cross country skiing. (The reason I enabled Garmin Pay is that I can envision needing to buy gas after going skiing and having Garmin Pay on my 5+ would make that easier with my AW either buried under clothing or more likely left at home.)

  118. nyochai

    Hi. Can the maps be changed?

  119. Brian

    Ray – Apropros of nothing in particular, do you think Garmin will ever make another sport watch without oHR? I think my Vivoactive is the last one without it and it’s just such a nice watch from a form/fit standpoint. I’d happily upgrade to a new one if they updated the memory/processors, etc.

  120. Ian Scholes

    I just swapped the 935 for the 945 and did my first sea swim with it today. My last sea swim with the 935 gave an average pace of 1:30 per 100 metres. The 945 today recorded 2 mins per 100. Do the units take time to adjust or is this likely down to gps accuracy. I have it set on gps glonas.
    Love the reviews and my first port of call when seeking new tech.

    • Jack Alden

      My two sea tests have been failures: first one stopped recording gps+galileo at 94 yards and second stopped recording gos at 145 yards. Timer and stoke count continued for full 3600 and 3000 yards swims. GPS records fine on land.

    • Monkswhiskers

      I finally gave up on using watches to track OW on my wrist. I now just use my old Garmin 310xt under my cap for reference and the Apple watch on my wrist for a stopwatch and a (surprisingly good) track, but even then it throws a wobbler (no distance recoorded at all yesterday).

    • Jack Alden

      Garmin sent me a replacement watch (quick customer service from a complaint on their support site). Upgraded to 2.50 software. Still had the same problem — on an open water race around a 1000 yard pier, the new 945 tracked 498 yards (longest distance ever), while the 920 on the other wrist tracked 981, both having been soaked for about 30 minutes before. The next day the new 945 tracked 51 yards for an open water swim by my house, while the 920 on a pull buoy tracked 1,988 yards. (A beach run I tracked with both watches on separate wrists came up with the same distance and matching tracks.) From Ray’s other post I’ll wait for the software upgrade that’s supposedly in the works, but if there isn’t a good improvement I’ll return the “multisport” watch for a refund even though I like many of the other features. Hopefully my 920 will stay intact!

  121. Jose

    I pre-ordered the 945 and I think I’m gonna cancel and stick with my 935. People at Garmin furum are really disappointed with the GPS accuracy that in my opinion is the most important thing in a device like this. Ray’s review says it is fine, but I’m really concerned about this matter considering how good is the 935. Just slightly better than the Fenix 5 isn’t enough to justify $600 upgrade. It is the GPS that bad? Thanks

    • Toby Beahan

      I had the 945 for two weeks and used it with great success on GPS + glonass. I found the GPS accuracy to be just about exactly what I would expect from my 935. I sent it back to Garmin because I was having problems with the battery life. my new one should be arriving this week sometime. I wouldn’t shy away from it because of the GPS accuracy. And when I had it I was really enjoying a lot of the new features.

    • Hi Toby! I’ve done a preliminary analysis on the GPS accuracy of the Garmin FR945 and, actually, it looks fairly good. I was fearing the change to the Sony chipset so I decided to do some tests and the FR945 is not too shabby! I will add further tests in the future but for the meantime the 945’s GPS looks solid!

      link to ptjuggernaut.blogspot.com

  122. Steve C

    Had my 945 a couple of weeks now.

    The GPS (GPS + GLONASS) tracking is pretty similar to the 735XT I had previously – until the tracking went wild, at which point I returned it.

    Neither of those two are anywhere near as accurate (tracking) as my old 305. With the 305, 99% of the time I can see what side of a 5 foot wide canal towpath I was running on. With the 945, at times, it looks like I’ve taken a swim or I’m running 10 – 15 feet off the towpath in a field.

    As for the battery – built-in HR on, 02 sensor off, backlight at 20% plus e-mail etc notifications, it drains at 10% per day without any activity/GPS use.

    Whilst running with GPS/GLONASS & built-in HR, it drains around 10% per hour.

    Nice watch, but GPS accuracy isn’t as good as I’d expected and the battery drain is somewhat worse than I hoped for.

  123. Brent Gustafson

    Hi,

    I just started OWS here in MN and my 945 has been dropping GPS connections on most swims. I wait for a good GSP signal and then start and shortly it will drop the GPS connection. Today during an Olympic race it dropped after 179 yards. I’m swimming on the same lakes I did with my 935 and sometimes I can get it to reconnect if I stop and hold my wrist out of the water but sometimes that doesn’t work either. Anyone else experiencing this?

    Couple of examples:
    link to connect.garmin.com
    link to connect.garmin.com

    • Nick

      Out of the 4 OW swims I’ve done, only one has successfully recorded a track – the other three have all recorded stroke rate, time etc but only ~100 metres GPS track. All have been in a 500 yard swimming lake with no tree cover etc. My other half has a 945 and hers is recording successfully. Looking here and on the Garmin forum, this seems to be a common problem. I was using GPS and GLONASS – hers was just set to GPS

    • Brent Gustafson

      Thanks for the info. Looks like my first swim was set to GPS only and tracked fairly well although due to cold water temp I stopped more frequently. Does anyone know if there is a fix coming for OWS using GPS +Glonass for the 945?

    • Garmin-Joey

      Hi Brent,

      We are aware of the report of Open Water Swim distance stopping after a short time. We are working to get this resolved ASAP.

    • greyltc

      Wow. This feels like a pretty major issue. I’m surprised and disappointed that this has not been pointed out in your review here Ray 🙁

    • Yup, I noted in the review which sports I was able to do, and which sports I couldn’t do (with openwater being trickier due to weather at that time of the year).

      Still, you’ll see some bits tomorrow on the openwater swim frustrations, due to my triathlon this past weekend and running into the same things on the Garmin MARQ series.

    • Brent Gustafson

      @Garmin-Joey,

      Updated my 945 software version to 2.50 and it tracked my OWS nicely this morning using GPS + GLONASS. Thanks, Brent

    • Brent Gustafson

      @Garmin-Joey,

      Hi Joey,
      My 945 lost GPS tracking a few minutes into my OWS, I’ve had 1 successful GPS +Glonass OWS and thought it was related to software update 2.50 but that doesn’t appear to have fixed the issue.
      link to connect.garmin.com

    • Brent Gustafson

      @Garmin-Joey,

      Any updates on the OWS issues with the 945?

  124. Esmail

    This site has posted this exact same page – I don’t see any credit to you.

    [removed]

    I greatly enjoy your reviews.

  125. greyltc

    Has anyone tried the new beta firmware (v2.48)? link to www8.garmin.com

  126. Boris

    Hi! Moving to FR945 from Polar. I have ordered the watch and already got HRM Swim from a friend. My question is that how does triathlon mode work – can I swap from HRM Swim strap to Polar H10 strap during Swim-Bike transition? Would that break swim HR recording in FR945 or cause some other issues related to activity recording? Alternative is to buy HRM Tri, but I’m wondering is that really necessary.

    Nice review!

  127. gingerneil

    Hi Ray,
    Any update on CT UK stock? They were showing ‘late May’, its now gone to ‘early june’…

  128. Pedro

    Hi Ray! My 945 is not showing temperature acclimatization. This page just does not show up on the training status widget. I have a history of workouts for more than a week. Do you know what’s wrong? Thanks!

  129. greyltc

    I’m very keen to get heart rate data into my swims with this watch. I’ve tried, and swimming with a chest strap is unfortunately a non-starter for me so I guess that eliminates Garmin’s swimming heart rate offerings. Is there any product out there that can do this right now? I’m looking at Polar’s OH1+ and Scosche’s Rhythm 24 as options here, but apparently neither of them can sync their cached HR data into a Garmin watch for inclusion into the activity, right? But maybe Scosche is trying to make this work? Is Polar making an effort here too? The up-to-dateist info on this is hard to find!

  130. Xandegui77

    Is there a way to see at the smartphone screen, in REAL TIME, all the information that you are seeing in the watch during an exercise (pace, speed, HR, maps, routes)?
    It would be very useful when running at the gym with the smartphone in front of you. Even when cycling, it would replace a Garmin Edge (that’s why I think this is still not possible).

  131. Marcino

    Hi. Can anyone tell me what’s your (latest) day of order FR945 from CT UK where you have already received the watch or order status changed to ‘shipped’?
    I have ordered 9th of May and I’m wondering which orders (of what day of order ) are now in realization.
    Thanks

    • Black

      Marcino, regarding Clevertraining UK orders. I ordered 945 on the 4th of May. My order was shipped on the 4th of June, although I have not yet received it.

    • Joaquin

      Mine was ordered on the 4 of may. It was shipped last week and is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, Monday June 10.

    • Marcino

      Thanks for your reply. It looks like I will have to wait a while longer. But maybe during this time Garmin will do something with the constantly reported defects of this model, because it’s very disappointing for a Garmin’s flagship model that costs such a large amount of money. Now people pay and they didn’t get quality they expect.

      Battery life, sticky buttons, cracks on sensors glass, etc… (in less than one month of using?) I can understand bugs in software but I don’t understand how such a big company like Garmin can put on sale so underdeveloped units of this watch. Such a simple thing like a buttons work can be tested for every production batch.
      Cracks on sensors – problem that occurred in 935 so it should be totally eliminated in next model.

      I am very worried about the unit of watch I will get and I started thinking about canceling my order until all the faults will be fixed.

  132. Brian

    Anyone else having major music related issues with this 945 watch? Connecting to my Jabra Active Elite headphones is a nightmare. I have to remove them and re-pair each time and hope for the best. Now when I try to update or play a playlist from Spotify it just says “unable to get content.”

    The other features all work fine, but this is pretty disappointed since one major selling point was being able to run without my phone strapped to me for music.

    • Esmail

      I have no problems with my AfterShokz Trekz Air and the watch, pairs automatically each time I want to listen to podcasts/music on the watch.

      I don’t use Spotify, so I can’t comment on that, but sync playlists from iTunes using Garmin Express under Windows 10 without any problems.

  133. Jukka Eväluoto

    Great review! .. I’ve been thinking of getting the new Forerunner 945, but a bit worried that the same problems that I’m having with Forerunner 935 would follow. Would you happen to know by any chance if the bottom material which covers the optical sensor in the 945 is the same that in 935 .. I am currently on my second 935 in 18 months time because the optical sensor cover material started cracking for no apparent reason in regular use. I got sent a replacement straight away, but now it has started happening again with the replacement watch .. cracking exactly the same way starting right on top of the 3 LEDs and the sensor, I have no clue what is causing the cracks, and I am still waiting a response from the support for the current case. Seems that I either have very bad luck, or somethings is wrong with this model .. would very much like to have a permanent solution and a watch that would last, and thought of upgrading but a hesitating to do it if the new 945 has similar materials with possibly similar problem.

    • Adrian D

      Hi Jukka! I have had the exact same problem you had and I exchanged my 935 three times. Now i have the 945 and so far I haven’t noticed any cracks. The sensors and lights have a different placement on this one, the crystal seems to be curved a little bit differently and I’m really hoping the problem was fixed. I’ll let you know if I notice any problems.
      So far my biggest gripe with the new 945 is battery life (well below the 2 weeks specified under ideal conditions but more frustrating a little bit less than the 935) and that seems to be an issue for everyone: link to forums.garmin.com
      I’m hoping they will fix this with a software update pretty soon.

    • David

      Looks like the cracking is happening.

      link to forums.garmin.com

      On reading the post I noticed it had happened to mine a little. not sure whether to return or not. Thoughts?

    • Jukka Eväluoto

      David

      Thanks for the link .. although I wish It wouldn’t exists and that the problem would have been fixed. I’ll just skip any upgrade thoughts I had to 945 for time being .. feeling pretty disappointed.

      I would contact the support and talk to them. If the cracks keep getting worse you will end up losing the sensor data and features that use them .. My thoughts are if they can guarantee a working unit I’d take that, but if not .. I would return it.

      The biggest selling points with 935 for me were accurate GPS tracking, sleep and recovery tracking. Eventually when the cracks got worse, my first 935 couldn’t measure HR accurately anymore it was all over the place, I kept using it with HR belt, tracking my activities for few months before contacting support. But the lack of sleep and recovery tracking just made it eventually not worth for me to wear. I stopped using wrist watches about 20 years ago, when I got my first mobile phone with a clock on the screen. Been tracking activity with mobile phones when came it possible with sports-tracker and this was my first watch since .. wanted to track sleep and recovery and not carry a huge mobile phones with me while running.

      Currently have Oura ring to track my sleep and readiness .. so I guess I can go back to using HR belt with 935 for activity tracking or go back to mobile phone.

    • Greg Hilton

      I had 4 935s replacements, 2 for barometer issues, 2 for cracking hrm. Very concerned that people are seeing cracks on the 945 so soon.

      Trouble is there is nothing else out there is a similar size/weight with the same features like firstbeat, barometer, open water, triathlon etc.

      Need a Suunto 7 with a combination of the 9 and 5 features!!

  134. Miro Lehky

    Does the 945 come with City Navigator NT?

    In Garmin Express is shows the following as being installed and up-to date.
    1. TopoActive Americas North 2019.10
    2. Coverage of Europe, Middle East & Africa 5.50
    3. Coverage of North and South America 5.90
    4. Coverage of Pacific 5.0

    If it go into Tools & Content > Purchased, it shows City Navigator North America NT as “Ready to Activate”. There is also a Redeem / Enter Voucher Code item on that screen.

    Anyone know what the deal is?

    I’ve hesitated from selecting activate since it would seem the watch would likely not have the space for City Navigator.

  135. Luis

    Hi Ray!!
    More than 40 days waiting. In my CT order status says Complete. They don’t respond as fast as they should, and when they do they don’t really answer to my questions. It’s like we are not dealing with people anymore. “Stock is coming, we do apologize”. But when?? Approx. And why my order status is COMPLETE? How can a 500€ watch be lost?? What else do I have to do? THEY HAVE MY MONEY 40 days now.

    Sorry Ray, This situation is absolutely overpassing me. Please do something, say something….

    THANKs

    • Hi Luis-

      Sorry again for the troubles. Unfortunately, they don’t have additional FR945 stock to send out. My understanding is that they expect to have that in the next week. While I know CT UK would love to send you another unit, they simply don’t have one to send. I’ve talked to them every few days about your case.

      Have you tried reaching out to DPD directly? I know you were hesitant to do so earlier, but the tracking clearly showed it left CT and was on the way to you via DPD (and left the UK as a country). I know that CT UK has reached out to DPD as well, but oftentimes having pressure from multiple sides can help. What does DPD’s tracking site show now?

      Thanks.

  136. FlipStone

    Could it be that there is a bug with the smart recording setting?

    I noticed the fit files for the 945 were way larger then for the 935, so I loaded them in the fit file repair tool and saw that even with smart recording enabled I had a datapoint every second, while the 935 was indeed ‘smarter’ and could have multiple seconds between datapoints.

    I tested this again a few times, also just now sitting on my chair with an activity for 5 minutes, and again… 308 data points.

    Switching to 1sec doesn’t help, so it seems to always record at 1 sec? This is for both running and walking (which makes sense because it’s a general setting).

    Can anyone check/comment?

    • Luis

      I really appreciate your help and support Ray.
      I have contacted with ALL OF THEM, dpd, dpd exports, and the last word I have heard from them(two weeks ago or-so) it was to get in contact with “Fulfilment crowd”. I dont know. They also asked me, back in time, about my address, the address is totally perfect on the order so.. Who knows what on earth is going on.
      Im learning to be patient. The parcel tracking is a long ago paralyzed.(attaching picture). “Your parcel has left the UK and is on its way to Spain” (quote)

      Long story short, no many news within these last two weeks. Today CT has sent me an email, asking me about my address, which is perfectly written from the very first time. I will go on holidays in July, if they dont do anything soon I will have to ask for a refund at the end of June. But for now, I have told the to re-sent me thewatch; the only problem is they dont say a date, time goes and if I lucky enough I will get another message on Thursday or Friday. Well, at least you’ve confirmed they would have stock this next week (what does it mean?? This week we are on?? Or the oncoming??

      Comments regarding the 945 are quite pessimistic… Let’s see!!
      Thanks Ray, I know for sure this has nothing to do with you.

  137. Thanks for the reviews you make. I am using Polar now and have been doing it for over twenty years. But this review makes me jump to the Garmin camp, instead of buying the Vantage V. I hope it’s the right choice 🙂

    I’m glad I’ve learned about this site (I’ve only heard about it when I photographed the Garmin event in Apeldoorn where you were participating). Been reading a lot n your site since then. So I’m planning to buy the watch at CV UK, but the comments here make me hesitate a bit.

    • Joaquin

      After over 15 years with Polar I just switched to the Garmin FR 945. Besides the horrible experience of having ordered through CT-UK, my unit was received on June 10 (ordered on May 4). However, the watch is incredible. I moved from a Polar V800 and went for a ride to compare. The optical sensor was surprisingly accurate in comparison to the Polar chest sensor. Most of the time they were giving exact readings or showing a difference of only 1-2 beats. In terms of GPS accuracy…both are great. I’ve had no battery issues, on the contrary…the battery of the FR 945 lasts forever in comparison to the V800. I love the fact that it records my HR 24/7. Having said that, the new vantage does al that too. Personally, I don’t care for Garmin Pay or having music on the watch. Furthermore, I though that the Garmin would have more exercise profiles on the watch, as Polar does. I do mostly water sports and the Garmin has stand up paddle but no sailing, windsurfing or kitesurfing as the Polar does. I added them creating a custom (other) activity which has a generic Icon. Furthermore, Polar allows you to customize the data screens on the computer, which is a breeze in comparison to having to do so on the Garmin. Having said that, the Garmin Connect app on the iPhone is light years ahead of the Polar one. It’s mind blowing. So much data…Amazing. Garmin has many apps or watch faces that can be installed, but you have to choose because most of them are useless or you have to pay couple of euros to unlock their full potential. Would I purchase the FR 945 again? The Polar Vantage looks amazing…but in general the Garmin is currently a superior product…I just have to learn how to customize the unit better. I mean…adding and creating custom activities should be way easier and straight forward. Again, Garmin’s are great…thus I probably still have to figure it out…and the FR has so much more stuff than the Vantage… anyway…just my personal opinion.

    • Rainbow Warrior

      Hi there,

      Same here, I was a happy owner of a Polar M400 for five years, waited for the new Vantage to come out only to see the general disappointment.

      I have the FR945 since two weeks and happy with it, but I still have a lot of features to discover. I mainly use it for running, swimming and as a bike computer.

    • Bas

      Thanks! It makes me more determent to change

    • Bas

      Well, I was a bit worried when I ordered the 945 at CT, but I got the watch today, within two weeks after ordering. Clever Training said it would be shipped end of June, it came even earlier than expected. Happy man here! And thanks Ray for the discount 🙂