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Garmin Forerunner 745 In-Depth Review

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Garmin has announced the new Forerunner 745, a successor to the now four-year-old FR735XT. This multisport watch essentially takes just about everything from the FR945, except leaves the maps by the side of the road, saving you $100. Also, it’s a bit smaller/lighter, and thus has less battery life.

However, there are a handful of new features here, including a new track recognition mode that nails your track workout’s GPS map to the correct lane on the track, as well as ensuring the distance is virtually identical to what you run. Second, there’s a new Daily Suggested Workouts for running and cycling, which gives you specific daily workouts to do that keep you within the bounds of ideal training load and recovery. Oh, and fear not, track mode is coming to FR245/945/MARQ/Fenix6 units next week in public beta (and daily suggested workouts to all but the FR245), and then to final/production firmware in a few weeks.

Now I’ve been using the FR745 as my daily watch since August, and I’ve got a pretty good grasp on all the features and nuances, and how it performs across a wide range of conditions. From running to cycling to swimming, flatlands to mountains and more. The unit I’m using is a media loaner, and once I’m done with it here I’ll package it back up in the box it came in and ship it back to Garmin. Just the way I roll. If you found this review useful, using the links at the end of the post help support the site.

With that, let’s dive into it!

What’s New:

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There’s no better place to start than with a complete list of what’s new/changed from the previous edition (FR735XT) via the video above.

But, if you want a consolidated text-driven list, then below will suit your fancy. I’ve put together this list using the Forerunner 735XT as my baseline for whether something has changed. Of course, there’s been a number of other watches in the Garmin fitness/outdoor realm in the four years since that unit came out, so most of the features below (except Track mode & Daily Suggested Workouts) have debuted on the Fenix 5, Fenix 6, MARQ, or Forerunner 245/945 series units. Still, if you’re rockin’ a FR735XT, then here’s roughly what’s changed:

– Added new track recognition running mode
– Added new Daily Workout suggestion (first watch to see this feature)
– Added PacePro
– Added ClimbPro for automated climb notifications on running/cycling/hiking/XC skiing activities
– Added music storage/playback via Bluetooth headphones, including Spotify
– Added contactless/NFC payments
– Added Pulse Ox (pulse oximeter data)
– Added new Garmin ELEVATE optical HR sensor (V3, same as MARQ/FR245/FR945)
– Added training load focus stats
– Added deeper training effect details/metrics
– Added stress tracking
– Changed recovery time advisor to account for Stress/Sleep/Daily Activity
– 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 new LiveTrack Course Support (shows planned course on LiveTrack)
– Added support for Garmin Running Power (with accessory sensor)
– Added Safety/Tracking Assistance (you can press button to send help alert to friends/family)
– Increases battery life slightly from 14 to 16 hours in GPS mode (and 6 hours in GPS+Music mode). One week smartwatch mode battery life.
– Changed GNSS to Sony GPS chipset, includes support for GLONASS & Galileo
– Added Barometric Altimeter
– Redesigned a bunch of the user interface, especially for post-workout stats

Now, at this point you’re probably trying to figure out what the heck the difference is between the FR745 and the FR945, and mainly it comes down to the following:

– FR945 has offline mapping, the FR745 doesn’t
– FR945 has longer battery life, the FR745 doesn’t
– FR945 has 14GB of storage (~8GB usable after maps), the FR745 has 4GB (~3GB usable)
– FR945 is slightly heavier/bigger (50g) than FR745 (47g)
– FR945 has golf, the FR745 doesn’t
– FR945 has Firstbeat Respiration Rate during a workout, the FR745 doesn’t
– FR945 has the Temperature, Compass, Dog Track, Alternate Time Zones, and XERO Bowsight Widgets, the FR745 doesn’t (note: The FR745 does have a compass, just not a dedicated compass widget outside of an activity)

Here’s a double-stack comparison between the FR745 and 735XT in terms of size:

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And then from the front:

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And, as was true to form four years ago, I validated that the size of the FR745 retains the Oreo sizing, so if you’re unsure of how it’ll look on your wrist, then the easiest way is an Oreo – it’s virtually identical in size.

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See, just add tape:

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

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Ok, with that, let’s finish up with a quick weigh-in versus the 945:

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And, off we go

The Basics:

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From a basics standpoint, Forerunner 745 is basically identical to other Garmin Forerunner watches made in the last year or two. Thus if you’re familiar with something like a Forerunner 945 or 245, you’ll find most of the same stuff in this section and can probably skip right to the sports tech where I dive into the new track mode and suggested workouts bit. But, if you’re new to the Garmin ecosystem, then this will get you up to speed.

The first thing you’ve got is the watch face, for which Garmin has broken out a new default design that puts the training status front and center, showing you whether your current training load is productive or not. I actually really like it. It’s basically Garmin seemingly saying ‘Hey, remember that company we acquired? Now it’s on a watch face’. And I agree – if the point of all these training metrics is to have you make day to day decisions upon then, then put them front and center.

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And, surprisingly, it actually worked. For about the first time in…umm…ever…I actually used said guidance to determine whether or not to do some workouts, or whether to specifically do harder workouts (and in my case, specifically ended up curtailing a few weeks here and there).

Still, if you don’t like that watch-face, or if you want to customize it you can easily do so. You can either choose a different one already on the watch, or download other custom/3rd party ones from the Connect IQ App Store. There’s probably thousands of watch faces there. You can even put the picture of your dog or rabbit on there if you want to.

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The FR745 captures all the normal daily activity tracking stuffs you’d expect. That includes steps, stairs, sleep, heart rate, as well as Pulse Ox. Though, enabling PulseOx will burn through battery far quicker than having it disabled. All of these are accessible via the newer Widget Glances concept that was introduced last year on the Fenix 6. It basically takes the widgets and condenses them into three per page:

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And then you can open any given one to get more data on it. For example, steps, or smartphone notifications, or heart rate, or whatever you want. Here’s a pile of them in a gallery:

Everything that occurs from a daily standpoint is not only recorded in the watch, but then synchronized behind the scenes automatically with Garmin Connect via the Garmin Connect Mobile app (or, WiFi in cases of uploading a workout). When syncing via smartphone (iOS/Android) that goes via Bluetooth. Whereas if you plug it into your computer via USB, it’ll sync with the Garmin Express desktop app on Mac/PC. It’s here you can view daily summary information as well as steps and a million other metrics hidden down in the various data pages.

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In general, people tend to either love or hate Garmin’s smartphone app. I find that it has by FAR more information than any other app out there, so I kinda like it. But, you have to figure out where that information is. There’s a lot of cubby holes to dig through. Garmin has more recently tried to surface that to the front ‘Today’ dashboard, which shows you today as well as this week. And that does help a fair bit.

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Next, there’s sleep tracking. The FR745 had planned to launch with an on-wrist sleep widget display (just like was recently added to the Fenix 6 and soon the FR945), and in fact that’s what I’ve been using/testing. However, a last second change two days ago will temporarily pull that feature to track down some newly introduced bugs. So you’ll get the previous/existing sleep tracking for the next week or so, which simply means you’ll see it on the Garmin Connect App, rather than on your wrist. Garmin says that feature will likely resume next week in an update. In any case, here’s how it looks on your FR745. Or, my FR745:

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Yes, I know, that’s a non-normal and less than ideal night.

And then here’s the data on Garmin Connect mobile. There’s no need to press any buttons or anything for sleep tracking – it just figures it out automatically. Like other Garmin devices though, it doesn’t support naps. You’ll get PulseOx information, which in this case below was when I was up on the mountains at altitude, as well as breathing rate.

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On the back of the FR745 you’ll find the same optical HR sensor as introduced on other Garmin wearables in the last year or so (thus, the FR945 for example), which includes a PulseOX sensor. This sensor measures SPo2 using a red light that you’ll see occasionally turn on. Whereas the constantly-on green light is measuring your heart rate:

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The 24×7 heart rate can be seen on the widget (see earlier widget gallery), as well as on Garmin Connect Mobile or Garmin Connect online. 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.

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I haven’t seen any outliers in the 24×7 heart rate data (I address workout HR data later in the review). Generally speaking, accuracy of 24×7 heart rate tracking these days/years is pretty trivial for companies, and Garmin’s sampling at 1-second interval helps that cause as well in terms of getting the true highs and lows for resting HR and such.

In addition, there’s the PulseOx data. This is a bit harder to quantify accuracy on. First though, the practical side. While there has been some interesting discussion around PulseOx and COVID-19, most of the interesting research/early indicators is actually breathing rate and changes there more so than SPo2 data. Historically 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. In my case, that includes 3-4 days in Switzerland last week where you see the data plotted against my altitude:

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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.

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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. I find when I actually sit down and do it per a proper SPo2 test, that you’ll find the results are pretty much what I’d expect for a healthy person, in the upper 90’s. Whether or not all the other stats are accurate or not is challenging to validate while I’m sleeping. Thus, aside from this review, I’ll turn the feature off – mostly just cause it burns too much battery.

Last but not least, there’s smartphone notifications. These will show any apps you’ve configured on your phone to send smartphone notifications to your watch You can tap on them to expand and get more details.

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There isn’t any way on the FR745 to respond to texts on iOS, nor to answer calls on the watch itself (you can accept/decline a call, but that’s just connecting the call on your phone). It’s mostly a one-way thing here. Still, I find the smartphone notifications useful for a quick glance.

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 where you want to be:

With all the basics covered (except music and payments, which I’ll circle back to later), let’s shift gears to sports.

Sports Usage:

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From a sports standpoint the FR745 is essentially just a very lightly slimmed down version of the FR945, and in fact, it has all the same sports features the FR945 does. There’s only a handful of tiny widget differences compared to the Fenix 6 series such as golf or the dog track widget or the Xero Bowsight widget. Things you’ll probably never use (and in some cases, probably never knew existed). The only feature in the sports realm from the FR945 that aren’t yet on the FR745 are respiration rate during an activity (that’s breathing rate).

Here’s a listing of all the sport types that are on the FR745:

Run, Trail Run, Track Run, Treadmill, Indoor Track, Bike, Bike Indoors, Smart Trainer, Pool Swim, Openwater Swim, Triathlon, Multisport, Triathlon, Virtual Run, MTB, SwimRun, HRV Stress, Hike, Ski, Snowboard, Backcountry Ski, XC Classic Ski, XC Skate Ski, SUP, Kayak, Row, Row Indoor, Navigate, Walk, Strength, Cardio, Yoga, Pilates, Breathwork, Floor Climb, Elliptical, Stair Stepper, Clocks, Other

To access these sport modes, simply tap the upper right button. This is where you’ll see your favorites grouped first, and then you can scroll down to access other sports that you use less frequently:

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Some sports will leverage GPS (like running outdoors), while other sports won’t use GPS (such as running on a treadmill). In the case of indoor sports they’ll use sensors in the watch, including the accelerometer and gyro, as well as connectivity to external sensors.  The FR745 supports all the same sensors as the FR945 does, which 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+), ANT+ FE-C trainers (Smart Trainer)

Notable is the ANT+ FE-C trainers as part of the recently rolled out smart trainer integration on the Fenix 6 & FR945 series.

As with other Garmin devices, you can save multiple sensors of the same type, such as if you had multiple bikes with power meters or cadence sensors on them. Or if you simply have multiple heart rate straps. When those sensors turn on, the watch will automatically connect to them and update the data fields accordingly.

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Note that sensors are saved in one sport for all sport profiles. So you define sensors globally, and then 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 (just breadcrumb trail), ClimbPro, and Music controls.

While I’m still waiting for Garmin to do a proper wearable lap summary data field like their own Edge devices – or like Suunto’s watches (which has a grid listing of all your recent laps, so it’s easy to compare), everything else here is pretty darn customizable. You still can’t create/customize data pages on your phone, instead, it’s all on the watch (which, I prefer). However, of note is that the recent Garmin Edge migration option from older Edge devices still hasn’t hit Garmin’s wearables either yet. So if you have an older Garmin, you’ll need to manually reset everything up.

In any case, let’s get back and start this darn workout. And it’s at this juncture that you see one of the new Forerunner 745 features – Daily Suggested Workouts. This first rolled out to the Edge 1030 Plus this past June, and now we see it on Garmin’s first wearable. It’ll produce a workout recommendation based on either a previously planned structured workout calendar, or, if lacking that, it’ll come up with something magical by itself. These automatically generated workouts look at your training load and then determine what will keep you in a productive training zone.  For example, today after a busy day yesterday it’s telling me to rest:

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These will vary by sport. Here’s one from yesterday later in the day on cycling. In this case this was a bit low for what I’d do as base work, but my cycling input data to this has been pretty wonky lately. Whereas when I tested the cycling side of this back in June on the Edge series it got surprisingly good at figuring me out.

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Note that there’s no structured workouts offered for swimming best I can tell, so this is more skewed towards runners/cyclists than pure triathletes at this point.

In any case, ignoring this advice for the sake of getting a photo, we’ll go ahead and choose a run, so we’ve selected that sport, and got satellite as well as heart rate lock. Then press start:

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You’ll now see the data fields as you’ve configured, updating and recording just like normal.

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If you loaded a course from Garmin Connect (or from Strava or wherever else), you can follow that course. It’s just a breadcrumb trail course, but it’s a course nonetheless.

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More importantly though is that course gets your ClimbPro on the FR745. That’s super useful for routes with lots of major climbs/hills, and will automatically divide up each climb and show you distance/ascent/grade remaining for that climb. I used it last week in the Alps and just like with cycling, it’s one of my favorite Garmin features.

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In addition, the FR745 also includes PacePro. That lets you load up a course and then insert your desired finish time. On the app it’ll let you tweak whether you positive or negative split (run the first half faster than the second or vice versa), as well as aggressiveness on hills. You can also create a more basic version of this entirely on the watch if you’ve got the course loaded, by inputting a specific time or pace goal.

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You can then load that up on the watch as well. I tried this out back with the Fenix 6 series when they introduced it there and it’s another super compelling feature for races. Though, there aren’t many of those these days. Still, you can race your own pretend race I suppose.

In any case, to create laps or splits you can use auto-lap, or manual laps (my preference). You can also customize the lap banners after you press the lap button, to show different information.

Once you’ve wrapped up your workout you’ll get stats about it. These stats are basically divided into two camps. The first are stats related to the run itself – such as distance, pace, calories, etc… Whereas the second half are around the training impact of the run to your overall training load and recovery.

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For example, a mountain bike workout from last week shows the training effect area (threshold), as well as the training effect breakdown of 3.6 for aerobic and 2.4 for anaerobic. Note the coloring, which carries through as a label in the different training load screens.

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In order to simplify this, Garmin added the new Fitness/Load arrows back with the FR945, which makes it super easy to figure out what’s going on with fitness load and whether the training you’re doing is productive, unproductive (usually overkill), or simply maintaining.

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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 and the load per day. It also shows the optimal load range.

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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.

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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. The next section then shows me my current recovery time and cycling-specific VO2Max:

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If this were a running workout, it’d show running-specific VO2Max:

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All of this is available within Garmin Connect Mobile as well, and you can dig into the nuances of all these categories and the load of each:

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Next, 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 a heat acclimation icon:

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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 945/745/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.

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.

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In any case – circling way back to the end of our workout, you can see them on the watch itself as noted, but you can also check out all the stats on Garmin Connect Mobile too:

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.

Finally, a word about swims. The FR745 will utilize the optical sensor during swims, both pool and openwater. In my case I’ve done a number of openwater swims with it – more on the accuracy later. But in short, for ALL watches on the market today, measuring your heart rate optically with water between the sensor and your wrist is incredibly difficult. All companies basically say a variant of ‘Good luck, it might work’. And that’s roughly what I see as well.

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However, in addition to the optical sensor you can use Garmin’s new HRM-PRO (seen below) or their older HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM straps to automatically download your heart rate data after the swim and transmit it to your watch. This won’t transmit the data during the swim to the watch (I mean, technically it does, but since the digital signals only got about 3cm underwater, it doesn’t do much good). As long as you’ve paired the watch to the strap pre-swim, it’ll automatically download afterwards.

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Also, the FR745 is compatible with the FORM Swimming Goggles in openwater swim mode. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this section I’m headed out for a nice late afternoon swim with that setup exact.

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All of that worked exactly as it did on the Fenix 6/FR945, except, just on the FR745 instead.

Ok, with all that wrapped up, the general gist here is that the FR745 is that from a sports standpoint the only meaningful difference between the FR745 and the FR945 is really the battery life, which is slated at 16 hours for GPS mode on the FR745 compared to 36 hours for the FR945.  In my testing, those battery life times seemed about right. I turned on PulseOx over the last week, and that mostly slayed the battery as expected, but for the weeks prior to that I’d had it disabled and battery life was perfectly fine and in-line with claims.

Track Mode:

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I’ve separated out Track Mode since it’s one of the only two new features on the FR745 that hasn’t yet been introduced to other Garmin devices. And by ‘yet’, I mean…sorta.

Fear not Fenix 6, FR945, MARQ, and FR245 owners – as of today (Update: Now next week) you can get the new Track Mode in a public beta, which will then be added for all owners likely in about 2-3 weeks via a normal production update. The Daily Suggested Workouts feature will come to all those as well, except the FR245. As with other updates, FR645 people need not apply. You apparently did something wrong to your Garmin parents at birth and are forever neglected to the no-update-love pile.

In any case – track mode is pretty darn cool, and is somewhat similar to what COROS introduced last year. In some areas Garmin does it better, and in some areas COROS does it better. But I’ve gotten a smattering of track workouts under my belt so I’ve got a pretty good idea on all the interesting nuances.

First up, go to your sports menu and choose ‘Track Run’:

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Now, go find your track. But, don’t start the GPS activity until you get to the track. Like COROS, Garmin tries to learn the track as you start the activity, so if you’re off meandering through neighborhoods, it won’t do that correctly.

Once on the track, start the watch and begin running. By default it assumes you’re in ‘Lane 1’, but you can change that if you’re one of those folks that runs in other lanes. Simply hold down the middle left button and then choose ‘Track Run Settings’ followed by ‘Lane Number’.

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Now, this time for real, start running. Garmin says that it takes approximately two laps for them to work out the details of your track. They also say their algorithm can correctly detect any track as long as it has two parallel straightaways, and either a single or double-radius curve at two ends. This covers the vast overwhelming majority of tracks, though, there are some super quirky ones that aren’t normal out there.

During those first two laps the accuracy may not be as spot-on perfect as once it finishes indexing the track. In fact, Garmin says that if you really want to have the most accuracy, go run 2-4 laps and then save the workout. The act of saving the workout is what commits that track to memory on the watch (in fact, there’s even a folder where it stores these track files). Once you’ve done that track once, it’s locked and remembered forever. If you don’t care that the first two laps or so might not be perfect, then no worries, continue on with your track workout and next time it’ll be nailed. Here’s an example of those first 2-4 laps finalizing itself (this was 1,600m, four laps, in my case):

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You’ll notice how yes, it’s good by normal standards, but it’s not crazy perfect.

Now, let’s pretend it’s got the track memorized – at this point it’ll accrue distance in an astoundingly accurate way. You don’t need to tell it the length of the track or anything else, it just knows that by the algorithm. So as you pass the same point each time, it should be within a couple meters. In my experience, if I’m doing 800’s for example, when I hit the same line each time it’ll usually be between 798m and 802m, with the rare outlier at 205m on some 200 sprints.

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And here’s the first (current) difference between Garmin and COROS. In the case of COROS, they ‘round’ those sets in. So 95% of the time, COROS will see the 398’s and 402’s and simply call it 400. It knows that’s what you actually did when you pressed lap as you crossed the line. And, even if you were half a meter late – it knows the whole purpose of this feature is basically having pretty data (pretty maps, pretty set distances). Compare these two:

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Now, in talking to Garmin, they seem to roughly agree here on the rounding intervals idea. So expect some tweaks to this over the coming little while – no guarantees, but it sounds like that’s the direction. So at the moment, the implementation is data-split-wise prettier on the COROS side

However, it flips when we look at the map. There, Garmin wins. If you look closely, their algorithm correctly nails the track and the lane. It’s spot-on perfect like someone traced a line on the inside lane:

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Whereas COROS’s algorithm didn’t quite correctly detect the track shape, and makes it a bit skinnier, which means each lap I’m off in the bushes at the curves, and on the infield on the straightaways. Your friends on Strava probably won’t notice unless they zoom in a bunch. But it’s something COROS can work on nonetheless.

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Finally, note that Garmin says that the algorithm that detects tracks is like anything else, a work in progress. They believe it’s in a pretty solid state, though they have a moderate update coming next week to the algorithm to optimize it more (it didn’t make the cut for the launch firmware). And of course, note that this depends on GPS, so if your track is indoors or has heavily obstructed stadium overhangs, that might impact things too.

Still, I love track mode. Mostly cause I love good clean data. Sure, the benefits here are that everything (map and splits) look pretty to our eye, but the secondary benefit is data accuracy. Your runs will show exactly what you actually ran. Not an extra 283 meters of wobble, or undercut or whatever else. It also makes coaches’ lives way easier as well, since they can look at the splits and data like a normal human with correct average paces, as opposed to trying to decode average paces against inaccurate distances.

GPS Accuracy:

DSC_9089

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 745 workouts).  But often I’ll simply carry other units by the straps, or attach them to the shoulder straps of my hydration backpack.  Plus, wearing multiple watches on the same wrist is well known to impact optical HR accuracy. One technique I’ve been using a bit starting this review that’s worked exceedingly well is below. How on earth I never thought to place the secondary watches on the outside of my hands (loosely strapped) is beyond me. Note, for those units on my hands, they *are not* using optical HR. Instead, they’re connected to chest straps and other HR sensors.

Next, as noted, I use just my daily training routes.  Using a single route over and over again isn’t really indicative of real-world conditions, it’s just indicative of one trail.  The workouts you see here are just my normal daily workouts. All of the workouts you see here I did with GPS+GLONASS enabled, as that’s the default one and it sounds like the mode Garmin expects the best results in these days.

With that, let’s jump in on a mostly trail run in the forest, comparing the FR745, Polar GRIT X, COROS Pace 2, and Fenix 6. As you can see at a high level, it’s looking positive. Here’s that data set:

image

But of course, we’re gonna zoom in. A lot. Here’s in the trees on the trails, and you can see that the Polar Grit X and FR745 are clearly on the path during the turns the most correct. And by ‘clearly’, I mean, I get it’s hard to see the colors from the trees, but if you cock your head and squint, you can see (or you can use the link above to zoom around yourself).

image

I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely crazy perfect, but for trees and trail running, it’s pretty darn good. In fact, as I zoom around the map here, it’s consistently the most correct, with the Grit X usually right behind it (or…next to it):

image

About the singular exception to that was this section where the FR745 appears to be about 2-3 meters offset for a short distance. But we’re talking a super small amount:

image

Now, I’ve already shown the track run bits up above, but I just want to illustrate the differences here somewhat. Below is a Fenix 6 Pro in non-track mode on the track, compared to the FR745 in track mode and the COROS Pace 2 in track mode. You can’t even see the other watches tracks because of the variability of the non-track mode lines:

image

Whereas when I remove the Fenix 6 from the picture and leave the two track-mode watches, you can see the aqua colored line of the FR745 perfectly on the inside lane. The COROS Pace 2 is close, but you see how it cuts into the infield and then goes off into the bushes. It just didn’t quite nail the track recognition in terms of specs.

image

What about an openwater swim? Ask and you shall receive. Here it is compared to the COROS Pace 2 on the other wrist, and a Fenix 6 on the swim buoy as a reference track:

image

If we look at the swim track more closely, you can see it correctly nailed exactly where I went around the buoys.

image

If we compare it more closely to the COROS Pace 2, you’ll see that while that unit was very good, the Pace 2 is slightly more wobbly on the track, whereas the FR745 is just a bit more refined and near locked to the reference GPS track.

image

However, the FR745 did make one mistake, which was that at one point when I stopped next to a buoy for a few seconds to take a photo, it created a little ‘heart’ in the water, as seen below. This added distance inaccurately.

image

Albeit, despite that the distance was still exactly the same as the reference track. With the COROS Pace 2 being very slightly longer. Again though, this shows that you can be over/under and still get the average or total distance right. So that’s somewhat of a non-ideal way to compare things:

image

Lastly, we’ll finish with the boring – a road bike ride. I say boring, cause these are almost always flawless. It’s super rare for GPS units to screw-up on road cycling routes. Here’s the FR745 compared to the Karoo 2 (beta unit) and Edge 530:

image

If we zoom into some sections with more buildings around it, you’ll see the Edge 530/745 are identical to where I went. The beta firmware on the Karoo 2 is still being optimized GPS-wise:

image

Same goes for crossing a bridge with plenty of wires and overhead struts around – virtually identical here:

image

And again, here too:

image

It’s all honestly the same across the entire ride – boringly identical.

As we’ve seen with each successive review of both Garmin and non-Garmin watches on the Sony chipset, the accuracy continues to improve. The variances become more and more rare, and the accuracy gets better and better. I think we’ve even reached the point now where we’re pretty easily better than the previous MediaTek GPS chipset in almost every condition. I’m sure there’s edge cases, but I’m simply not seeing them at this point in my day to day testing.

(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:

DSC_9092

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 2020) – though in this review timespan also the HRM-PRO too, as well as another optical HR sensor watch on the other wrist. 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.

First, let’s start and see how it handles steady-state running. This is a 9-mile long run from a few weeks ago, just cruising along at a relatively easy pace. In this case we’ve got the HRM-PRO as a chest strap reference, the COROS Pace 2 on one wrist with optical, the FR745 on the other wrist as optical HR, and then a Whoop strap on my bicep connected to the Polar Grit X. Here’s that data set:

image

As you can see – or rather, perhaps don’t see, the FR745 blends in virtually identically to the HRM-PRO chest strap. After the initial slow-ramp offset of the COROS Pace 2 optical HR, it’s pretty much the same. The Whoop strap is…well…the Whoop strap.

However, there was one minor moment of divergence in this run for the FR745, seen here around the 36 minute marker:

image

This lasted about a minute, and seemed to be a bit more elevated than reality, roughly 8-10bpm higher before it locked back on. This was at the conclusion of one of my short intervals I was doing throughout the run, so that makes it great to dig into a bit further looking at the heart rate data during intervals.

Thus, we find ourselves now on the track. This is a track workout focused mostly on 800’s, but with some sprint 200’s in at the end. Here’s that workout with the FR745’s optical sensor compared to the Garmin HRM-PRO chest strap and then the COROS Pace 2 on the other wrist:

image

What we see is basically that the FR745 nails pretty much everything, though it has some very nitpicky differences on the 200m sprints towards the end. The COROS Pace 2 meanwhile struggles in the first few minutes, as well as in the sprints. Of note here is that both these watches actually first did a 1,600m warm-up (track calibration), and then I started this set fresh. So my body was warmed up, thus in theory the COROS should have more easily been able to lock HR on this new main section.

In any case, looking at the 800’s, these are all spot-on identical between the FR745 and Garmin HRM-DUAL:

image

As if often the case with intervals and optical HR sensors, you see a very tiny bit of lag on recovery (but virtually no lag on the initial interval pick-up). You see how it’s just a couple seconds behind the HRM-PRO chest strap. Again, a super-tiny amount here that you’d never notice in-person if you didn’t have a secondary reference source.

Whereas if we look at these 30-second/200m intervals, you’ll see there’s more lag from the optical side of the house compared to the chest strap, albeit not always. The first one shows lag of maybe 10-15 seconds on the FR745 compared to the HRM-PRO. However the 2nd/3rd/4th intervals are very close on the uptake, but a bit more laggy on the recovery.

image

Next, let’s switch gears and look at an indoor workout on Zwift. In this set we’ve got the FR745 optical sensor, the HRM-PRO chest strap, and the Wahoo TICKR X 2020 chest strap. Here’ that data set:

image

In the first couple of seconds you see the TICKR-X spike briefly. I suspect that might actually just be something with adjusting it more than anything else, given it happened in the first few seconds and went away.

After that point it’s pretty darn boring – all the units are identical across the board until the very end. It’s here I do a bit of a 900w+ sprint and my HR spikes accordingly. We see the lag from the FR745 optical sensor, whereas the other units are all pretty much in agreement, with the HRM-PRO being slightly faster than the TICKR X by a second or two.

image

Finally, here’s an outdoor ride with the FR745, Garmin HRM-DUAL, TICKR X, and COROS Pace 2, this is a mostly steady-state ride, save a few stops for canal bridges or stop-lights. It’s also in the rain at times, as well as on bumpy roads at times. Here’s that data:

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So…yeah. Ok, the brown bits are the COROS Pace 2. So what we’re looking for here is the purple bits – places where that doesn’t match the chest straps. So let’s remove the PACE 2 for a second:

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Now that’s a bit easier to see what’s going on. The HRM-PRO & TICKR-X basically mirror each other the entire time. A few tiny differences when I come to a stop where the two slightly differed on the bottom-end, but it’s super-duper close.

However, the purple is a bit more variable. Yes, it follows the general trend of things (this isn’t smoothed at all), but is often a bit laggy after hard intervals, or during the ramp back up again.

image

It wouldn’t be my first choice to use if HR was important while riding this ride, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the COROS Pace 2 did. And it’s also honestly a fair bit better than most optical HR sensors on road riding, which continues to be one of the more challenging things for optical sensors to do.

Ultimately, the optical HR sensor performance here seems largely in line with the FR945 and Fenix 6 series, with perhaps a slight bit of edge compared to when I last tested those. I’d have no issues using it for pretty much anything running, including intervals, as well as most indoor cycling. For outdoor cycling I’d probably defer to a chest strap for anything that’s not steady-state.

Summary:

DSC_9058

It’s been said that the FR945 is simply a plastic Fenix 6, which, is mostly true. And in the case of the FR745, it’s basically just a map-less FR945. And, that’s mostly true. Sure, there’s minor nuances to each of those statements – namely being the FR745 has slightly less battery (and heft) than the FR945 – but in general the sentiment rings true.

In this case – I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The FR745 is a very capable watch. While I often toggle between the Fenix 6 Pro and FR945 as my daily watch, I’d have no problems wearing the FR745 as my daily watch. Heck, I have been wearing it as my daily watch since back in August. And it’s been solid. As long-time readers know, I tend to prefer wearing smaller/lighter watches – and this fits that bill. While the maps would have been helpful occasionally last week in the Alps, I was able to make do with the breadcrumb trail in the vast majority of the case – only a few times either double-checking my phone purely for sanity reasons.

The challenge I see for the FR745 is price. Which, I know I say a lot – but in looking at comments on rumors over the last few weeks, everyone is expecting this to drop at $399…but that’s not the case. It’s $499. And combine that with the COROS Pace 2 at $199 – and that’s a huge $300 gap. The FR735/745 series has historically been Garmin’s ‘entry-level’ multisport watch. But at $500, that’s a tough pill for someone to recommend when the COROS Pace 2 does all the core multisport/triathlon features the FR745 does. Sure, the FR745 has a million training benefit/recover, pacing, etc… type features – and some of them are useful. Same goes for things like offline music and countless other integrations and apps. But still, $300 more? That’s tough.

Of course, as I’ve learned over the years – people will buy it. And whether or not it’s over-priced, Garmin will account for in due course (as will your wallet). But setting price aside, it’s a solid watch that does exactly what the FR945 has done over the last 18 months…just for $100 less and without maps. And people seem pretty darn happy in general with the FR945.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Support the site

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

I’ve partnered with the retailers below, any shopping you do through the links below helps support the site. Thanks!

Garmin Forerunner 745 (Amazon)
Garmin HRM-PRO Chest Strap (Amazon)

For European/Australian/New Zealand readers, you can also pick up the unit via Wiggle at the links below, which helps support the site too! With Wiggle new customers get 10GBP (or equivalent in other currencies) off their first order for anything over 50GBP by using code [Currently Disabled] at check-out after clicking the links below.

Garmin Forerunner 745 (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)
Garmin HRM-PRO Chest Strap  (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)

Finally, here’s a handy list of some of my favorite Garmin-specific accessories for the Garmin watches. Of course, being ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart compatible, you don’t have to limit things to just Garmin.

ProductAmazonNote
Garmin Cadence Sensor V2This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.
Garmin HRM-DUAL Chest StrapThis is one of the top two straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the other being the Polar H9/H10). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.
Garmin HRM-PROThis is the pinnacle of Garmin chest straps, and includes dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, Swimming support, Running Dynamics, as well as back-fill of HR/Steps/Intensity Minutes/Calories if not wearing the watch in certain sports.
Garmin HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM StrapsWhile optical HR works on some newer Garmin watches, if you're looking for higher levels of accuracy, the HRM-TRI or HRM-SWIM are the best Garmin-compatible options out there to fill the gap.
Garmin Puck ChargerSeriously, this will change your life. $9 for a two-pack of these puck Garmin chargers that stay put and stay connected. One for the office, one for your bedside, another for your bag, and one for your dog's house. Just in case.
Garmin Speed Sensor V2This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.

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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313 Comments

  1. Sam

    The return of the Oreo! Can’t decide if I more excited about that or the watch. #runsoicaneat

  2. Rene

    Will the FR945 get the new functionalities from the FR745? I am asking this especially regarding the Daily Suggested Workouts

  3. Matthew Nguyen

    So bummed no LTE. Alas, the wait to upgrade continues.

    I guess $500 makes sense so they could still slot the 655 in the $400 area.

    • I know a lot of people keep talking about those sorts of rumors, but I just really don’t see that likely for all the same reason the Vivoactive 3 LTE failed. Doing carrier stuff is incredibly difficult unless you have leverage over the carriers (cough, Apple or Samsung). Else, it fails. And that totally ignores the far more important elephant in the room, which is that iMessage fails for iOS users, and for this product segment, iOS users make up the majority of the market share.

    • Matthew Nguyen

      I’d say the LTE failed so far for a few reasons, the biggest, to me, is that it was implemented on the VA3. That watch had already been out for a while and is focused on activity tracking more than the sport area. That target group doesn’t really want to go phone-less. Garmin also just needed to market it differently. Maybe focus on going phone-less but still having safety features to live track and send location. Add in the ability to send back predefined messages and maybe it’d be enough. Plus expand carriers (harder done than said), but Verizon does have a $5 plan for the VA3 LTE which is totally reasonable for reduced phone features.

    • Louis

      Ugh, so disappointing. While I agree iMessage makes it much more difficult, I really don’t even want my normal cell number on my wrist. IMO, having a different number is actually a benefit as I won’t get bothered by anyone perhaps except my wife/kids who would have the number for emergencies only.

      I really, really want LTE just for the ability to live track without dragging a phone along, and to send the emergency call/text.

      Boooo, Garmin, Boooo.

      My wife will like this announcement and it means she’ll be getting a new apple watch and I take the hand-me-down with LTE.

    • Greg

      Agreed. Biggest lte use case is the tracking and emergency stuff. I am happy with pre canned texts and ore defined numbers…it’s just a sense of security. No need to stream news, Spotify, etc… just make it so I really can leave my phone at home.

      All I want is Fenix 6 or 955 with basic lte.

    • Nate

      Wonder what the hardware size and power draw requirements would be to build inReach tech directly into the watch. Seems like a better option than LTE for the basic tracking and SOS use case that most people seem to want without carrying a second device.

    • Andrew

      The VA3LTE w/o phone is actually not bad at all except for battery life, especially those times it latches onto a far away cell tower and then its can literally drain completely in 30 minutes. Also, Spotify checks the internet constantly which kills battery. But its so nice to send/rcv txts and emergency contact if necessary. I wear my 735 on my right wrist for workout tracking and VA3LTE for music/LTE.

  4. Antonio

    are you sure it doesn’t have respiration rate during activity? in the garmin site is stated “RESPIRATION RATE (DURING EXERCISE) yes (with compatible accessory)” maybe a typo from them?

  5. Chris

    It seems like the sleep score in the new widget isn’t transferred to the Garmin Connect app. Anywhere to get historical data on sleepscore? Do you think the new sleep widget will make it to Vivoactive 4/Venu, or will we have to wait for a new Venu?

  6. Dan

    “Added ClimbPro for automated climb notifications,” is this really working? On the Fenix 6 ClimbPro can only be accessed manually. It won’t auto display any climbs as you begin ascending (even when navigating a route). Been a few complaints about this on the Garmin forums, so interested to see if the FR745 behaves differently?

    • Cédric C

      I’m really interested in this too. Even Garmin support couldn’t tell me if the Fenix 6 is supposed to switch to the ClimbPro screen at the start of an ascent or not.

  7. Sander

    The 945 haves garmin explorer support, does the 745 haves this also? This can be a bug difference in usability.

  8. Pavel Vishnyakov

    Hi Ray,
    thanks for the detailed review! Now let’s wait until Garmin rolls out daily workouts and track mode for Fenix 6 in production line.
    A few questions:
    1) Will it pick up the track if I record it in a track mode and later just use normal mode? (for example I do a warm-up run on my way to track and then do the efforts at the track)
    2) Why hydration widget is still a third-party thingy and not part of a standard package on Garmin Wearables?
    3) Will there be a review of HRM-PRO?

    • Jakob

      was exactly thinking the same regarding your Q1

    • amico

      Anyone knows the answer to Q1?
      It would be a deal breaker for me if it only works in track mode as I typically warm up running to my local track and cool down on return.

    • It sounds like it should work, and some initial testing shows it works. But it hasn’t been something thoroughly tested by Garmin. They basically said early reports looks positive, but just don’t do an extra 400m loop on the way to the track. 😉

  9. Nighthawk700

    Ouch, I was looking forward to this watch and hoping for the maps of the 945. I just started getting into duathlons and picked up a used 735 solely for the multisport feature. (a 645 is my daily use watch though) At $500, this doesn’t have enough of a pull to make me bite the bullet at this point. Heck, I just took a look at Amazon, I could get the 945 for $520. At this point I’ll probably wait another year or whatever for the successor to the 945, and hope the 945 itself drops in price enough to be worth it.

  10. The Real Bob

    2 things. Thanks for the 945 to 745 comparison. Exactly what I was interested in.

    Thanks for taping an oreo to your wrist. That is just hilarious on so many levels.

  11. John

    I’ve been waiting for this watch to drop. I’m not in love with the $499 price tag. It seems they dropped maps and dropped $100 off the price instead of seeing where the rest of the market is at. If they would have dropped it at $399, it’s twice as much as the Pace 2, but you can commonly find 20% off coupons and that would make it $320, and about $50 of the base Polar watch. A much more easy pill to swallow if you want to stay garmin. I’m currently quickly out fitnessing my fitness watches battery life (VA3). The first beat metrics are really cool, but my training load it directly correlated to kids ability to sleep and their after school activity schedules, neither of which First Beat has a metric for.

  12. John

    DCrainmaker
    If you ever run out of new things to test, I think there would be an audience to see a shoot out of say a 935, Pace 2 type event. Some of the older high end watches you have laying around vs some of the cheaper newer watches. It would be interesting to see last generation vs this generation type battles. People that are looking at a Pace 2 aren’t typically the same people looking at the 945 or Fenix 6, they may be looking at a used 935 or last gen watch new.

  13. Will

    Pace 2 vs 745:
    Garmin does offer Connect IQ which adds some great functionality vs Coros’ locked eco system.
    But still, $300 is a big jump.

  14. Jeff

    Does the 745 include Garmin Coach for adaptive running race training workouts?

  15. Daniel

    Do you know when the fenix 6 beta firmware might be released?

    • Update, just delayed till next week.

    • Mark

      Hey – will this Update include just the workout recommendations or also the new recovery time advisor and sleep widget ?
      On a sidenote – how exactly does this new recovery time advisor work? You did not mention it in the review ? 🙂

    • Daniel

      thanks for the update, i wasnt sure if i was going mad or not when i re-read the top part of your article. but all makes sense with your comment here.

      thanks

    • gtom

      I also wonder whether they plan to update recovery time to include sleep, stress score in Fenix6 and 945 lineup. I don’t think it’s implemented there in current firmware. At least not on my 945 fw 5.00.

    • Piotr

      This one I don’t remember. Is there any change in recovery time advisor comparing to F6/945?
      Ray just mentioned it but without any explanation

    • Piotr

      *don’t understand*

    • No, comparing it in that section to the FR735. The FR945/F6/745 are all the same where the recovery advisor accounts for temp impacts.

    • Mark

      And the 245 will not get the recovery advisor from 745 ?

      Bests

    • Patrick

      in concept that is what garmin call body battery.
      in my experience it is quite good but has a constraint that it doesn’t work well if you record exercise on another device (eg edge cycling computer) then the body battery device doesn’t correctly recognise the impact of that.
      patr of the general issue that garmin need to recognise that some of us have paid them far too much money for multiple devices and the data all needs to sync up better to give us the combined set of features we’ve paid for

    • Piotr

      It looks like there were some change. It came to f6 today with beta:
      Added support for Improved Recovery Time, which takes users stress, sleep, relaxation and physical activity in consideration

  16. Ben

    I’m currently a FR645 user and I can’t tell if this is an higher/lower/same level watch. Garmin has removed the 645 from their site, which leads me to believe this is serving as a replacement for that. Is that the case? Comparing to the 645, is this closer than the 245?

  17. nico arba

    Ray the important thing
    Garmin 955?

  18. Matthew

    Looks great, The smaller form factor is just what I want to replace my bulky ambit3 but the price is £100 too much.It’s only £60 less than the rrp of 945 and is the difference between a BUY it purchase and waiting and looking elsewhere.

  19. Tizzledk

    After reading this, I am most definitely getting the Pace 2.

  20. JE

    So what’s so Pro about new about the HRM-Pro. Is there a review coming up?

  21. Steve

    £449 in the UK – you can get a Fenix 6 Pro for £499 at the moment. Lack of maps is the killer for me.

    Intrigued by the HRM-PRO…

  22. Fina

    Thanks for the accurate review!
    Do you think the new watchfaces and the newer widget glances will come also for the forerunner 945 with a firmware update? I am really undecided on which of the two to buy, I really like the formfactor and watchface of the 745 but also the maps of the 945. Which one do you suggest? (now they are almost the same price)

  23. Tim Shears

    Awesome. I have a Fenix 6 and want to replace it with something that does pulseox and swimming heart rate. Look like the biz.

  24. Jeremy

    So what’s the story with the FR 645? It’s gone off the Garmin site, which is weird considering they STILL sell the 235.

    Track mode seems really cool and it is something I would definitely want–in fact I’m thinking of replacing my 645 with a 245 just to get it (I don’t know if I can justify spending $500 for what the 745 does since I’m not a competitive cyclist/triathlete).

    I know that I’m not the first person to say this, but I’m getting more and more disappointed to see “advanced” running features included on every watch except the “advanced” running watch. Even if it is 2.5 years old now.

    • Ravocs

      Also curious! What is the deal here? It is not a cheap watch and the numbering positions it above the 245. Why is the 645(M) neglected every time?

    • Jeremy

      My guess on the 645 is that, despite the numbering, it is last-generation hardware compared to the 245/945. So while it’s easy to develop common firmware updates for the 245/745/945, they would have to start from scratch to build something new into the 645 firmware.

    • inSyt

      They should have stopped selling the 645 long ago.

    • Dan G

      Aiui, the CPU/platform of the 645 is shared with the rest of the ’45’ series, but its OHR sensor is previous-gen. I think it’s the latter which sank it; perhaps the firmware for the OHR sensor is so deeply embedded in the OS that Garmin would’ve had to have maintained two codebases, instead of just the one that the F6/245/745/945 all use.

      The main reason I bought a 645 over the 735 was to get on the ‘next’ platform, and enjoy any future updates (e.g. Body Battery, better/on-watch sleep tracking, and hey perhaps even Suggested Workouts), but none of that happened 🙁.

      On the other hand, for more than two years it’s proved to be an excellent watch (with an excellent OHR sensor), so I’m not unhappy.

  25. Michael Zielinski

    Coming from a Fenix 5X – so i dont want to miss offline maps. Is it a good time to buy the 945 or is a 94x on the horoizon in the next months ?

  26. Tony

    I bought a Garmin Venu, partly due to the detailed review here, two weeks ago. And promptly ran into a problem that “Garmin Connect” was down; apparently they rely heavily on their Cloud services and yet have trouble keeping them running. No worries, it was back the next day.
    And then a few days later my IP was blocked, just for Garmin, by CloudFlare. The error message claims Garmin did the block, but these generally are automatic based on traffic. I called Garmin; they told me there’s nothing they could do and to wait 24 hours.
    Four days later, CloudFlare block still there, I returned the Venu. I’ve seen brief CloudFlare outages before, but I’ve never been subject to an ongoing block by it, but Garmin has no clue how to whitelist an IP.
    I would be extremely cautious about committing to a Garmin.

  27. Jared

    Serious question: Did you eat the Oreo?

  28. Thien

    I stopped at the Oreo sizing pictures. That’s all I need to know.
    😁 Thx

  29. Stu

    But does it come in black so I can upgrade my 935 without the boss noticing 😉

  30. Volker

    The cheast strap with the yellow sensor, is it the new hrm pro?

  31. stripeyhorse

    So on Garmin UK the 745 is £449 and the 945 £519 – never mind the Coros, it doesn’t even stack up well against the 945 in my mind. You may be able to get better prices elsewhere but…

  32. T

    Lets wait for black friday 2021. Still happy with my 735 but this brings tons of cool data stuff.

  33. John Kissane

    The watch looks fine but the price on Garmin.com comes up at €504, a quick Google search gets me a new 945 for €479. Why would anyone even consider the 745 over that?

    • John

      Same in the US. Amazon has the 945 for $520, 745 is $499 on Garmin’s site.

    • Antonio Moreno

      The only reason someone would consider getting the 745 over the 945 as things stand now is size and/or style really. I suppose Garmin will soon release the 955 with a 650+ price tag and some cool new features to widen the gap between the two models.

  34. Ivan

    Hi DC,

    Any idea if the FR935 will get the track mode?

    Thanks!

  35. Max

    Hi Ray,

    will there be a separate review on the HRM-PRO, comparing it to the other cheststraps that are currently out there (e.g. HRM-Dual, Polar H10, Wahoo Tickr)

    cheers,
    Max

  36. Mr T

    Overall extremely disappointing. Mainly due to the price and the elimination of 645.

    First the price. Garmin has us constantly paying a premium. Especially for stuff wev don’t use. For example, Garmin pay is unreliable or limited that it’s of no use to me. Garmin just abuses its user base with price. At $399, this watch would’ve been great. $499 especially compared to the Pace 2 and Apple Watch sems like a ripoff. Garmin just thinks that we will pay ni matter what. That’s disheartening.

    Plus from the comments it looks ilike Garmi eliminates the watch between 245 and 745.

    This definitely pushes me to the pace 2

    • inSyt

      True, get the Pace 2 if you need multisport and/or wrist based running power, else just get a 245 or a 245M if you need music. The 245 is simply a cut down 945 as well. It receives the same (slightly cut down) updates as the 945.

    • stripeyhorse

      Garmin pay has been a real disappointment, having the ability to buy a bottle of emergency water, or get home when injury strikes is something I’d appreciate (the latter thing happened to me this year) but the uptake of the service has been patchy in the UK, and none of the banks I use support it.

    • Mr T

      I have the 245M. I really like it but the limitation on data pages is something I really don’t like. The 245 has a number of other limitations for me.

      Native power in the watch is something I’d be interested in trying

      My “never going to happen wish” is Garmin makes a real running app for the Apple Watch.

      Or Garmin allows customers to build the fewtures watch they want

      Both are unrealistic. I know.

  37. Christian

    745 “has slightly less battery life” compared to 945. According to the Garmin Website it has not even half of the GPS time of the 945. This is a huge disappointment for me. I expected 25-30h.
    It does not even make sense in relation to the dimensions of the watch:
    945 (47x47x13,70mm = 23769) 36h
    Fenix 6s (42x42x13,80mm = 19119) 25h
    745 (43,8×43,8×13,3mm = 20040)16h

  38. Oskars

    Are you already testing Vantage V2?

  39. Andreas

    Are daily suggested workouts and track mode coming to the FR945/Fenix 6?

  40. derJan

    When i use a watch that supports training suggestions for running and an older edge model (i.e. Edge 520) for my cycling training, will the watch show me suggestions based on training done with all my units?

  41. gtom

    How does the buttons on 745 compare to 945? 945 was known for button gate so wondering if they used the same hardware is in 945 or they adopted the better hardware buttons from Fenix6 series?

    • Zoli133

      On other forums I read that from revision D, they corrected the buttons on 945, so there is a great possibility that they work well on this.

      I own a 245M and have this issue, but I’m not sure yet about the warranty replacement because for some reason garmin doesn’t provide a revision number for this device….

    • gtom

      I have rev. D too. I had rev. A before that (replaced by Garmin). All the same mushy buttons.

  42. NPF

    I suppose the irony about price is that perhaps some people may get rid of their fenix 6 (incl pro) and buy this, for the newness and lightness factor. I mean I nearly contemplated it and may still do as the tactix delta is massive but i love it even for running.

  43. Alex Will

    I agree. the battery life here is the single biggest deterrent. I was super pumped for this watch but the 245M offers 24 hours of battery life with GPS and this is $150 more than that…that’s before you even factor in the Coros Pace 2.

  44. Alexei Doudarev

    Ray,
    Few month ago you posted an article that specified how to enable dark mode within activity menu on a Garmin device, specifically fenix 6. Can you post a link?

  45. Brian Reiter

    Newman-Os are vastly superior!

  46. Ken Jude

    Is the track mode clever enough to calibrate if you typically warm up clockwise in an outer lane as we do at our running club’s track sessions? Or would we need to warm up on a running activity first then calibrate the track mode in the main session?

  47. Franck

    There’s no better place to start than with a complete list of what’s new/changed from the previous edition (FR735XT) via the video above.
    But you actually have a picture above, not a video above….

  48. JB

    Hi Ray,

    I have a Fenix 6, so how would this work with the suggested training option? The watch would follow that training and control through ANT+ FE-C the trainer. How does this integrate with Zwift? Zwift would not control your trainer anymore – is that even an option you can disable in Zwift if you follow the watch workouts and control? But I also would like to see the output (Cadence/wattage/…) of the trainer off course on Zwift. Does that even work???

    thanks

  49. Guillermo Guerini

    Garmin is so greedy. If I’m not mistaken, the 935 used to be at this price point. With the 945 they increases the price point to $600. Now they did the same thing with the 745. Boo! I’m not in the market for a new watch (currently using the 945) but the new COROS is a very attractive option. Much cheaper and it has a decent running power meter included (ps: I don’t use the Music feature and couldn’t care less about Garmin Pay).

  50. Lee

    Do you know if the FR745 is compatible with the 935 / 945 quick release bike mount thingy? (Great review as always!)

    • Nick S

      Will this swap between power meters automatically when changing bikes in cyclocross during a workout (assuming those power meters are already paired up into the profile).

  51. inSyt

    As always, great review! You should consider start/end sleep time comparisons to these reviews as this is one area that Garmin seems to fall behind the competition.

  52. Zach

    I see lots of chatter about the 645. I’m going to try and distill it down to a simple question that may help, while softpedaling around any embargo issues:

    Ray, as a “forgotten” 645 owner who is ready for an upgrade, would you recommend jumping to the 745 to get access to the newer features, or would you recommend sitting tight for a product that might make me really happy?

    • Brandon Gittelman

      The real question is what features do you think you’re missing?

    • Tim Grose

      Sounds like if you did not think the 945 was worth an upgrade from a 645 then not sure the 745 would be given it seems to have a bit less. As mentioned what are you missing?

    • Zach

      For one thing, the 3rd Gen optical HR sensor. Optical HR on the 645 is trash. The track feature is extremely cool. The Pace Pro that spits out custom splits for a course is extremely cool. Generally speaking, I’m interested in quite a few of the features that have been rolled out for 245/945/Fenix6 (and now 745) that did not roll down to the 645.

      Thing is, the -45 platform is pretty old. I’m surprised to see them double down by releasing a new -45 branded watch. Does that actually push out a refresh for 645? Does It mean that a refresh to a 655 in the near term again be out of step with a medium term refresh of other -55 products, based on the same sensors as in the current 2/7/945 instead of the newest generation hardware platform?

    • Martin Steen Mortensen

      I have similarly considered upgrading my 645, but I think the 945 is too big.
      I can’t decide if I should get a fenix 6S Pro, this 745 or just suffer through until the x55 comes out.

      The altimeter on the 645 is worse than useless and there are so many features that I would love to have (PacePro, wrist HR during swim, Garmin hydration widget, and better training effect stats), and some that might be nice (Proper maps on Fenix 6S pro, body battery)

  53. Brandon Gittelman

    Ray, can you comment on why the 745 battery life is worse than the 245 on paper? I never got anywhere near 24 hours on my 245M, however it is concerning that a newer, better watch is supposedly getting worse.

  54. sean sloan

    not with clever training anymore?love the lava red

  55. Anthony LoSasso

    Question: I’ve been using a 935 for multi-sporting for a while. Would you upgrade to the 745, the 945 or wait until the mythical 955 appears?

  56. Eli

    Might be useful with how Garmin devices can be easily expanded with Connect IQ to share how they differ there. Does an app on the 745 work the same as the 945? CPU speed, memory the app can take up? Wish Garmin would make it so apps on different devices could just work between devices. A data field on the 745 has less then half the memory to work with as it would on the 945 which seems like that could limit developers.
    745:
    “appTypes”: [
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 524288,
    “type”: “audioContentProvider”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 65536,
    “type”: “background”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 65536,
    “type”: “datafield”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 32768,
    “type”: “glance”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 1048576,
    “type”: “watchApp”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 98304,
    “type”: “watchFace”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 524288,
    “type”: “widget”
    }
    945:
    “appTypes”: [
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 524288,
    “type”: “audioContentProvider”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 32768,
    “type”: “background”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 131072,
    “type”: “datafield”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 32768,
    “type”: “glance”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 1310720,
    “type”: “watchApp”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 98304,
    “type”: “watchFace”
    },
    {
    “memoryLimit”: 1048576,
    “type”: “widget”
    }
    ],

    • Eli

      945/fenix5plus/fenix6pro edge 530/830/1030 all have a memory limit of 131072 for a data field. So can basically run the same data fields. 735 is set to 65536

    • Tony

      Excepting how often ConnectIQ and Connect are down. And ignoring the odd, but still impactful, inadvertent banning of entire IP addresses that Garmin then has no idea how to unblock.
      Don’t depend on a device that depends on a cloud that depends on ops people that wear Depends.

  57. Mykola Bartosh

    FR945 doesn’t have on device sleep tracking widget, or is it yet to come?

  58. Tom

    This is selling for an outrageous $850 Australian dollars ($600USD). Given you can almost pick up a Fenix 6S Pro at that price, this is a comparison I am now making mentally as I upgrade.

    I have a really skinny wrist: are you able to compare the lug-to-lug distances of each as that’s basically the differentiator for me.

    I assume the Fenix 6 range gets the track running via firmware soon enough…?

  59. Antonio Moreno

    Thanks for the awesome review, Ray. This watch fits the bill for me in terms of size/weight and features. Can you comment on its Bluetooth range? This was never an issue with my sadly deceased 935, but I’ve now learnt to appreciate It with my current Venu (we all do stupid things sometimes), which has made a living hell of my daily life with its constant connect/disconnect alerts (until it finally gives up and stay disconnected). I need to get rid of this thing to recover my mental sanity, and would even consider paying the hefty price tag of the 745. Is its Bluetooth link to your iPhone on par with that of, say, the 945 or Fenix 6?

  60. gaukler

    What is the second missing feature?
    Quote:
    The only two tiny features in the sports realm from the FR945 that aren’t yet on the FR745 are respiration rate during an activity (that’s breathing rate).

  61. TC

    While the Oreo still doesn’t have GPS (a faux pas for any sports accessory in 2020), it /does/ add GPS (Glucose Provisioning System) to the batter, a feature many athletes have been drooling over for years!

    We’ll be watching if Garmin or Polar can duplicate that feat on top of the cookie-cutter functionality being copied back and forth the last few years.

    At the price point it’s at, the Oreo is a sweet contender for best running gag/gadget of 2020!

    Great review, thanks! 🙂

  62. Nathan B

    Does this broadcast on Bluetooth the same way the 945 does? (I want music, so I’m looking to upgrade my 935 for something with music), but Bluetooth broadcasting would be a bonus.

  63. gingerneil

    That watch face looks awesome… wonder if it will be available on the CIQ store, or in a firmware update to the 945 ??
    As for the overall device… I love my 945, and whilst I like the look of this, I agree the cost will make it a poor choice.

    • greyltc

      I’d love to know this too! The 745 default face looks great. Does garmin ever flow default faces up to higher end models? I think maybe not.

  64. Nathan M.

    So I have a Fenix 6 and Edge 530 combo. In theory with physio true up I should have my cycling training load data factored into my Fenix 6 training load data and perhaps this is at least a temporary way to get accurate workout recommendations? I mostly design my own on TrainingPeaks (I’m an Exercise Physiologist) so I’m really interested in seeing what the software has to say. Regarding my set up, I can already see some issues with both devices. If I get a workout recommendation on my fenix for a cycling workout, will I be able to send it over to my Edge 530? Until the Edge 530 gains support for suggestive workouts I’m afraid it might be a fragmented mess. It already is with physio true up training loads recently.

  65. Nilspecial

    As this turned out to be basically another 945, do you think the 955 will be released before Christmas? Any guesses what will be changed / improved?

    A phoneless emergency call (= LTE?) would be a must buy feature for me, but other than that I can hardly think of any!? More battery? Any new (more accurate?) sensors to be foreseeable? Power on wrist?

    As the altimeter on my 935 is broken, I’m trying to decide if I should jump onto a good 745/945 deal or if I should wait for the 955!?

  66. Steven Knapp

    Do you know the width of the strap? Curious if the various 945/Fenix6 bands can be used.

    Garmin only shows the four 745 straps under accessories for the watch.

  67. Question about Track mode: I always run from home to track (as warm up) and back (as cool down). Is there any option to record in track mode? Will it work properly with this activity profile?

    • Guillermo Guerini

      I have the same question. Ray, can you please clarify that?

    • Peter

      Maybe you could switch sports by holding the up button. This is possible on the 945 at least.

    • I found the answer in this article:

      “But, don’t start the GPS activity until you get to the track”

      so:
      1) we will have to split the training into 3 activities (WU, Track WOD, CD)
      2) create multisport activity (as Peter suggests) with 3 items (again: WU as Run, Track WOD as Track Run, CD as Run)

      I don’t know which approach is better in terms of the correctness of calculating Garmin’s statistics.

    • The ‘correct’ recommendation is for the best results to start at the track.

      However, hang tight on this one, I suspect we’ll see some specific changes here soon around this. There’s some testing going on to get to the state that you and I normally do, which is run from home/office to track as warm-up, then do track workout, etc…

      It sounds like this should work, but there may be a few nuances to the advice/recommendations coming there (like, don’t do loop-de-loops on the way to the track). Hang tight!

    • I hope so. I am very much in favor of saving all training as one activity.

      Thanks for the clarification! 🙂

      And one more question: currently on track I created laps manually (for example: if I run 200 m I click LAP on start and when I reach the proper mark on the track I click LAP again to accurately catch the time of the interval (I never worried about the interval distance indicated by the watch because I had the right distance marked on track – for me the most important part is catch the most accurate time of interval) – will this way of use not cause any problems in track mode?

  68. Mario

    Ok, the Forerunner 745 doesn’t have the new Sony High-Precision dual frequency gnss chip CXD5610GF with a Power Consumption of 9 mW, it was to early, probably the next Forerunner 9XX.

    • Eli

      I have a feeling it will be awhile till Garmin can design a watch to use the new chipset as it seems like its not just a drop in replacement. Was kind of hoping the 955 comes out before then though would love the new gps

  69. zyga

    Thank to Amazon sell I just bought 735 for 159 – it shall be enough.
    I am only missing barometer and (maybe) music. The later I can manage with Sansa BT mp3 player (while running) or a phone (while biking).

  70. EC

    I hope they adjust price, but I doubt it.
    I woke up this morning ready to spend $800 on 2 of these for the wife and I. But $1,000 is a bit different, ESP since you can get the 945 for $520 right now.

  71. Allan

    Well I was holding out for Garmin’s typical Black Friday sale in November, but this really mucks up the works. The 935 came out in Spring 2017, the 945 in Spring 2019. On this cadence we’d be due for a 955 next Spring, which might’ve meant a nice $100 off the 945 in November.

    But Garmin doesn’t typically discount the new stuff, so a Black Friday sale on the 945 prices it the same as the brand new 745. That’s probably not gonna happen.

    And neither the 945 nor the 745 appear to have the advanced battery management stuff that’s in the Fenix 6 and Instinct Solar.

    What to do… what to do…

  72. MikeDozer

    FR945 dosesn’t have on-wrist sleep widget yet.

  73. Jim

    I went over most of the article but I’m confused. It all seems the same as my Forerunner 245. What are the differences?

  74. Fabio

    Is this limited to two Connect IQ datafields like all the others watches? I think that the 735XT supported three for some reason.

  75. Great review as always, thank you. Forgot to copy the “T” for the beginning of GPS accuracy ;-P

  76. DT

    Great review. Would we see a New Fenix this year? (ie 7)

  77. Ricardo Freitas

    When you do the HRM-PRO review, Can you show how does work the HRV test? I never found a screen showing how it is! When will you release the HRM-PRO review. I’m very anxious with it. More then fr745 and go pro 9….

  78. Chad M Vacarella

    I’ve had the 945 and been very disappointed with the GPS accuracy. It has me running through buildings, on the other side of four-lane highways, etc. Do you know if the GPS technology in this watch is the same in the 945 or if the 945 will receive an update on that front (assuming that’s possible). If not, any idea when you expect a 955? I’d consider this watch if it had the ability to play music, as that’s the only reason I’m still using the 945. Thanks

  79. Jon

    That is what I call “the brand leader being greedy”. Coros came in with a watch that will work for 98% of people, has almost equal accuracy, great battery life and just enough features for almost everyone (save for you tri folks) and priced it absolutely right. Meanwhile Garmin is like “Well, we are Garmin. We are the best. People will use buy us because it’s what they are familiar with. Who cares if it our watch costs $300 more”.

  80. dauphin64

    Hi

    you said “FR945 has the Temperature, Compass, Dog Track, Alternate Time Zones, and XERO Bowsight Widgets, the FR745 doesn’t”

    but the garmin website says :
    Compas
    Gyroscope
    Accéléromètre
    Thermomètre
    Oxymètre de pouls pour l’acclimatation

    who’s right about the thermometer ?

  81. Wouter

    I’ve been waiting for track mode. However, as I understand it’s a separate activity now, right? As there’s always a warmup and cooldown (for most not on the track) in interval training, its a major downside of the feature if we cannot ‘activate’ track mode during the run. Or even better, after it learned the track it should be detected automatically during the workout. I REALLY dont want to pollute my strava/spam my strava buddies with 3 activities (warmup, track and cooldown) rather than 1.
    I dont think I will be the only one missing (automatic) switching to track mode during an activity.

  82. Brandon

    Great review as always. Quick question though. You mentioned the 745 taking into account sleep and recovery for recovery time along with your workout data. Do the other forerunner watches do that or will they be doing that to your knowledge?

  83. John

    Great review, as ever. Acquisition? “…the Garmin FORM Swimming Goggles”

  84. Dennis

    I have an Fenix 3, the garmin foot pod, HR tri strap. Can I use the foot pod and HR strap with Coros Pace 2? Thanks.

  85. John Greene

    Great review DC.
    Quick question. Is the screen on the 745 the same screen as the 735. Is there an upgrade in resolution? Maybe it’s me, but the screen on my 945 appears to be sharper and slightly more vivid than either of the two watches!

  86. Hunter Marshall

    Can you adjust the brightness like you can on the 945/F6?

  87. S

    “In general, people tend to either love or hate Garmin’s smartphone app. I find that it has by FAR more information than any other app out there, so I kinda like it“

    I agree. Like any app it has its quirks, but overall it’s a good interface and offers a lot of information. Too bad there isn’t an iPad optimized version.

  88. Bruce

    I have not read your review and comments in detail yet so my apologies if my question is in the review. Have you done or do you know if there is a comparison between the 745 and the 935? There are some very good prices out there for the 935 and I am wondering if the 745 is worth the extra price. Thank you. Keep up the good work.
    Regards,

    • Bob

      I don’t think it is unless you need PulseOX.

      I also think 735XT around 160 is a much better buy unless you want to get a Coros Pace 2 which seems to be a great deal

    • John Kissane

      Never mind the 935, I’ve seen the 945 available for less than the cost of the 745 🙂 Price on Garmin’s German site is €487 while I found the 945 for €479!

  89. farhan

    Hi, great review,

    Can stryd pair with this model?

  90. jimmy

    Is there an option to completely turn off the bluetooth function? Like the 735XT does. (not only turn off the bluetooth smartphone connection).

  91. Pulver

    Im really interested in knowing if this watch uses bluetooth v4 or v5

  92. Daniel M.

    Ray, thanks for the great review. I have two questions concerning the watch

    1) has the calculation of Training load when doing a multi sport activity been fixed? There was this bug on the 945 where it counts multiple times, al,ost as if taking the single activities and the whole multisport again.
    2) when importing a course via Garmin connect is the altitude data correct? This problem was discussed below the strava/Komoot post and for me on the 945 it still is a problem. The altitude data is multiplied and climb pro and pace pro become
    More or less useless due to this very wrong data.
    Thanks, Daniel

  93. TriGuy

    Hello Ray. Thanks for the revie once again. Regarding the Track mode, for instance 10x400m with 1’30” recovery, what if the recovery is done by walking clockwise 40m then back to the start line. How will it be read. Indeed in your workout example, you kept on going counterclockwise for distances multiple of 100.

    • Funny, I actually asked exactly that. They say it should work just fine. They’ll snap you to the track for that 40m and correctly account for it.

      They said where it’s a bit fuzzier is if if you basically just loiter at the start line or maybe into the infield a bit with almost no distance, then you’ll get…almost no distance, but the line will stay on the track.

      At present for Garmin track mode, there’s no ‘snapping’ to 100’s, etc… in terms of distance (whereas for COROS it does that to a degree).

      I haven’t tried it yet though.

  94. I am trying to predict 955’s price.

    Official Garmin’s store prices:
    935: 449,99 EUR
    745: 499,99 EUR
    945: 599,99 EUR

    and my observations:
    1) We don’t know the exact release date of the 955 but I assume that we can expect it will happen this year.
    2) The release of a new product was always associated with lower prices of its older versions.
    3) 745 is the modest version of 945, so I guess I can assume the 745 will always be cheaper than the 945.
    4) I don’t expect the 745 will be cheaper a few weeks / months after its premiere
    5) if the 745 is not cheaper, the 945 is still more expensive than the 745, so we can expect that the price of 945 will not be lower or it will be slightly lower than the current price.
    6) The current difference between the prices of 935 and 945 is 150 EUR. Can we expect that difference between the prices of 945 and 955 will be similar?

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Sorry for my bluntness, but regarding the price scheme, you are just stating the obvious: usually, the higher the model number, the higher the price. Example: FR45 is more expensive than FR35, FR235 is more expensive than FR45, etc. But the reason why the old 935 and the new 745 share the same price is because one model is 3.5 years old and the other is brand new. When Garmin releases the 955, the 945 will probably become the $499 version and the 935 will disappear (or go even cheaper for a while until the stock is gone).

      What happened with the 945 and now with the 745 is Garmin decided to increase their price from the previous model. But that doesn’t mean they will keep increasing the price every year. There’s a ceiling and I’m sure we are getting there. Look at this thread and on Redit.. people are not happy with the price increase. I was already pissed when they increased the 9xx line to $599 from $499 last year. If the 955 goes up to $649 or $699 I’m out. For $600 you can buy a brand new Apple Watch + COROS Pace 2.

      Now, regarding the release date of the 955, why do you expect it’s going to be released this year? If anything, the 9xx line has been released in the spring every 2 years. We are only 1.5 years into the 945 line, so I don’t think it’s guaranteed the 955 will be released this year. It’s already mid-September, so it doesn’t make sense to release a new watch later than this when the north hemisphere (largest user base?) is going towards winter. Again, I could be totally wrong here.

      Going back to the price point: I see a lot of people complaining rightfully about the price. The best thing you can do is: answer with your wallet and just don’t buy it. The reason why Garmin keeps increasing the price is because people are still buying their expensive watches.

    • I don’t say that I’m right. I’m just trying to summarize my assumptions (which could be wrong ofc). I was just trying to say that we can expect the price will be much bigger than 945 in its release date and 945 after 955 release will not get smaller significantly. But, as I said, I could have wrong assumptions. I don’t insist that I’m right, I’m just thinking aloud. 🙂
      I checked release dates of 935 and 945 and I agree with you, that 955 would be released in Q1/Q2 2021.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      Neither do I! 🙂 We are probably both right and wrong on different things. Another problem with a price increase for the future 955 is, it will push the entire Fenix line up as well. And what could justify that? I don’t know. Maybe LTE? But Ray made good comments regarding that. I know technology is always evolving but I don’t see any breakthrough feature that would justify another price increase. If they add LTE, maybe they offer two models? 955 for $599 and 955 LTE for $649/$699? Shrug.

  95. Torkil

    Is the bezel higher compared to 935/945?
    I have terrible experience with the durability of the screen on our 935s, the screen cracks and chips very easily, and the epoxy on the sensors also seem to crack very easily, even though they are not exposed in the same way as the screen. It’s really my main gripe against the newer Forerunners. The 920 was the lat solid edition.

    Would be nice if you touched more build quality and durability in the reviews. I’m wondering if I have to shell out for a Fenix, or if it’s time to part with Garmin…

  96. René

    In the article it is stated in the beginning that the FR245 will also get the Daily Suggested Workout, but later on it is indicated that the FR245 will not get this feature. Which of the two is true?

  97. Steven Belis

    Hi,

    Thanks for the review!
    Is it possible to broadcast the heart rate to a Wahoo Bolt?
    So you don’t have to wear a strap while cycling.

    Thanks

  98. Abigail

    Wow, that price tag is a real show stopper.

    My VA3 lives on, although the battery seems to have reached end of life somewhat and I was hoping to pick up the 745 as a replacement but not at that price! I was using an Amazfit for triathlons which was ok, but the third part app integration is dreadful.

    The team over at Coros must be cheering with this launch as the Pace 2 seems better that Garmin’s offering IMO. I also managed to source the Pace 2 for £162 online, so long Garmin, it’s been expensive knowing you.

    I was hoping the Apple watch 6 would be untethered from iPhone and have a decent battery life but alas no.

  99. Grant Guerin

    Would you take the Solar Surf over the 745?

  100. Matthew B.

    Ray – any idea on why significantly decreased battery life compared with the 245? (245 up to 24 hours, 745 up to 16). I can’t imagine the addition of an altimeter causes that much of a drop.. and the 245 weighs so much less.

    • It’s a good question, I’ll ask on the next volley.

    • Matthew B.

      Thanks. It strikes me as purposeful to differentiate from the 945.. but it seems odd all around.

    • Matthew B.

      Ray, any word back from them about this? It just seems so odd, unless there was some big change in hardware that wasn’t apparent at first.

    • Dan G

      Got to be honest, I’ve never seen Ray actually a follow-up a “I’ll ask so-and-so about that” or “I’ll update the review when I have more info”.

    • Matthew B.

      He has many times in the past for me (and a few times not). I honestly can’t even imagine having hundreds or thousands of people ask super random, specific questions and have to track responding to them. You’d almost need a CRM to manage it all.

  101. Mandla

    Hi Ray,

    How is the Daily Workout Suggestion different from Polar Fit Spark ?
    If they are any different which once takes into account what training and training load have you accumulated so far for the day in order to suggest the most appropriate workout/recovery for You.

    Thank You,
    Munz

    • For Polar, the Fit Spark suggestions are all based on HR, whereas Garmin is pace (running), and power (cycling). Structure-wise they aren’t very different at a high level, and are all roughly targeting various zones behind the scenes.

      With the new recovery score bits, Garmin is accounting for both daily activity and workout activity, whereas I don’t believe Fitspark accounts for daily activity, just workout – but I’d have to check there.

      Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Fit Spark tell you to take a rest day, whereas Garmin has said that to me with these ones.

    • Torbjørn Høstmark Borge

      Great summed up.
      I talked to Polar about this, and FitSpark don’t take daily activity into account.
      But is the there an updated recovery functions in FR745? Different from FR945 and F6?

    • Mandla

      Thanks Ray,

      Bless The Day Polar tells you to take a rest day.

      Enjoy The Oreos

  102. SwindonJogger

    You can get the 945 for £449, same price Wiggle are asking for this watch. A no brainer.

  103. Paris Prasinos

    Hello

    if you are a multisport guy, (running and cycling) how the suggested workout is managing this?
    if yesterday i was running and today i’m planning to ride is it adapting?

    thanks Ray

    • It adapts more on overall load than pure sport basis. So it gives you both a run and bike workout you can do, but doing one impacts the other (as it should, to some degree anyway).

      Realistically the challenge is that it doesn’t know your training goal. So it’s basically trying to keep you ever-productive, but doesn’t really know when to push ‘hard’ if you will and give you more work (stimulus) to get past this training block.

      Said differently, it’s great for 2020 when there are no races, no plans, or anything else besides not falling off the wagon. It’s non-ideal if you’ve got a specific race in mind.

  104. Chris

    Will this integrate better with Live Segments than the 735? My 735 is only syncing 16 segments, and I have more starred. Not sure what the problem is there.

    • Kevin

      Might be worth checking if Garmin Connect has reverted to using Garmin Segments, rather than Strava. This happened to my wife’s set-up. Confused me for a while too!

      On the Android App it’s here:
      Training -> Segments -> Three dots in upper-right corner.

  105. Randolph Scott

    Ray I appreciate you taping an Oreo cookie to your wrist for size comparisons. But to help further, could you please also post a photo of a Chips Ahoy taped to your wrist.

    Randolph

    • Sadly, I don’t believe there are Chips Ahoy here in the Netherlands. However, I could do a Stroopwaffle.

    • markus

      – Changed recovery time advisor to account for Stress/Sleep/Daily Activity

      How exactly does this work ? Did not find it in your review. Would be awesome if you could explain a bit more about this feature ?
      Is it dynamically adjusting ? Lets say i run in the evening and it gives me some 40 hours recovery – will it adjust afterwards based on my following behaviour ?
      If i get out all night and drink – will it show the same amount 40 hours or even more the next morning ?

      Is this how it works or am i wrong here ?

    • Randolph Scott

      Maybe a double stuff for comparing thickness?

      Cheers,
      Randolph

  106. Zsolt Rösler

    Hey, l’d like to switch from Suunto probably to FR745. Does it have duathlon mode? I haven’t found it in description. Thx.

    • Andy

      For the 735 there are apps in the Connect IQ store to create other multi-sport sequences including transition times for workouts or races. It works well. So that should be the case here.

    • Tomasz

      Actually, you don’t need to involve apps from the store to do duathlon. Both the 735 and 745 have native support for multisport activities.

  107. Torbjørn Høstmark Borge

    There was some rumours that FR745 used a new Sony GPS-chip. Do you know anything about this? Garmin couldn’t confirm it either.

    And I’m not talking about the chipset that is used in all the newer Garmins and other watches.

    • I haven’t heard. I’ll poke around.

    • Torbjørn Høstmark Borge

      Thanks. I guess they must have been to late to use it. Next gen probably…

    • it won’t be the chip launched in Aug which offers new methods of accuracy. manufacturers ARE going to use that (not heard about Garmin but others are)

      there are 3 (6 if UDR included) versions of what we all refer to as ‘the Sony chip’. Ostensibly they are highly similar but i guess it’s possible that hardware bugs have been fixed in each of the iterations over and above firmware fixes at a chip or device level.

  108. Paul Kennedy

    Ray, great review as always. Do you think there is any possibility of the golf functionality coming to the 745? I have a 735XT and would love to upgrade but the lack of golf functionality is disappointing.

    • No, I doubt it honestly. When I talked at some point last year about some of the more advanced golf features going from Fenix 6 to FR945, they basically said there just wasn’t much crossover there in the customer segments they saw. So I’d imagine that’s even less with FR745.

  109. Laszlo Szabo

    Hi All!
    Love this site and love the discussions. I fence, and currently use the Whoop strap. Least worst option for tracking fencing, but I want to leave. Anyone know any other devices that track fencing as an activity?

    Thanks all!!!
    Laszlo

  110. 945 User

    Does the 745 have the altitude widget pre-installed like the 945? I like my 945 and have kept it mainly because of I use it for hiking and other sports. I like being able to scroll down and see my altitude depending on where I am.

  111. Markus Fehr

    The street price of fenix 6 is about at the starting price of the 745. So I wonder if it’s not even better to replace my 735xt with the fenix 6 instead of 745.
    You used to have feature by feature comparison by product. Do you still maintain these charts? I would be interested to see the 745 against 945 and Fenix 6.

  112. JT

    Is this the most negative batch of comments for a Garmin (watch or anything for that matter) review or is it just me? Seems like no one is happy with the mix of features/price and there’s no real reason to buy this specific watch.

    Poor battery life, no killer app for this “mid range” 745 and basically the same price as the next step up, 945. Am I missing something?

    Hopefully Garmin wakes up a bit here.

    • GLT

      Dissatisfaction among FR645 users & enthusiasts had been building up the reader comments for a while. Likely many loyalists were wondering exactly what new ground could be covered in the FR mid-range.

      The timing of the Coros announcement did to the FR745 what the Edge 530 announcement did to the Wahoo ELEMENT ROAM.

      Some of the pricing distortion is non-Garmin sellers discounting of the FR945. I’m mainly agreed with you, but on the other hand US$100 is worth saving if a buyer doesn’t care about navigation.

    • GLT

      There may be Garmin watch products in the pipeline that are targeting what are felt to be more cost-conscious buyers, so it is possible the introductory FR745 price was influenced by that. I’d like to think there was some manufacturing updates & optimizations we’ll eventually see in other FR products someday too. Holiday discounts aren’t far off either. Pure speculation all around.

      Companies pricing things based on model number or product size eventually do get painted into a corner. Especially with tech-based products, the latest release often has the best technology and therefore should be more valuable to buyers–assuming the new tech is correctly implemented. In the case of the Edge line the form factor generally lines up with the price, but there may very well be buyers that would pay close to E1030 prices for an E130 with similar features purely because they want the smallest unit possible on their bars.

      The bit that seems most inconsistent is the FR745 battery life.

    • John Kissane

      In Europe at least, it’s possible to get the 945 for less than the 745, admittedly I’m using the 745 list price from the Garmin website. I can’t see why someone would favour the 745 in that case. As the owner of an aging 645 I was interested in the 745 as a possible replacement but not at that price.

    • “n Europe at least, it’s possible to get the 945 for less than the 745”

      And that’s the thing, it’s not in the US (due to pricing MAP). And realistically, as soon as supply catches up to demand, in Europe, then we’ll see the exact same undercutting of pricing on the FR745 prices, thus, likely keeping that $100/$100 price difference.

      In other words, comparing non-MAP European prices on launch week isn’t something that’ll hold water more than the demand/supply shortage equation duration takes to solve.

    • John Kissane

      Thanks for clarifying Ray. Perhaps I’m missing some nuance but I can’t see why currently in Europe one would buy this device over a 945? Perhaps once the price drop then it will make sense. That’s what I’m mulling over a possible replacement for my 645 although most of the features would be lost on me.

    • I agree for the moment. But ultimately, it’ll get into stock it’ll be discounted too, and all will be right in the world again. I mean, I still think it’s too expensive as I said in my summary…but people will still buy it.

      It’s sorta hard to blame Garmin for other retailers discounting one watch but not yet the other.

    • (via InSyt)
      Definitely inconsistent:

      945
      Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks
      GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours
      GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours

      745
      Smartwatch mode: Up to 7 days
      GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
      GPS mode without music: Up to 16 hours

      245
      Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days
      GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
      GPS mode without music: Up to 24 hours

      specs on garmin.com were wrong at launch and dealers were sent incorrect specs.
      eg garmin.com said mineral glass and changed it to Gorilla

  113. David

    Is it really compatible with InReach? The Garmin web site does not list it (in either direction, on the 745 page or the InReach Mini page).

  114. Marc Mouries

    I was leaning toward Garmin but at $500 the Apple Watch 6 at $400 is appealing.
    What would I be missing with the Apple Watch when my goal is to improve time on half-marathons and overall fitness?

  115. Yanick

    Hi Ray,

    Thank for the review.

    I jave a 935 with small craks on ohrm. Il am looking to change watch since getting scared of wearing underwear. Do you know if the 945 and 745 have or could have this issue ?

    I guest that a new 945 would get the same gps performance as the 745? I remember the 945 had a horrible open water tracking at fitst? Can it be hardware related?

    Note: I have look at all the answers in this post and did not found details on those.
    Thanks you

  116. Anon

    For me, tracking HR while swimming is of utmost importance. As you have aptly mentioned, really the closest to accuracy is with a Garmin HRM-swim since it is designed to stay put. Sadly the new pro strap still has a wayward proclivity.

    So the ability to glimpse the closest to accurate HR while swimming, lifting out on the wall doing interval sets and then being able to save the whole thing to the watch afterwards is essential for me (also in the FR945, etc., but at yet a higher price, or a lower price in the Swim 2, but bereft of many features).

    [I had considered a Polar OH1/ Unite combo which would be considerably cheaper, but I don’t know how comfy something stuck on my goggles under my cap would be, especially lifting my goggles to my forehead between sets.)

    Thanks for the great review. BTW where do you find the “like” button that you mention, I never can find it.

    Also, gotta say you’re pretty fit, chatting away at a 7 min/mile pace in the Apple 6 vid, and then picking it up to a 5+ pace!

    Best regards

  117. André

    Hi Ray,

    Thanks for the great review on the 745! It’s always a pleasure to read.

    I still run with a 735xt for several years now (235 prior to that) and the great GPS accuracy of the 735xt (100% straight lines along the streets, always on the right side, clean 90° corners, etc.) completely keeps me from upgrading to any of the newer Garmin watches. I would love to switch to a more “office compatible” watch with all those new features like training load, etc. and already tried the Fenix 5, 5 Plus and 6. I really have no issues with spending 600 to 800 Euros on a new watch but then looking at a GPS accuracy far worse than what I’m used to from a now 200 EUR watch? Hell no! 🙂

    But honestly. Is there any chance we will see real progress here bringing the GPS accuracy back to where it already used be a few years ago? I really don’t care charging my watch more often. So I don’t want to achieve longer battery live with less accuracy. I just want to keep the 100% clean GPS tracks I currently have and not the the wobbling ones I see on Strava from friends running a Fenix 6 or similar…

  118. Lee

    Thanks for this review Ray

    One thing that makes this hard to justify for me isn’t the price (£450) but the fact that when you look at the features with the price it doesn’t make sense to me why this watch comes 18 months later than the 245/945. Saving £100 over the 945 in place of maps and battery life would seem ok – but the 18 months makes it a rough deal to me. Those other two watches can be had for below rrp now.

    When I compared a 245 with a similarly priced 735 a year ago there was a comparison to be made, one was from a newer family with improved sensors while the other had extra sports. Right now in the UK the 945 can be had for £450 – same as the 745. Am I correct in thinking that unlike the watches I just mentioned the only thing the 745 has over the 945 would be the smaller size?

  119. Specialized75

    Phew! I was getting confused, but then the Oreo made it all make sense. Thanks for bringing back the Oreo std.

  120. Pavel

    Does it have bouldering app available? My FR645 just broke today, so I am looking for replacement 😢

  121. Wes

    Unfortunately they did not update the optical HR sensor. If only garmin could get the accuracy op to the level of the Apple watch…it would make the perfect (sports) watch.

    Would you expect a new elevate v4 sensor in for example the forerunner 955?

  122. Mike N

    I’ve had the 735XT for a long time and love it because it did outdoor swims and running and was cheap. Was waiting for a replacement as mine is getting a bit weird. But with this price I’m turned off. Although it will likely change the 735XT is more expensive than the 945 in Sweden right now. I was hoping for something similarly priced as the 735XT.

  123. D

    One pet peeve about all current FR watches (not sure about Fenix but I expect it’s the same) is that app notifications are an all on/off affair. I don’t want every single app to notify me on my watch, but I find some useful and would love to enable just those. There is one small trick for this, at least on iOS, in only turning on Text (SMS) notifications. This is in essence what I would like to see, a way to pick what apps (=services) can notify me on my watch (and all Garmin products, like my Edge 530). It boggles the mind such a simple feature is being overlooked.

    • Lee

      Not sure about iOS, but the Garmin Connect Android app allows you to specify which phone app notifications are pushed to your Garmin devices.

    • CD

      Unfortunately, you’re right that granular configuration of notifications is only available on Android, not iOS. On iOS, if you want to turn a specific app’s notifications off on the watch, you also have to turn them off for the phone.

    • runner-33

      It‘s not available for Garmin Connect on iOS. Withings does it, and it’s working like a charm.

  124. Justin

    I guess a fair question would be, FR745 or Polar Grit X? Which would you choose between the two of them Ray?

  125. Chris Coll

    I have had to get a pacemaker fitted because of a cardio block risk. This means a chest belt HRM gets totally confused as to what my heart rate is and can’t be used. I have tried many different chest belts to no avail.Consequently, the optical monitors are my best option. The Garmin Swim2 and Polar OH1 are currently what work well. I am very keen on pairing a 745 with my Form swimming goggles for open water swimming and observed your testing with great interest. Thanks for your review. Regards, Chris

  126. Dan G

    Just realised that the Fenix 6/945/745/245 all have the same optical HR sensor, while the 645 has a different (older) one. I’m willing to bet all four of the first watches run the same OS, with different features enabled. The 645 likely has a different codebase to accommodate the different OHR sensor, and that’s why it doesn’t get updated.

    Ray, I’d love to see a much more extensive review of the suggested workouts feature, such as using it and following it over several weeks, and telling us what it says and the impact it has on Training Load and Training Effect. Would it get all the “pills” lined up?

  127. SJ

    I just discovered that the 745 DOES have up to 24hr gps like the 245/6s (with similar settings), they are just being more conservative with the estimate in the marketing this time…

    link to support.garmin.com

    This changes everything from an IM/HIM perspective.

    • Matthew B.

      Wowza. As far as I can tell, there aren’t similar articles for 245/945/6 series. I bet they decided to “undersell” the battery life to differentiate it more from the 945, but now realize how weird it was to do so.. hence this article to explain the difference. Bonkers. At least it makes more sense now.

    • Eoinw

      So how realistic are these battery life specs? I need a new multisport watch. This one ticks all the boxes, however I am hoping to take on some events that could last 16 hours but not much longer than that.

  128. Audun

    Haha, this is funny…in Norway, the 745 is priced at 5999 NOK, and the 945 costs 5295! And in the same sporting goods store (XXL)! Wonder how many they can sucker into buying the 745 because “it’s better because it’s the new model!”

    Talk about overpriced! (5999 NOK is about $675)

    I’m not sure if I can resist going in there tomorrow to ask them about it! 😀 😀 😀

  129. FitGearHunter

    Important question: did I hear that Garmin is updating recovery time to incorporate stress/sleep/body battery, in addition to the workout impact?

    • Correct. I just got a bunch of details on how it works under the cover. Going to collect it all together and post something about it.

    • FitGearHunter

      Awe-some. That would be really big, and so far ahead of the others, other than Whoop which apparently you are still wearing for some reason haha. And 945 got 5.0 but apparently no sleep widget?! Would love any thoughts there too.

    • Chuck Hazzard

      It is interesting that the new Recovery Advisor is being pushed out to the Forerunner 245.

  130. SPR

    Re Track Mode, the beta update is now available for the 245. I presume for calibration you just need to run the last rather than actually press lap at any point?

    • Correct, pressing the lap button has no impact on the track detection algorithm.

    • SPR

      Thanks. My other presumption is that changing the lane number is only for track detection, not every time you go on the track? So I can do my calibration in lane 8 (so I don’t get in the way of those in the middle of a workout) and then workout in lane 1?

    • Inverse is my understanding. Meaning, you can do track detection on any lane (as long as you tell it the lane you’re in). But if you came back 5 days later and ran in a different lane on that track, as long as you told the watch what lane you’re in, you’re good to go.

    • SPR

      That makes sense and works well. Thanks.

    • SPR

      Tested this evening. Had an odd thing where the first rep (straight into a fast rep) was measured at 0 distance and the recovery was obviously not the right distance. After that, it measured between 293m and 306m for what should be about 300m. Definitely within the margin of error button press timing and moving starts.

      Would be nice if you could use a previous activity to calibrate somehow as in a track race, I’m not sure you’d be allowed to run through the start/ finish line to do calibration.

    • Thomas

      I was also a little bit puzzled by the question “what does it do with the number of the lane?”
      Will it automatically offset? Will it use runs on different lanes on the same track for improve calibration (especially for calibrating that offset)?
      Or will it just use the lane setting to avoid mixing up a run on lane 1 with a run on lane 5 (since it’s the same track, it would be put the track somewhere in the middle, overstating the distance on one run and undercutting it on the other one)?

    • SPR

      Each lane has a precise distance. My guess in the watch has a map of GPS points for each lane. If you tell it you’re in lane 1 and it picks up a lane 2 GPS point, it maps that to a lane 1 GPS point rather than taking the actual GPS pint it picks up. All guesses here though but would explain the every pretty map you get when you do multiple laps in the same lane even if you move about slightly.

    • Correct. It’s basically using the known lane to be able to figure out other lanes. So when you go off and do your calibration loops, it figures out the size of the track by itself and a bunch of fancy math (there’s no dependency on a magical track database or such).

      By knowing the lane number, it can then mentally adjust and go ‘Oh, that was 415m, so, the person says I was in Lane 3, thus, I know this is a 400m track and here’s the other lane distances/placements down the road’.

      I’m looking forward to seeing how things go over the next few days for the broader population with the beta out now. Garmin was open that they expect to find cases they didn’t expect. My first attempt on my local track back in August broke the algorithm (in beta). Albeit, not in a way they’d expected it to break.

      They said part of the challenge with the feature has simply been that so many tracks are locked due to COVID (and have been since March). So their ability to get as big a sample size of tracks to test the algorithm on has been more limited than other years.

      I’m working on a super detailed post on Track Mode, but I think there’s value in looking at the feedback over the next few days to see if people pick up on quirks/nuances that I (or Garmin) hadn’t considered that are worthy of inclusion.

    • SPR

      Thanks DC. Would be interesting to find out if my no distance first rep and subsequent short first recovery off a fast start is a one-off error or something that happens often. Should be trying it at the same track next Tuesday and will report back. Will also be using it in a race on Sunday week, just got to work out how to calibrate it before the race 🤔

    • SPR

      Just had a thought that in theory Garmin could have people contribute to a track library meaning that calibration would eventually only be needed for a brand new or very obscure track. I presume if someone added the file from my watch in the track folder they’d be pre-calibrated for the track I was on?

    • SPR

      Second session today and I got the distance dropout in the middle of the session this time. I did cut the bend on the way back to the line to start the rep (600s) but you’d expect the watch to cope with that. Session was 4 x 600s followed by 4 x 150 (one was aborted). Probably worth me logging this on the Garmin beta thread now I think.

    • SPR

      I did a 1500m race today but missed my chance to calibrate as I got there later than planned. Was very surprised to see the my 245 measure the race at 1498 without calibration. Maps still look wonky but seems for distance, calibration isn’t needed for lane 1?

    • It’s essentially going to calibrate across the first 1-2 laps, so you’ll see that slight wonk in maps for that one, but it’s still doing its thing in the background. By default it assumes you’re in lane 1.

    • SPR

      Well I’m impressed it got the distance pretty bang on (rounding would fix as you said in your review). Can see the map improves after 800m and there’s only one point on the bend leading into the home straight where it looks to be outside lane 1, possible because I was never in lane 1 at that point in my two laps.

      Would be interesting if they have anything in the works for auto lane detection as 800m races are the one distance where fixed lanes wouldn’t normally work.

  131. foriam

    I am a little confused by “.. with each successive review of both Garmin and non-Garmin watches on the Sony chipset, the accuracy continues to improve..”. So the GPS accuracy on the 745 is better than on the 945? Or has it improved on the 945 with firmware updates? I’d be very interested in a 745 / 945 comparison with the newest firmware 5.09 Beta.. I do not understand if it is a pure (garmin) software issue or if the Sony chip has been improved?

    • Sorry for the confusion. No, I’m basically saying if we look at my reviews as snapshots of accuracy in time, then we see that when Suunto first started using the chipset in June 2018, it wasn’t terribly awesome. Then Polar in Sept 2018, also not terribly awesome but slowly improving. Then Coros in early 2019 and getting better, then Garmin in Apr 2019 and almost to ‘Meh, ok’ status, and so on. In almost every case we’ve seen the accuracy of those watches over time improve with firmware updates.

      I think now basically two years on, we’re at the point where by and large accuracy is pretty solid. For fun I ran with a FR735XT the other day, and it’s clear the accuracy isn’t as good on that as these new watches. It’s funny how our mind skews to assuming Sony is bad, and everything else old is better.

      But yes, to your question specifically, the FR945 and FR745 are equal from everything I see accuracy-wise. I don’t know if they’re running the same exact *precise* chipset variant, but they’re basically in the same family is my guess. And the firmware on that across the board for that entire family gets constant updates.

    • Guillermo Guerini

      GPS accuracy (or lack of) on the 945 was one my biggest complaints. But it did improve drastically. Anecdotally I compared my usual loop between activities done in the Spring of 2019 and activities done in September 2020 and it’s night and day. As Ray said, Garmin is likely using the same chipset (like most 2019/2020 watches) but now running a much improved algorithm/firmware.

    • Bruce Overbay

      What about the accuracy of the 935; both GPS and optical HR? I ask because I just ordered a refurbished 935. The price of either the 745 or the 945 was just a little too rich for my blood and what I want this kind of watch for. BTW, I also purchased the HRM-Run HR strap.

    • I think optical HR has improved from the FR935 over time for sure (different generation sensors). For GPS accuracy, I think it’s likely a wash these days between a FR935 and FR945 for non-water activities. For openwater swimming the FR945 is an easy winner.

  132. Thomas

    Ray, one question regarding open water swimming accuracy:
    Since you are wearing one watch on the left and one on the right wrist: Are you breathing wo one side or alternately?
    I am (due to limited flexibility in the neck / shoulder area to one side) always breathing to the right side, but are wearing the watch on the left wrist (just because i am used to it). And I guess that is definetely not optimal, since I am pretty sure that the “time above sealevel” is shorter on that side.
    You ever compared that by using the same watch on both wrists? Or by redoing an exercise with the watches swapped? Something like that?

    • I bilaterally breath, but based more on situation than anything else. So sometimes I’ll breath left if I’m following a shortline, and then sometimes right. And then sometimes switch if I’m watching for boats or what-not.

      There’s no difference that I’ve seen accuracy-wise associated with which side you breath in relation to the watch.

      I typically don’t wear two watches on the same wrist, since that impacts accuracy.

  133. Nils

    Great review, as always. I just got the 645 Music but after reading about all the problems I am seriously thinking about returning it for a 745. I need an accurate (optical HR, GPS) for serious running. Is the difference big between 645 and 745 in GPS/HR accuracy? Can I conclude that 400 track Function will not come to 645? Should I keep the 645 or get the 745 instead? Thank you.

  134. Wouter

    When the Edge 530 was introduced at $299, I believed this to be reasonable (and I upgraded my old 520). There will be no chance that I will replace my 735XT for the 745 with this offering (at $499).

    This brings me to my question, what makes that Garmin can raise the prices of their watches in the rate they are doing? And is there a fundamental difference between the world of watches and bike computers?

    • “This brings me to my question, what makes that Garmin can raise the prices of their watches in the rate they are doing?”

      Ultimately, it’s that people buy them in quantities great enough it justifies that price. Now, whether or not they works for the FR745, time will tell. They tried it last year with the Vivoactive 4/Venu, and it very clearly didn’t work (since the price dropped quickly). While COROS is making a solid option in the Pace 2, the reality is that it’s still hard to find, and from a company that’s not well known.

      “And is there a fundamental difference between the world of watches and bike computers?”

      There’s a viable competitor or two in Wahoo/Stages/etc in the bike computer world. But even that’s I think less stable than it was a year ago. In late 2018, I would have sad Wahoo was starting to mount a bit of an climb in market share. I think with the ROAM entrant in May 2019 basically falling flat against Garmin’s Edge 530/830 offerings a few days prior (whether measured in features, or more meaningfully – sales volume), they’ve sorta retreated a bit in market share.

      It’s tough, I wouldn’t want to be competing against Garmin in these areas unless you’ve got buckets of money, and more importantly, buckets of developers.

      As we look at Hammerhead, they’ve got a viable offering that might be able to compete here. But it’s really going to take them hiring a bunch more developers with their recent investment round to just be firing out new features at a rate that makes heads turn. The display on the Karoo/Karoo 2 gets your attention, yes, but whether it can maintain it is tricky.

    • Paul S.

      One of my big requirements from these devices is maps and navigation. In the watch arena, so far as I know Garmin is the only one who offers maps on a watch, unless you include smart watches like the Apple Watch. I don’t include them; I own an Apple Watch and know what it’s good for, and it’s really not good at what my Fenix 5+ is good at. As for cycling, the only one that I know of that could rival Garmin is Hammerhead. (Try buying a Hammerhead right now). Wahoo, of course, has limited navigation and no real maps.

      But one thing that struck me the other day is that I’m now using 3 ConnectIQ data fields on my Edge 830. One from Strava computes Strava Relative Effort (pretty inaccurately) in real time, the one that does vehicle count from my Varia radar and writes other data into the FIT file that shows up later on Garmin Connect, and a new one that shows (more or less) real time weather data with a wind vector relative to me, using the cosine of the angle between wind direction and my velocity vector properly, so that a cross wind is given as near zero head/tail wind (it’s called “Rain & Wind”, I think), and head winds are negative and tail winds are positive. So far as I know, no one else offers the kind of extensibility ConnectIQ offers. In the beginning I was very wary of ConnectIQ things since a few I tried early on caused problems, but that hasn’t happened in a while.

  135. Tim Grose

    I don’t have a 745 but do have a 945 and 245 and as those betas containing Track Run are now out, I thought I would load them up, head down to a track and see how well it works. link to youtube.com is my findings. Summary is that I thought it worked great!

    • SPR

      Nice review. Do you by chance another watch where you could try copying the track file in the track folder from one of these watches to and test whether that pre-calibrated the new watch?

    • Tim Grose

      SPR – so in the “RunningTrack” folder on the watch, there appears to be a FIT file for each track you have used the app with. However other than timestamp of the file can’t see what actual data is being stored. I reckon you could do what you suggest. I might try another time but I have gone and injured myself so can’t run for a bit. In fact begs the question of whether these files could be prepared and downloaded in advance bit like golf course ones. If you goto a “new” track, you could not always do a config run as part of warm up especially under Covid restrictions where they section off parts of the track.

    • SPR

      Tim – Yes, that’s the file I’m referring to and yes thinking of times when you can’t calibrate pre run. I’m unlikely to be able to calibrate before my race on Sunday (even before COVID, you’d have to pick the right moment to be allowed to cross the finish line at a meet) so it would be great if in the future you could just grab a calibration file from a database for those type of occasions.

    • SPR

      Sorry to hear about the injury, hope it heals quickly!

  136. Torbjørn Høstmark Borge

    I might be totally lost here, but seriously, is it possible to change straps om FR745? I even have the watch myself and have written a long review about it.
    I didn’t think about interchangeable straps because I took that for granted, but now that I was going to mount a strap from my old FR945, I just can’t see how it’s done.

  137. Yoav

    Ray what is the average battery usage?
    i.e smartwatch mode all day + 6 hours of workout ? How often did you need to charge the watch?

  138. jay

    This watch looks orange toward red. Would you call it red or orange?

  139. Stephan

    Hi Ray,

    just a short question: how do you calibrate the negative altitude value of Amsterdam manually in any Garmin wearable?

    • Hmm, interesting. I generally don’t. For the simple reason that I generally like to test whether or not a device can properly self-calibrate to the correct levels.

      In my case, depending on where precisely I start from, the difference is roughly between -2m and +2m.

  140. JP

    Ray – can the 745 continue to record an activity while charging? This is a use case for long activities that I would be interested in knowing for the various multi-sport watches.

    I want to know if I can put a battery pack in my jersey pocket/backpack/hydration pack and continue to record when it is charging. This isn’t a line in your product comparison charts but will definitely have an effect on what my next watch purchase choice will be. (745, 945, Fenix, etc)

    • Yup, works just fine on a FR745 with a USB battery pack.

      I’d recommend not using the default Garmin charging cable for that though, merely cause it’s finicky if put in a hydration pack. Instead, use this puck one since the cable won’t stick out the back of the watch: link to dcrainmaker.com

  141. Pavel

    Hello,
    did you hear any news about advanced sleep tracking? As far as I understand it was supposed to be released shortly after initial release of watch, but it is almost a month and they did not add it.

    • Mark

      Yes that annoys me so hard – they promise and do not deliver here – the 480 Euro was also billed on the same day of release ….

      Very Bad customer service – not even a word when this will be added

  142. G.J.

    The specs state that the 745 supports Trendline Popularity Routing. The FAQ on that, doesn’t list the 745 though. How does it works without maps? Does it fall back to simple turn by turn instructions?

  143. Alex

    Any news about 955 release date?

  144. Christopher

    Hey, thanks for the great review! 👍

    I am looking for the 745 but I can still get the 945 for the same price at my local dealer.

    Does someone know if the 745 has a better technology than the 945 like new chipsets etc?

    I know, the 945 got a more space for music and still got maps, but this is not nessarry to me.

    Thanks in advance 🙏

  145. WorkOnSunday

    pricing is indeed weird. as of Oct 2020, in the UK, the street price is actually lower for the 945…. so i dont see 745 being a bigger seller. only people who is looking for the smallest tri watch will go for it i think.

  146. Tomas

    Hello guys!
    I would like to buy a forerunners, but I still can’t decide which one (745/945). The difference between the price is approx. € 50. I know there were some new features in the 745, but I’m not sure if they are in the 945. My preference was for the 745 because they are slightly smaller, but the 945 has twice the battery life. Can anyone help me decide? Thanks

  147. Dom

    Mr. Ray, the main future that I do miss on my old watch is the track mode and I am thinking about buying this Forerunner 745 watch mainly because of this reason. Can you please clarify: do this track mode works only on 400m long track or also in shorter ones? In my neighborhood there only tracks with 250m long lanes, will this “track mode” work there?