Somehow, somewhat oddly, some 8 months after I started using a FR745 last August, it’s become my daily driver – some 148 workouts in total on it. Even while testing a slew of other watches over the last 8 months, the Forerunner 745 could almost always be found on one of my wrists. And in some ways, it’s kinda quirky. I’ve literally got bins of every watch out there, and yet, I end up on the supposed ‘lesser’ watch compared to a more expensive Forerunner 945 or Fenix 6. I will say though, the new Enduro, surprisingly, tempted me. But more on that later.
For those unfamiliar, the Forerunner 745 is supposed to be Garmin’s ‘affordable’ triathlon watch. Priced at $499 (though, $449ish the last week or so), it was $100 cheaper than the Garmin Forerunner 945 (sometimes), and also cheaper than the Fenix 6. Functionality-wise though, it was near identical. Of course, if you’re looking for an actual affordable multisport GPS watch, then the COROS Pace 2 is where the action is at $199.
The point of this post isn’t an incredibly long review of the Forerunner 745. I’ve already done that. Rather, it’s a bit of a blend of four things:
1) What was different about the FR745 compared to the previous FR735XT?
2) What’s changed in the FR745 since launch back in September?
3) How does it differ from the Forerunner 945 these days?
4) Why I’m using it instead of the FR945 or Fenix 6 Series?
Finally, because I started off this adventure back in February making a video on it (that I finally got edited and updated more recently), this post was sorta to accompany that video. The video goes into more detail on some of these things, but I know a lot of you reading here just want the quick facts and items. Thus, this post.
(And yes, I know the FR745 was announced 7 months ago, but I’ve been using it for 8 months, and thus, I have 8 months experience with it.)
What Was New:
To begin, just a quick refresher of what was new on the Forerunner 745, compared to the previous Forerunner 735 from a few years earlier. For those regular Garmin watchers around here, the only thing you’ll need to know is that the FR745 only had a single ‘new Garmin’ feature unseen elsewhere – which was the Running Track mode, to snap your track workouts to the track. Beyond that, this was Garmin simply offering a cheaper FR945 without maps (and a few other things we’ll talk about in a second):
– 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/Enduro)
– 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), up to 24hrs in certain GPS configs. 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
Got all that? Good.
What changed since launch:
Since it launched back in September, there’s actually been a handful of additions to it that are worthwhile nothing.
Added XC Ski Power with the HRM-PRO: If you’ve got an HRM-PRO strap, you’ll get cross-country skiing power. I have a dedicated post on that here.
Added ClimbPro notifications: This adds ClimbPro notifications as you approach a climb. It’s a nice touch and is useful if you want to refuel before starting a climb. Or, if you want to simply sit and enjoy the view before suffering.
Added descents to ClimbPro for non-cycling: Previously, ClimbPro was all about going up, but now for running/hiking it’s about going up and down. So you’ll see your descents listed in the exact same manner as your ascents. This can also be combined with the ClimbPro notifications mentioned in the previous point.
But there’s also one thing not yet added:
Advanced Sleep Tracking: Of course, there’s one item that was slated to be added in, which was the advanced sleep tracking. Essentially that was a switchover from Garmin sleep tracking to one powered by FirstBeat algorithms (which, Garmin acquired about a year ago). This change was rolled out to the Fenix 6 (and the FR945 in public beta builds), but then paused for other devices due to issues Garmin ran into. They’ve spent the last 8 months working through those issues, and it sounds like things are about set. We saw the Garmin Enduro have it included a couple of months ago, largely because that shares the same codebase as the Fenix 6, so it kinda had to go along for the ride. In talking with Garmin recently, it sounds like things are basically cleared for the FR745 to get it soon, but they didn’t want to commit to an exact date – other than to confirm the 745/945 are indeed definitely getting it.
There’s also been a smattering of tiny little tweaks and UI changes (and bug fixes), all listed here in the FR745’s release notes. But the above are the big-ticket ones.
Different than the Forerunner 945:
The Forerunner 745 isn’t quite the Forerunner 945, and officially the two are $100 difference in price. And on paper, the most notable differences would be the lack of maps on the Forerunner 745 and the bigger battery life on the 945. But there’s more than just that:
– 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)
Battery life is actually an interesting one, there’s more than meets the eye there. Here’s a nifty table I made for my video:
As for that webpage on getting FR745 battery life to 24hrs for workouts, here’s the link on that (it also includes somewhat impressive details on exactly what constitutes regular battery life).
Next, there’s the price. The FR745 is officially priced at $499USD while the FR945 is priced at $599. Officially anyway. Unofficially the FR745 has floated down to ~$450 in recent days, while the FR945 has floated on and off down to $520ish. So when the two are only $20 apart, it’s kinda hard to justify the FR745. Yet, when the two are $150 apart, then the choice is much more difficult. And of course, if we look at non-US pricing, things are all over the map depending on discounting and such.
Looking at the size, there’s a difference too. Sure, a little bit of weight, but mostly the size. Below, you can see the two units side by side and the slight differences in the button color (FR945 is in black):
Ok, with that, let’s finish up with a quick weigh-in versus the 945:
And, because there’s always good reason to have Oreos involved, if you remember from my initial in-depth review, I noted that the FR745 is precisely the same size as a standard-issue Oreo. 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.
See, just add tape:
But there is a key difference and a singular feature that the Forerunner 745 has that the Forerunner 945 does not: Training load on the watch face.
If you look at the below photo, you’ll see my current training load and status listed, at 850, and within the green range of load before it thinks I’ve done too much in the last 7 days. This exact value of course floats, based primarily on the previous 30 days worth of activities and how it thinks I’m handling them. Like any training load system, there are always philosophical differences between folks on their preferences. And that’s fine. Ultimately, the main thing I use this for is a quick glanceable always-there metric of how my week has been workout-wise, and whether I’m slacking or not.
Given there’s zero races scheduled here in the Netherlands anytime soon, there’s little motivation for me to be on a strict training schedule. So instead, my training is mostly device-based. Meaning, I train based on the devices I need to test. Once I finish up this post, I’m gonna likely head out for a ride. Probably around 90 mins to 2 hours. No particular training purpose, just a nice enjoyable afternoon sunny-day ride.
But, the number above is roughly what I use as a proxy for whether I’m getting in my workouts this week. Sure, I could look at various other stats and dig into menus in the watch, or, every time I glance at my wrist throughout the day I see that number as a reminder for whether or not I probably should get a workout in.
Similarly, the FR745 lacking maps has turned out not to be an issue in the last 8 months. Aside from one short 2-day trip last September, I haven’t travelled anywhere I needed maps. Eventually, we’ll travel again, but without travel, there’s virtually no need for me to have maps on my wrist for hiking or running (when I normally use them). I know all my nearby running routes pretty easily, and on the rare occasion I go somewhere nearish and want maps, even breadcrumb routing works for most Netherlands trails. I mean, everything is flat, usually without dense forests, and usually the routes/trails are pretty straightforward. I have a dedicated bike GPS for mapping/routing there (which I do use here).
Now, maybe this summer the world will normalize a bit and I’ll find myself back down in the Alps. In that scenario, I VERY MUCH appreciate having maps – and would probably switch over to a Fenix 6 Pro or FR945 for the task. The trails are occasionally complex with numerous options and sometimes no signage at all, with often 3-4 trails merging at once. Being able to figure out from things like nearby ponds/terrain/etc on a map which trails are which, and which direction I should go in is hugely helpful. Something like the below, with the Fenix 6 Pro (though, the FR945 is the same way):
But ultimately, it’s these two main things as to why I’ve stuck with the FR745 over the FR945 for the time being:
A) It’s slightly smaller, and slightly lighter
B) The training-load watch face
And I know, there are undoubtedly probably 3rd party Connect IQ watch faces that probably have training load on them. But I really like the simplicity and cleanliness of the stock Garmin ones. I also like knowing that in general, stock watch faces often are more battery optimized than 3rd party ones.
Though, there is one last reason it’s stayed on my wrist:
C) The red color scheme
Like any other person, when choosing what they wear, or their bike color, or their shoes – an element of personal style preference comes into it. I like my reds, and this quirky reddish-orange color works for me. Just like my Apple Watch SE is also red. As are numerous other things I’ve bought (my coats, my bike has red accents, my laptop mouse, and so on). And sure, I can use a black watch like anyone else, but hey – if there’s a lava red color, I’m totally there. Sure, it’s silly – but so are most fashion things. To each their own.
What doesn’t work well:
For the most part, the Forerunner 745 works just fine for me. Frankly, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t use it. In general, there are three specific areas that could use slight improvement or addition:
Mixed cold-weather optical HR: This is no surprise for any watch, but I did see cases in February and March during some of our ice-age-like temperatures, that the Forerunner 745 struggled a bit in the optical heart rate realm. This is pretty common for many watches, since colder weather means you get less blood flow at the extremities. Not helping is that I tend to wear thinner than most people’s clothing when running, even in the cold. For the most part on average, there was virtually no difference between how this watch performed in the colder weather and other watches I tested during that time. The vast majority of the time it was good, but certainly some oddities (you can see these in some of my various reviews since then like the Enduro review, Polar Vantage M2 review, etc…). But beyond the colder freezing-temp weather, I can actually use it just fine for most of my running interval workouts, or steady-state runs. Indoor cycling is fine, whereas outdoor cycling is still a mixed bag (like most wrist-based watches).
Lack of advanced on-watch sleep metrics: As noted above, this still isn’t there. And it’s a bummer, as I rather like it. Garmin says it’s coming. And likely rather soon by the sounds of it. But like predicting the price of Bitcoin or anything that happened in 2020, who knows exactly. In terms of accuracy of the existing algorithms on the watch (shown in the app), they’re actually pretty good for me (as most watches tend to be, for me). However, Garmin’s lack of nap functionality is a bummer, and especially notable if I wake up early to sort out baby/toddler stuff for a while, and then eventually fall back asleep for an hour or so, that won’t be caught.
Battery life: In general I get about 5-6 days of battery life on the watch, depending on usage. That said, I do get weird quirks where the battery just evaporates unexpectedly – almost as if GPS got left on or something. This doesn’t happen often, maybe once a month. I don’t run any Connect IQ apps, except for data fields (Stryd, Garmin power). But it is an odd quirk. I haven’t cared enough to troubleshoot it, it’s entirely plausible I’m doing something wrong.
Like I said though – I haven’t had any show-stoppers or other issues beyond these. I don’t tend to listen to music on it much, here and there, but not every week. Inversely, it’s used 100% of the time in all my power meter and smart trainer testing, and does well there – with zero dropouts seen. Every ride, it’s recording something behind the scenes.
The Enduro Temptation:
So how did the Garmin Enduro almost tempt me? Well, it’s the closest I’ve come to ditching the FR745 for another watch. As I mentioned earlier, while normally I’d like mapping on my watches – with essentially zero travel right now, it means that maps for running/hiking aren’t really something I use. Thus, the Enduro’s somewhat unexplainable lack of maps actually didn’t bother me (for the moment). And, while I don’t generally like a larger watch, the weight being only 61g (the FR745 is 48g, and the Fenix 6 Pro is 72g, versus the 82g for the 6X Pro Solar), meant it wasn’t the heavier Fenix 6 watch for the longer battery life. Also, I kinda liked the strap.
But most importantly, was the battery life. I’ve slowly come around to Team Long Battery Life Even If Not an Ultra Runner. I’d agree that a year or so ago, I didn’t really get it on the COROS watches, in terms of day to day battery life, unless you were an ultra runner. Ultimately, I find the digital crown on the COROS watches just too frustrating for my liking, but that’s neither here nor there (and it’s too bad, as they’ve done a great job otherwise in updates). In any case, with Enduro, I was legit getting about a month of battery life, inclusive of workouts, given mid-winter many of those workouts were indoors. But even then, GPS tracking had me on-course for 60-80 hours of GPS life, which is more than enough for a month’s worth of activities for me (of course, then you have 24×7 on-time, which lowers it from there). And that’s before we even talk solar, which, in the Netherlands in the winter isn’t super useful – but in the summer on the Enduro, is probably enough to keep things almost steady-state (excluding workouts).
Point being, it’d have been silly easy to go 2-3 weeks without charging that watch with over-the-top peak-training usage using all the default settings. But ultimately, once I switched back to the FR745, I was comfortable with little magma red again.
As I said at the beginning, my goal here wasn’t a crazy long review, but rather, a check-in of sorts. Folks had been curious why I keep using the FR745 as opposed to a higher-end or fancier watch. And ultimately, it comes down to a blend of the watch size, the specific watch face, the lack of travel to a place I need maps, and the color scheme. There’s no one stand-out item, it’s a blend.
The FR745 hasn’t seen as many updates as some watches have in their first 6-8 months of life, but, there hasn’t really been a lot of other features dropped to other watches during that timeframe anyway. And those features that were added (like ClimbPro Descents) the FR745 did get.
As for buying a FR745 vs FR945 today and which one to get, honestly, you’ll kinda have to figure out which makes the most sense for you (or, something else entirely). I suspect the day-to-day price fluctuations would impact that a bit. The FR745 is a year old, so clearly there’s no immediate successor there using a typical Garmin 3-4 year refresh cycle for this series watch (mid-range triathlon). The FR945 is two years old next week, which would put it on target for a refresh using typical Garmin Forerunner timelines of 2 years for their top-end triathlon Forerunner series. But, as we’ve seen over the last year – this world is anything but typical right now. So who knows.
With that – thanks for reading!
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It looks like you missed inputting the Fenix weight, on this sentence:
“And, while I don’t generally like a larger watch, the weight being only 61g (the FR745 is 48g, and the Fenix 6 Pro )…”
Thanks, added in!
I just bought this watch (this weekend) for my girlfriend off the back of your reviews. I was always a polar person (v800/vantage) so I surprised myself. One thing we were surprised about is the limited coverage of Garmin pay (my partner’s running club often go for a cup of tea after, so this should be convenient). In the UK only a few banks supported it (big ones: Starling, Santander and Revolut), which I was a little surprised by.
It will probably be an unsolicited advice/hint – check the UK-based fintech Curve.
They offer a “proxy-card” for your other cards (not all card types work, but Visa and Mastercard are there).
I’ve been using this for the past few years (Garmin Pay support in Germany is laughable).
I wonder if there’s any actual limitation (apart from marketing) that stops Garmin from pushing new watch faces to older watches. I mean sure, you won’t get solar widget on a non-solar watch, but, for example, default Enduro watchface could fit pretty much any Garmin watch out there. And this Workout Load watchface could easily fit Forerunner 945. Yes, I know about ConnectIQ, but the noticeable lag when you switch from your watchface to anything is extremely annoying.
P.S. You could go down south for trails, areas around Maastricht are quite nice and have some 200 meters of elevation.
I don’t there is any limitation. They just want to make some watch faces exclusive.
I would love to have Fenix 6 watches on mine FR745 (I know there is infocal which is great but drains battery quite fast)
Just wondering, do the FR745 and 945 support a real swimrun activity profile, i.e. a multisport profile where you can switch between running and swimming indefinitely until stopping the activity?
Well I just tested it and the answer is yes. Every time you hit de lap button, changes to swim or run. I pressed 6 times the lap button and always changed. Hope that helps.
This got added as an update way back on the Fenix 3 and, so far as I’m aware, has featured on every multisport Garmin since then.
Thanks, for some reason I thought it was limited to top-of-the-line multisport watches. Now, if my beloved 920XT could die so that I could replace it without any second thought 😉
The 945 is definitely a “top of the line” watch. 745 also still up there due to the multi-sport capability
I enjoyed this comparison as it was a little more subjective preferences than a traditional objective DC rainmaker article (at least to me). The 745 has gotten a lot of love from many people especially due to its smaller form factor and that might be a deciding factor for many. Maybe I am in the minority but I hate showering with my watch on, the water gets between the band and the skin and then never dries, so I usually throw my watch on the charger for the 10-15 minutes everyday. This keeps it (a 3ish year old fr235) decently recharged and a 45 minute dedicated recharge every so often to get it back to 100%, so battery life isn’t a huge driver for me.
Got mine for 359€, so basically a no-brainer 🙂
I currently have a 735XT and I’ve been thinking of upgrading for a while. One of the things that I find the older really misses is an altimeter for those trail runs that keep “stealing” some of that vert.
But with likely new watches around the corner (it’s been 2 years since the 45, 245 and 945 came out, almost 2 for the Fenix 6 line), I don’t know if I should wait. I’m worried the whole chip shortage might affect Garmin’s otherwise metronomic product release timeline. Any thoughts?
If it were me I’d hold off for a while. It’s rumoured CIQ4 will be added to a new watch soon. It may cause you to rethink your purchase – or not.
Thanks for this post, Ray. I actually enjoy this content, as I often get asked this question (why do I pick one watch over another… although I currently own 8? different current gen GPS watches, so I get the question often). It’s really neat to see your thought process on it. I also much, much prefer stock watch faces for the same reasons and really feel like Garmin is missing some opportunities on improving and expanding their stock watch faces (since they are so much more optimized than CIQ). Their arbitrary limitations on it seem to come from a semi misguided notion that “well, CIQ watch faces are there so deal with it”.
Regards to the timing of this post and with leaks (that I don’t expect you to comment on) of the new Elevate sensor watch(es) being launched in the very near future, where do you think Garmin can actually make meaningful progress with the hardware of their watches? We’re reaching a point where battery life is mostly becoming moot. Optical HR accuracy could be improved. GPS accuracy could definitely improve. Running power is interesting and not fully integrated into Garmin’s ecosystem yet (although that’s software, not hardware – mostly).
“That said, I do get weird quirks where the battery just evaporates unexpectedly – almost as if GPS got left on or something. This doesn’t happen often, maybe once a month.”
I have this exact same problem with my Vivoactive3 and it drives me crazy. Most days during normal use with no workouts the battery only drops to 70% or so, but occasionally it will drop to ~30% by noon or so. This is looking like an underlying glitch in the OS if it is occurring across different watches/generations and yet another item that Garmin refuses to fix while continuing to issue more new watches with new features.
Because of those glitches, I actually switched to a Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (what a name!) for a while until I had an issue with moisture on the motherboard which Samsung refused to cover under warranty, despite there being no external damage and me only following their care instructions with how to clean it. Not sure how they can advertise a water resistant watch with instructions to use it while swimming and to clean it by running water over it, but exclude water damage from warranty coverage.
So now I have gone back to using my trusty vivoactive3. Maybe I’ll upgrade to the to the Venu or the Enduro, but that price is tough to swallow.
Well sure it’s the same size as an Oreo, but does it weigh the same? What is the weight equivalent in sugary goodness I need to tape to my wrist to simulate 47g of heft?
(Is it obvious I’m trying to tempt you to add a picture of a stack of oreos on a scale next to the watches yet?)
Ray, “ if you’re looking for an actual affording multisport GPS watch…”, I think that should be “affordable”.
Just curious, why and how do you find the Coros digital crown frustrating? I bought a Vertix in September solely because of the full Stryd integration, but fell in love with the digital crown pretty much on day one. I find it much more convenient and practical than pushing buttons to navigate the watch menu. It’s also infinitely preferable to a touchscreen, which never works properly for me with sweaty fingers. All in all the digital crown has become a significant part of why I’ll probably stick with the brand the next time I upgrade my watch.
For me, it was super unreliable (especially using as an unlock feature). It was also unpredictable in the control vs amount of spin (and remembering which direction is which). Perhaps it’s something to do with my fine motor skills that is different from others (although, I haven’t had any issues in that regard in other parts of life).
For me I find it clumsy and imprecise, both in hard intervals and with gloves. Generally speaking it overshoots what I want when using it. Whereas a button is black and white, I press it, the data page changes. I press it twice, it changes twice.
Mind you, I find it clumsy too on the Apple Watch for sport usage. outside of that it’s fine.
“But, as we’ve seen over the last year – this world is anything but typical right now. So who knows.”
Well, you’d probably know Ray to be fair;)
Well I just tested it and the answer is yes. Every time you hit de lap button, changes to swim or run. I pressed 6 times the lap button and always changed. Hope that helps.
I couldn’t find it, but is there a way to broadcast HR directly from the watch over BT? If not which watch would be able to do it?
I think only Fenix 6 and FR 245? Any other brands you would recommend?
I know wrist based hr might not be as accurate as chest strap.
I’d expect the regular Forerunner 945 to drop down to $499 once they release the 945 LTE in the next couple of weeks. No idea what that would mean for the 745, list price of $399 or $449?
After that, we’ll have to wait for the release of the 955 (late summer?) and see if they price that one at $599 or $649/$699. My best guess would be $599 for the non-LTE version.
Stepping back from rumors or whatever for a second – I’d ask oneself: Why would Garmin release a so-called FR945 LTE?
Why would a company release an LTE watch atop a two-year old model? That’d have incredibly small market applicability, because the FR945 is already small applicability in comparison to the Vivoactive/Venu, & Fenix lineups. And if there’s one thing Garmin probably learned from their Vivoactive 3 LTE it’s that it needs huge market applicability to work. That had none, for starters since it was tied to Verizon only in the US.
At the time they launched it, some 16 months after releasing the Vivoactive 3 (and 6-7 months after releasing the Vivoative 3 Music, from which it was based), it was already a tough sell as anyone that wanted a VA3 likely already had one. Granted, Garmin didn’t think the LTE edition would have taken as long as it did (obviously), and thus, when it was finally ready…well…that’s when it was ready.
But the thing is – the landscape hasn’t really changed much for LTE in wearables that aren’t titled Apple or Samsung. It’s a rough experience for iOS users, who makeup the majority of Garmin users, because they don’t get iMessage on it, because only Apple Watches can have that. So you end up with two numbers, or non-synced notifications.
So if you’re going to go to all the trouble of launching another LTE device, I wouldn’t see why Garmin would ‘waste’ it on a FR945 2-years post-launch, likely in a limited market scenario. Instead, if Garmin is going to do the LTE thing, I’d think they’d do it for realz, on a mainstream product at mainstream launch. Anything else is just a waste.
I mean, just my two cents…
Really interesting to hear iPhone users are majority of Garmin wearable users, if I read that correctly. Would expect is many cases the Apple Watch has improved to a point it would be good enough for fitness, since smartwatch aspects are superior. Maybe they use Garmins just for sport and Apple Watch for everyday use.
Also, your point on launching LTE on a new watch makes perfect sense, if they’re even solidly working on that
I have been waiting for an LTE running/multi-sport watch since the 955 LTE was teased. I don’t really care about having full data functionality without my phone. I want the ability to broadcast my location without a phone, send a distress signal and some basic navigation functionality (I have a fr235 so I don’t know for sure but I believe this may already be available). I don’t particularly like running with my phone because there is no 100% comfortable way to carry it (obviously this is a personal preference thing). Especially during races (remember those?), I would like for my family to know where I am. Mat tracking doesn’t seem to always push the updates to them and even when it does it only extrapolates pace instead of an active track.
When I read this when you initially posted it, I assumed it was a push back against the leak (meaning you had some reason to believe Garmin wasn’t going to do this). Now, with all the leaks (even directly from Garmin) indicating the 945 LTE is actually coming this week, it reads as a scathing critique of the launch. You’re right though: this is a waste of LTE. Unless there is something huge and unknown about it, that’s really pretty nuts. I’m assuming it was ready to go early last year and it was just wildly delayed… so they said whatever, let’s launch it anyways.. all the work is done.
FR945 LTE is here. What a waste, Garmin…
Updates are missing, so far nothing from the sleep widget. Garmin has been throwing nothing for 3 months.
surprisingly similar thought processes for me as well.
the 745 is garmin’s most accurate watch, imho. probably most accurate ever.
the gimmicks of other Garmin devices didn’t sell me when it came to sports usage, so the 745 seemed cool but TOO SMALL for me and so i was super-excited by the Enduro (TOO BIG, grrrr) which would obviously have the same accuracy as the 745 and more besides. Except it had bugs and DID NOT have the 745’s accuracy for some inexplicable reason.
instead, i reverted back to the 935, a least for a while. JUST RIGHT, the Goldilocks tri watch 😉
and then you say, “The FR945 is two years old next week”
I thought I was going to get the 745 when it came out, but the lack of maps was a stopper for me. I’ve gotten well off course and bewildered twice (once in a foreign country, and once one town over from mine when I took a wrong turn). How well do the maps actually work on the 945? I constantly use Waze, and before that, Garmin Nuvis in my car. But that’s different from a small screen on your wrist. I keep hoping the 955 will come out so the 945 prices will drop, but it’s too early for that. Maybe something will happen (price wise) around Black Friday. In the meantime, I’m still happy with my 645, and my 735xt for Duathlons (found one lightly used on sale for $100 when my 645 had to go back to Garmin for something; if the 735 wasn’t pink, I’d wear it for more than just during duathlons. 😉 )
They’re good enough to get you home when you get lost, between trackback & popularity routing you can find a path that seems reasonable. I probably use them once a week between trails, and suburban neighborhoods. But if you plan beforehand the breadcrumbs will do you just fine. For me its nice to have music & maps, and not need to carry a phone at all. But if you carry a phone, then I would say you don’t need mapping
Thanks for the feedback. I’m deaf, so the music does nothing for me. (although the 645M seems to have more things available than my 645, since there is more memory available in the watch) I prefer not to carry a phone, so sounds like the map part still is worthwhile, plus I’d be more comfortable exploring new neighborhoods knowing I have the maps available. One of the times I got lost (in another country), I was using Courses. I figure it was where a few roads branched out, I must have taken the wrong branch. I eventually found my way back to something I recognized, and was able to continue on from there.
That’s the beauty of breadcrumbs routing: you sometimes take wrong turns, discover new tracks and eventually get back on the route 😉
oh man, i have the same battery issue. once every few weeks it just drains to 0 over couple of hours ….. frustrating!!!
Charge fatigue is real!!! I just don’t want to have to charge something else every few days
When you start getting use to looking at the health metrics your watch gives you, you don’t want to take it off. If I missed a night of sleep tracking to charge my 935 it would bother me.
Also, people that are primarily bikers and run some, like me, can get 3 weeks out of my 935 which is so nice.
If it weren’t for the poor battery life on the 745 I would have jumped.
Don’t care about maps or music on my watch for that matter. Want it small, light, and no bezel.
Hopefully they make an enduro 745 without that ugly yellow strip.
I love your analysis of which watch you use and why. It somehow adds some verification to my situation of continuing to use the Fenix 3hr. Despite it’s age, the lack of full-on maps, O2 sensor, music, Garmin pay, etc., it still gets the job done with very decent battery life. In alot of ways, the 745 or the Enduro, because they are paired down from the 945 or Fenix 6, are still much like the 3hr. I posted on your Fenix 3hr page that I recently swapped the battery for a cost of $24 and added the Enduro strap for $50. Spending this roughly $75 on the Fenix 3hr makes it somehow a new watch after 5 years of use. I’ve pointed out before that my success with Garmin devices is about 50%. Meaning, 50% of the time they are buggy and unusable. Therefore, my hesitation at new devices. Though I have tried several, I keep coming back to the “just works” Fenix 3hr. It seems to me if you distill down your analysis combined with your wanting of the Enduro, that the Fenix 3hr would still very much work for you albeit maybe a little larger and heavier than you like. However, I’m keenly aware that doesn’t sell watches for your or Garmin and isn’t very sexing blog wise 5 years after introduction.
I’ll see how long I continue to use the 3hr but won’t be surprised if I’m lured by the Enduro at some point. The short battery life of the 745 seems abhorrent to me. Also, if I’m completely honest, I just ordered a Coros Pace 2 to try as I just couldn’t bring myself to the likes of anything with less battery which would include everything below the 945 in Garmin’s lineup.
Curious as to your battery replacement on the 3HR. That Enduro band is sweet. Battery life on my 3HR was starting to go down the tube. I really wanted the workout suggestions and music on the watch, as well as fitness load and sleep data though. I had credit card points and $$ from online surveys, so just bought the 745 and I love it. I usually charge it while I’m at my desk once it dips past 25%, and for someone whose 7 day fitness load is in the 300s, it’s been great.
My Nick Mankey design watch strap is on order for the 745
I posted over on Ray’s Fenix 3hr page on the battery replacement. Purchased the batter from ifixit. Ifixit’s website has instructions to change the battery on the Fenix 3hr. It’s super easy. Takes about 15 minutes with a small hex wrench. Garmin will swap you watches with a refurbished 3hr for $130 but the ifixit battery replacement is only $24. Been super good so far.
Do the Garmin recommended daily workouts work indoors in the winter if you’re not doing any GPS runs? I haven’t been able to find an answer on this.
It stops working if you don’t have at least 2 gps workouts in a certain timeframe (2 weeks), basically at the same time you stop having training status updates. While I understand Garmin does this because of the highly inaccurate indoors pace measurements (via accelerometers), for people like me that use Stryd and have perfect pace inside, this is a bummer…
Bummer. I’ve never understood why the heart rate data isn’t enough since that’s what goes into the training status – aerobic and and anaerobic load vs speed of running. 🤷🏻♂️
Can you see maps and enable navigation installing Komoot?
Komoot does not transfer maps – it only transfers courses. So you will get navigation (“like in 400 meters turn right”) and off course / on course warnings, but not maps.
Question on the sleep tracking. I have a F6Pro, but got a vivosmart4 thru my work for fitness incentives. beyond the fact that steps don’t sync from the Fenix, which I have written to United Heathcare enough to turn blue.
Would I get “better” sleep analytics wearing the F6pro than the VS4, using physio true-up. I currently don’t use sleep because I can’t get used to wearing a device, so I guess the VS is better than nothing. But will the first beat analytics “kick-in” once it transfers to the fenix?
“Battery life: In general I get about 5-6 days of battery life on the watch, depending on usage. That said, I do get weird quirks where the battery just evaporates unexpectedly – almost as if GPS got left on or something.”
This exact thing just started happening on my 245!
I had a Venu for a short period of time before sending it back. One day I was playing around with the golf app and apparently left it on. By the next day sometime it had gone to zero. I just wasn’t aware that I somehow engaged the gps in the golf app. In the golf app, you can engage gps then go out of the app and it doesn’t indicate anywhere that gps is still running. I wonder if somehow folks are engaging the gps and not realizing it in a similar fashion or with one of the many apps. Maybe even unknowingly with accidental button presses engaging it. Seems obviously another bug Garmin needs to work out. One of the many reasons the Venu went back.
How do the native maps compare to those you can get through CIQ apps (eg dwmap)? I’ve got dwmap on my lowly Vivoactive 3 and it seems to do a decent job of showing me where I’m going – but I don’t know what I’m missing as I’ve never used the native maps.
I recently bought a 735, intending to use it as a replacement for my original Garmin Swim. (I’ve always been a little nervous about trashing my expensive watch in chlorine.) I’ve found the 735 on my wrist more often than expected. Anyone who’s on a budget and doesn’t need the latest and greatest might do well shopping for a bargain on the 735.
An interesting read, as my Vivoactive 3 ages I have wondered about what next.. and this appears on the feed. Thanks Ray
Oh and the Oreo metric should be an international standard imho.
Hi guys, how much are we missing from the lack of respiration rate measurements?
Did the 745 not receive the update that adds PM5 support?
For a short period of time, only a couple of month after it came out, the 745 was 399 €.
At that price, it was really tempting (the 945 was 520-550 at the time).
I have a 245, and willing to try triathlon or swimrun, i’m still a little put off by the supposedly smaller battery life.
Although I wear a mechanical watch everyday, It’s always a pita to grab the 245 for a quick run only to find its battery is empty or it hasn’t enough juice left for my run.
Thanks Ray, really enjoyed this read
I wish Garmin would release something like this red for smaller models. Instead we get gold, rosegold or dilver. Meh!
training-load watch face
Is that data available to connect IQ apps? I don’t think it is.
link to developer.garmin.com
Would be great is the advanced metrics like body battery and the rest were in the API and available to be used but I don’t see it
Garmin needs to do a better job of getting access to these metrics if they want connect iq to give better functionality to the watches. Sleep metrics? Sure garmin has it but doesn’t expose that info anywhere. Respiration rate during exercise? Lots of metrics could be useful as input to data fields but they can’t use it. Sure, Firstbeat may have limited them in the past, but now?
Ray, any chance this will change?
Did they finally added option to get rid of “in zone/out off zone” alert? This is so annoying in 935, when having a training with heart rate/tempo/power target, it shows an alert which covers whole screen.
I had a 735 as a successor of the previous 925. as the 745 was announced, the time to replace my 735 has come. I was debating between 745, 945 and Fenix 6. I decided for the 945 due to lighter than Fenix and almost same price as 745 but higher value.
I now have the 945 for 2-3 weeks. I am very happy and surprised of the bigger than expected positive differences between and 945.
The Climb Pro feature sounds very attractive to me, but with no on-board mapping do you have to carry a phone with you?
i have a FR745 i dowloaded audiobooks to my watch that i wanna listen while running. When i start my tracking the music stops, very annoying :/
It is clear to me that the FR 945 has a larger battery than the FR 745!
But I want to ask you, how did the separation with FR 945 and twice the battery life affect you?
Wasn’t it difficult for you to comply with the shorter charging interval of the FR 745?
I’ve never had a sports smart watch. I wonder between the FR 745 and the FR 945. What worries me the most is the battery life!
I really like the FR 745, it has everything I need. Red is also my favorite color. But the short battery life and this weirdness you shared worries me!
The FR 945 only attracts me with the battery. I don’t need offline maps and music, and the price is high for me!
The FR745 is probably what I’ll replace my FR645 with, particularly if there are any sales or price drops. I prefer the looks of Polar and Suunto watches but there’s to many liitle things I’d miss so likely won’t switch. Coros is tempting and the Pace 2 is a great price. Charging has never really bothered me, I work at a computer all day so can plug my watch in to charge whilst I’m working.
Enjoyed the long term review. I just recently bought my dad a 745 with the HRM Pro. He really likes it. He’s 75 and runs about 4 times a week. He doesn’t need maps and likes the Music capabilities. I got it in the white color and he likes the look. I’m a little envious as I have a Fenix 6 Pro Solar and I think I prefer the smaller watch too.
Can the 745 get suggested indoor bike workouts & biking VO2 max without a power meter? I tied yesterday with speed/cadence/chest HR, but it didn’t get me V02 after 24 minutes.
New beta 4.85 with FB sleep analytics is out.
The Firstbeat method of lactate threshold detection used in Garmin devices relies on the fact that your respiration rate — how hard you are breathing — can be detected through analysis of your heart rate variability (HRV). Since the garmin forerunner 745 does not give respiration rate during workouts will the lactate threshold detection be worse than compare to 945? Or is it still used in the calculation for lactate threshold but not showed on the watch.
Thanks for this follow-up review. Very helpful.
Didn’t Garmin update 745 and 945 to support the wrist HR sensor in swimming? May want to change the Product Comparison tool to reflect that.
Yup, good catch – thanks Peter!
I’ve spent months trying to decide what garmin to get, and your follow up review had me purchase the Garmin 745.
I managed to get it reduced to 391e. Your review made me realise that I don’t need offline maps and I’m not going to be doing any Ironmans so having 16 hours of GPS is more than enough. I know for an extra 60/70e the 945 is better value, but I also have tiny wrists so I think the 745 will be more comfortable (and won’t look absolutely massive).
you had me at the 920xt!
since then i’ve watched (ha!) with vague interest but, in the end, for a guy who simply runs/bikes, hates noise (music) on my forest runs/bikes, likes the heart strap function, (and the color – white)
keep reviewing – i’m sure i’ll crack eventually.
As of recently I follow your blog (do they still call it that? 🙂 ), and I’m fascinated in how many details you describe products. This product, Garmin Forerunner 745, caught my attention and I’m thinking of buying it.
again, hats off for the great effort you put in this blog and will continue to follow your writing.
Did Garmin fix the problem with the sudden drain of the battery? Is this draining still occurring?
I’m not sure. A week or so after this post I switched to testing the FR945LTE, though ironically, I was back on the FR745 this morning.
Thanks for the reply. I will be happy to share if you find something new.
Any particular reason you’re back on the 745 wagon? Or just due to testing?
I just wanted a non-platform-specific sports watch priced in the same ballpark as the Samsung Watch4 that I had on the other wrist. Meaning, I didn’t want it tied to iOS or Android (such as Apple Watch or such), and this was the closest one to my desk. 🙂
I’ve been using Garmin watches the last 10 years. Since changing to Garmin Fenix, now wearing a 6X, I’m struggeling with bad GPS accuracy when out running.
A friend of mine with his 735XT is not having these problems. Will the 745 have the same good accuracy as 735XT?
What is meant when it is said that the FR945 has Temperature and the FR745 does not ? And is the Garmin ELEVATE optical HR sensor V4 worth not buying the FR745 that has the V3 ?
Why are Polar and Garmin not tracking their daytime sleep? This is so stupid. Many athletes sleep for a couple of hours during the day.
I’ve wondered about that – which trackers actually do record this? Fitbit, Apple, Suuto?
Fitbit does…Whoop does. Garmin doesn’t, Apple I don’t think so. Suunto doesn’t.
In Data Recording do you use Smart or Every second option ?
I use Smart Recording. Also I do have pulse ox enabled, but only during sleep. My 745 charges quite quickly, and is probably more than adequate for a half marathon/marathon training, but for anything longer I’d go with something with more capacity. Mine was at 22% yesterday afternoon before a five mile run, and now it’s down at 8%. I didn’t use music on my run.
I always use 1-second recording. There’s actually no difference (at all) in battery life. Rather, it’s a legacy setting from the days when Garmin devices were far more limited on storage space. Typically speaking it’ll record at a lower interval rate – about every 3-7 seconds. But it’s still fully powered on, so the only thing it does is create smaller file sizes.
But the file sizes are so small, it’s irrelevant in 2021 (or even in 2010). For example, a 1hr ride with a power meter, GPS, HR data, and anything else you have, is about 100KB (1/10th of one megabyte). Or roughly the size of a photo on Twitter.
The FR745 has 4GB of storage (4,000MB), meaning it could hold 40,000 hours of workout data before you had to sync it). Technically it’s a bit less once you include other factors, but that explains the scale we’re talking about here. 🙂
Can this be used swimming in the sea
Yes, no problem at all.
Hi all, I really enjoy my 745 but it keeps dropping connection with Zwift in Virtual Run mode. Any ideas? It seams an issue with all Forerunners (not sure about the Fenix series).
I’m no triathlete, let’s just start there. But I love working out. And, more importantly to this comment, I love tracking data and metrics. About a year ago, I bought the Vivoactive 3 as my entry into this marketplace. I liked it. There was a lot I didn’t know but this seemed to be a good place to start. Due to a battery that seems to die every 36 hours, I’m in the market for a new model. I am having trouble deciding between a Fenix 6, a Forerunner (745/945) or a third, unknown option.
Here are my criteria:
I pool swim. I’d like to have distance/HR & caloric output for my swims. I’d also love as much peripheral swim data as I can get to improve my swimming.
I bike (mostly on a Peloton). I use an external HR strap to track HR during rides. But I would love to capture more metrics (distance, rpms, resistance, and any other data) directly on my watch. My vivoactive just catches HR and time.
I lift and do cardio (lots of cardio circuits like CrossFit) and would love to capture more data there.
I would love some data on ideal caloric output or workout intensity each week.
I lift 3x a week but don’t feel the need to capture reps on my watch (unless I’m missing some great value by doing so)
I don’t run (due to 2 very bad knees). I don’t need maps. I don’t workout much outside. I don’t need courses or GPS tracking (most of the time). I don’t need altitude.
I don’t golf, so I don’t need info on my local course.
Whatever I’m missing here must not be important, either…
Essentially, I am looking for a device that captures my daily routines better. Sleeping/Stress/HR levels and exertion. I want as much bike/swim/circuit data as possible.
Can you steer me toward or away from a few watches that you think may best capture my goals?
Many, MANY thanks to you (and other members who care to comment)
I’ve had my 745 since Dic 2020 and I really enjoy it. I use for tracking my running, swimming, cycling, hiking, walking and even for the number of floors I climb daily. I think it’s an awesome gadget. At the beginning I was a little bit concerned because of the size, I am a woman with a small wrist and technically the watch covers it completely yet I got used to it and honestly I just love everything this watch offers me. I use it to pay contactless, to read my WhatsApp msgs and one feature I simply love is that I can load my playlists in it and go for a run only with the watch and my earplugs…no need to carry my phone anymore.
Buying Question – I’ve been looking to upgrade my 245 for awhile and I’ve been itching to get a 745 (size is why I’m looking at the 745 over the 945). I haven’t been able to justify the cost, however it just dropped to $350 in a number of places (Amazon and REI). Given that the 255 is about to drop, I’m curious about your thoughts regarding which to get. I feel like the sale will change before the 255 drops. Any ideas? Do you think I miss out on anything groundbreaking in the 255 if I get the 745?
Hey Ian — no advice but wondering what you ended up doing?
I got the 745 on the sales you mentioned, but now wondering if I should return & get the 255M instead. What do you think?
Turns out 745 is still on sale at $350 many places.
Ended up with the 255 Music (46mm) and I basically forgot the 745 existed. After reading all the reviews, I realize the 744 is essentially redundant right now. I went with White because I was tired of dark colored watches. Not sure if I’ll regret it eventually, but right now I don’t.
Hi, great reviews as always.
I still have my FR735XT and its great but I’m looking to change to a newer model and really don’t know which way to go. 745, 255 or 945. The 255 is obviously the newest and has HRV monitoring but the 745 is on offer £245 (UK) compared to the £299 for the 255 and the 945 at £329 (also on offer).
I’m not sure if they all have HRV.
My sports are road cycling, gravel, mtb riding, wing foiling, sailing and paddleboarding and the 735XT has coped well with all of these sports, it’s the general fitness and sleep tracking and overall health I want to delve a bit more into.
I keep looking at the 255 as its the newest and maybe longevity wise with software updates would be the best, but does that do everything the 735XT does and more?
Thanks as always.
This looks like a newbie question but I assure you I am not. My backlight never shuts off, ever. Not even when I am sleeping it gets to its lowest: 5%. And never gets totally dark. I tried everything. Any idea what can it be?
I think it depends on what all you have tried. Power off/on, backlight settings (During Activity, Not Activity, During Sleep if it has it), etc. Factory reset if you have to? Garmin support chat/email and Garmin Forums?
I’ve done it all and now I went to reset to default and the app does not recognize the watch at all.
Turned it off and on again but now the watch is stuck on the add to device screen and doesn’t turn off. I guess it should be returned to the store 🙁
Update from Garmin instagram
So I am not crazy
This is how it is
My garmin at its lowest and gesture turned off
I am NOT happy with that at all
I have the vivoactive 3
Way more simple watch function-wise but it would go to 0%
I’ll be honest, none of this thread makes sense.
The backlight on the FR745 is only on when it’s on (either via gesture/manual/etc…). Otherwise, it’s off. Just like every other Garmin MIPS based watch. The brightness level is only impacting said backlight when it’s on.
To me, this sounds like Garmin is confused by your request, and doesn’t seem to realize your unit won’t turn off. Which, seems like some sort of legit problem.
Given I can find no other mention of anyone (ever) having this issue on a FR745 (nor anyone ever commenting about the backlight on my previous full in-depth review), this sounds pretty new/unique issue.
I’d consider a reset of the unit, to see if that gets it unstuck (also, ensure the firmware is updated if you haven’t). 🙁
Thank you for your answer!
That helps a lot, because honestly I couldn’t find anything about it online either, just me.
I did a reset already and no luck. Still this annoying little light on 🙁
Just an update on the issue
Garmin analyzed a video I send putting the vivo active and the fr next to each other to see the light thing and they said that there is a issue with my device and they will fix it.
At the store I bought the salesman said that’s how the watch was and the backlight never turns off ever. I said OK. But the Garmin customer service is being super on point and helpful!
Ahh great, good to hear!
After analysis Garmin is giving me a new fr745.
The customer service was very on point with everything.
This was the first time that this issue was reported.
Just updating here 🙂
Are there any chances that FR745 will be updated with new features, such as e.g. health snapshot? Or should I forget about any new software updates for this watch (except, perhaps, bug fixes)?
No, that ship has unfortunately sailed at this point. I wouldn’t expect any new features. Perhaps minor Connect IQ updates, that’s about it.
Thanks Ray. That’s what I thought, you just reassured me. I’m on 11.60 firmware and so it will stay then… I need a sport watch that would also look classy, for more formal outfit. Having a small wrist (though I’m a man 😉) shall I go for Fenix 7s? I haven’t seen it for real, just pictures that are always made to look nice. If I buy it it would be via Internet, so I want to be double sure it it meets my expectations as to its look (feature wise I know it has all I need).
As a happy 745 user I just wish Garmin will find the time to finally fix the annoying altimeter bug that is affecting this device since firmware 11.10. While recording an activity you basically experience single unexpected altitude drops or jumps that make no sense. Garmin is aware of it but doesn’t know how to fix it or maybe doesn’t have enough resources to allocate on a product that has reached its “end of life”phase.
Yeah, a Fenix 7S is pretty close in size to the 745, just a bit thicker. It’s what my wife uses, and she’s pretty happy with it.
Thanks Ray. 🙂 It’s already on my wrist. Happy New Year!
Great, enjoy it! Happy New Year as well!
745 is my dreamwatch! Buuuut… I do not fancy its size, would live it to look like the venu, but 745 on the inside
Thanks for å grest rewiev!