Garmin Forerunner 945 Review: For the Sportspeople

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the top smartwatches in the market. Read this review to learn about its features and uses.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the quality products from the stables of Garmin. Garmin, a reputable smartwatch manufacturer, has made a name for itself in the smartwatch business. The Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the products that helped the company achieve its success in the industry, being its first collection of smartwatches.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a successor to the Garmin Forerunner 935. The Garmin Forerunner 935 was widely regarded as the best smartwatch in the market during its time. Thus, with the Garmin Forerunner 945, one can expect superlative features that trump that of its predecessors.

This article seeks to discuss all the features of the Garmin Forerunner 945, providing you with a detailed and well-rounded review of the smartwatch.

Our Verdict

Ratings: 8.5 out of 10

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is an excellent sports tracking smartwatch that provides every runner with all needed features. The smartwatch has numerous features that would probably take a while to use and exhaust. The Garmin Forerunner 945 combines numerous exciting features, including maps, music, payments, and unparalleled sports tracking, to rank as one of the best smartwatches in the market.

Thus, if training and running at the highest professional level is your focus, this smartwatch is your best bet.

Why we like it:

  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Packed with numerous features
  • Comes with a strong battery

Why we hate it:

  • Has a flaxy Garmin Connect Score
  • Heart rate iffy for high intensity training
  •  Expensive

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Design and Screen

  • Has a reflective display measuring about 1.2 inches
  • Has a strong case measuring 42mm wide and 13.7mm thick
  • Lightweight, measuring about 50g
  • The smartwatch is waterproof to a depth of 50 meters

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a replica of its predecessor, but with extra durability. You get a strong and durable housing case for the smartwatch, with a thickness of about 13.7mm. There is also a 1.2-inch transflective display that has the same resolution as the Garmin Forerunner 935. The edge that this smartwatch has over its predecessor with regards to design and screen is its damage resistant glass, which adds an extra layer of strength and durability to the smartwatch.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Design and Screen

Another enticing feature regarding the design of the Garmin Forerunner 945 is its lightweight. This smartwatch weighs around 50g. This means that it is thinner and less bulky than most of its counterparts, especially the Fenix.

It is important to state that the Garmin Forerunner 945 doesn’t have a touchscreen feature. You get to control the smartwatch with the aid of five physical buttons. These buttons are well-spaced and divided into two sides (three on the left side and two on the right side). These buttons give you all the access you need to the smartwatch, including its additional control settings.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 comes with an updated Garmin Elevate heart-rate monitor sensor. The update to this sensor is the addition of a pulse oximeter sensor. This sensor allows the Garmin Forerunner 945 to get biometric data for sleep monitoring and training activities.

You will find this sensor at the back of the smartwatch, where you will also find the four-pin charging port for the smartwatch.

Smartwatch Features

  • Availability of color maps
  • Advanced running features such as PacePro and Coach Platform
  • Accurate readings on land and in water
  • Addition of Gamin Pay and Music Player

One of the things you cannot complain about regarding the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the availability of capable smartwatch features. The smartwatch allows you to receive phone notifications, sports tracking, navigation, and many more. Apart from running, Garmin equipped the smartwatch with features that allow it to cover sports like golf, swimming, cycling, and many more.

Garmin Forerunner 945 for physical activities

To start with, the color maps are exciting to use. This feature allows you to see, use, and zoom maps clearly, allowing you to move and navigate easily. With the color maps feature, the Garmin Forerunner 945 becomes a suitable smartwatch for outdoor sports and activities.

For runners, you will find the GPS feature on this smartwatch impressive. This feature, in conjunction with many others, will provide you with metrics and data on your running activities. There is also the Coach platform and the PacePro feature. While the Coach platform provides you with professional assistance during your races, the PacePro feature helps you map out racing strategies based on your pace.

Garmin Forerunner 945 GPS feature

It is no news that the Garmin Forerunner 945 is waterproof, as are all Garmin smartwatches. However, you may be surprised to find out that the metrics and readings on the smartwatch are as accurate in water and it is on land. Thus, whether you are swimming or just lounging in the water, you can still get the same accurate data on the state of your physical activities.

garmin forerunner 945 for swimming

Another excellent feature, as stated earlier, is the addition of the pulse oximeter sensor. The purpose of the sensor is to measure and monitor the blood oxygen saturation level. Measuring this metric allows the smartwatch to give you advanced insight into your sleeping pattern and altitude acclimatization. Altitude acclimatization is an important metric for hikers and mountain climbers.

Thus, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is out to cater to the needs of indoor sportsmen and outdoor sports lovers as well. Outside activities and sports tracking, the Garmin Forerunner 945 has features that allow you to analyze the data collected during the tracking. This feature provides more insight into your training methods and how it affects your fitness and general health.

Examples of these features are Training Status and Training Effects. These features utilize the heart-rate data and training history to help you determine when you should take a break from training. The latest in this line of features is the Training Load feature. This feature uses the training data garnered within four weeks to determine the physiological impact of training on your body.

Garmin Forerunner 945 activities and sports tracking

The Garmin Forerunner 945 displays the data analyzed by the Training Load feature into three categories. There is the Anaerobic Training Load, which includes activities that resulted in a quick jump in your heart rate. There is also the High Aerobic Training Load that includes workouts and exercises with mild or high intensity. Finally, the Low Aerobic Training Load shows the activities with low intensity.

Lastly, the Garmin Forerunner 945 features a Garmin Pay and Music Player application. The music player allows you to add and play about 1000 songs on the smartwatch. However, you can only enjoy this feature when connected to a computer. You can also store offline music playlists from streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify. You must have a premium subscription on these platforms for you to use this feature and connect through the Garmin Connect App.

Garmin Forerunner 945 for Music Player application

The Garmin Pay allows you to make payments right from the comfort of your smartwatch. However, being a new initiative, the feature only works with few banks and financial institutions in the UK.

The aforementioned features are some of the numerous smartwatch features embedded in the Garmin Forerunner 945. It is important to state at this point that the smartwatch doesn’t have an internet connection; thus, you need your smartphone and the Garmin Connect App to enjoy many of these smart features.

Sports Tracking

  • Dedicated Sports Mode
  • Provides sport-specific metrics
  • Suggests current sporting activity

In the previous section, much has been said about the features of the Garmin Forerunner 945 that allows it to effectively track sports activities. However, we would go into a more specific review in this section.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 has a dedicated sports mode that allows it to provide basic metrics for most sporting activities. These basic metrics include activity duration, amount of calories burned, and the rate of heartbeat. While these metrics are general for most sports, you get more detailed feedback and metrics on some specific sports.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Sports Tracking

These specific sports include swimming, cycling, and running. With swimming, you get detailed and specific metrics such as SWOLF, stroke rate, number of laps, or distance (depending on whether it is an indoor or outdoor pool). You can also deploy the GPS feature to track your swimming distance when using an outdoor pool or water body.

In what seems to be a downside, the Garmin Forerunner 945 cannot measure heart-rate during swimming. This is a downside because most fitness trackers and smartwatches attempt to measure this metric. Also, it seems like a waste of the smartwatch’s waterproof feature.

In Garmin’s defense, the company maintains that it is difficult to measure the optical heart-rate underwater as the water waves may interfere with the process. Rather, Garmin suggests the collaboration of the Garmin Forerunner 945 with a chest strap such as HRM-Swim.

Finally, the Garmin Forerunner 945 tries to suggest the activity or sport you are currently engaged in. while this feature doesn’t usually have accurate results, you can correct the result in the Garmin Connect App.

Activity Tracking

  • Body Battery feature for measuring energy levels
  • Stress monitor utilizing the heart-rate variability to determine stress levels

For a sports watch, the Garmin Forerunner 945 has impressive activity tracking features. These features include the basic and standard metrics such as the number of calories burned, number of steps taken/climbed, active minutes, and all-day heart rate. There are also specialized features that help measure your activities and their effects on your body.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Activity Tracking

One of these specialized features is the stress monitor, which uses the heart rate variability to measure the stress level of the body. There is also the Body Battery Feature that measures your body’s energy level based on a scale of 100.

Lastly, you can use the Training Load feature and its insights to determine the effect of some activities on your body.

Sleep Tracking

  • Uses pulse oximeter for advanced sleep analysis

Again, because the Garmin Forerunner series is primarily a sports watch, there is no much emphasis on its non-sport tracking activities such as sleep tracking. Thus, all users get in terms of sleep tracking, and analysis includes sleep duration and levels.

Garmin Forerunner 945 Sleep Tracking

However, with the Garmin Forerunner 945 and its new pulse oximeter sensor, there is an advanced sleep tracking ability. The sensor measures the saturation level of the blood oxygen and uses this metric to provide advanced insights into the sleep of users.

Battery Life

  • Strong battery lasting about two weeks in smartwatch mode
  • The battery lasts 36 hours in GPS mode

The Garmin Forerunner 945’s battery is strong and lasts long. Whether or not you use the sporting features, the battery lasts for as long as two weeks. However, should you need to use the GPS feature and music player together, the battery lasts for about 10 hours. Ditching the music player helps you save more battery life, giving you 36 hours of continuous GPS usage.

Garmin Forerunner 945’s battery

Finally, the smartwatch uses a charger. Thus, you can replenish the energy if and when it dwindles.

The following features drain the Garmin Forerunner 945 battery a lot, so you should be careful when using them

  • Music Streaming
  • Heart-Rate Monitoring
  • Pulse Oximeter Sensor

Who's this for?

Garmin Forerunner 945 for sports people

The Garmin Forerunner 945 was made for sportspeople, regardless of the type of sport you engage in. The smartwatch has numerous features that runners, cyclists, swimmers, and other sportspeople will benefit from. Also, if you are big on outdoor sports, such as hiking and the likes, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is an important accessory for you.

Lastly, non-sport people can also benefit immensely from this smartwatch. There are some lifestyle and health features that people that are not sport-inclined can also benefit from.


As it is for most digital products, there are alternatives and competitors for the Garmin Forerunner 945. In this section, we will discuss the difference between these alternatives and the Garmin Forerunner 945.

Spec Forerunner 945 Garmin Fenix 6 Garmin Fenix 5
Design Lightweght but average display resolution Heavy but excellent display resolution Heavier but excellent display resolution.
Sports Tracking Includes basic and standard sports tracking Adds extra sports tracking such as Boat modes, Tactical modes, and Ski Support Includes basic and standard sports tracking
Smart Features Yes Yes Yes
Battery Strength Two weeks on Smartwatch mode Two weeks on smartwatch mode Twelve days in smartwatch mode

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The Garmin Fenix 6 is one of the top smartwatches produced by Garmin under the Fenix Series. The smartwatch has numerous similar features with the Garmin Forerunner 945, being products of the same maker. Part of these similarities includes the waterproof feature, possession of smart features, and many more.

Equally, there are numerous differences between the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Garmin Forerunner 945. An example is an advanced sport tracking feature that you find on the Garmin Fenix 6, which includes Boat modes, Tactical modes, and Ski Support.

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This alternative to the Garmin Forerunner 945 is another product of the Garmin Fenix Series. Although a lower product in the series, it is also top quality and features some similarities with the Garmin Forerunner 945. One of the differences between this smartwatch and the Garmin Forerunner 945 is its weaker battery capacity. While the Garmin Forerunner 945 can last over two weeks in smartwatch mode, you only get about twelve days with the Garmin Fenix 5.


The Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the top products from Garmin. With this product, the reputable smartwatch manufacturer caters to the needs of sportspeople and lovers of outdoor activities.

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