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Garmin Forerunner 945 – After 4000 kilometers

Tags: Review | Garmin | Smart

3.6.2022 | 7 MIN

To give you the exact numbers, as of today, I have spent 370 days and 4,263 kilometers running and some kilometers on a bike with the Garmin Forerunner 945 model. I came across some errors, but overall? A job well done by Garmin.

Well done is a grade that the watch deserves, but when I consider the price/performance ratio, it might get even higher. Why? Let me emphasize here, in the beginning, some things that are awesome and some that slightly disappointed me:

Battery life
GPS accuracy

Movement on the map

The frame around the display

I note from the beginning that this article is very subjective as 4000 km is 4000 km. So if you disagree with me on some things, that's fine. 10 people, 10 opinions.:-)

Fenix 3 – Polar Vantage M – Forerunner 245 – Forerunner 945

My journey through the watch world over the last three years has been worth it. Before I get to the 945s, I'll fly quickly through my smartwatch history. The Fenix 3 is a model with balls, let's be real. But then it got old, and I needed new blood oxygen. I was content with the Vantage M when it came to the sports functions, but other things were so illogical it almost hurt, so I had only spent about 3 weeks with it, raced the UTMB race, and moved on.

Then, as a poor student, I purchased the Garmin Forerunner 245, and you could say that it was my "I can settle for less" period. The watch is not bad, not at all! But I wanted something bigger and... better. When I got an offer to test the 945 model for a long time, I didn't hesitate for a second and said yes, thinking it to be the best watch I've ever had.

464,00 € in stock

The Martians are attacking

Yes, the Forerunner 945 can do everything the Fenix series can, plus it is lighter. What a steal, right? What you probably expect is that the lightweight must be visible somewhere. The appearance of the Forerunner is simply a sports tester that saves every gram for your acceleration and so often achieves the look of Martian multivitamins watch. A plastic case, no bezel, just maximum aerodynamic scales for performance.

But to tell you the truth, I wore the watch everywhere I went, training, social events, and my graduation. The highest model has a somewhat better appearance, so you can wear it almost anywhere. I'm not saying it's right, but it is possible.

Garmin Fenix 6 reviews - number one among outdoor watches
Garmin Fenix 6 reviews - number one among outdoor watches

After a year of use (usually trail runs), you can naturally see a few scars on this plastic piece. If you are okay with it, cool.But if you want to protect the watch, I'd recommend a silicone case cover. It protects the case as well as the display. It's a pity that the display hasn't changed from the Forerunner 935, and the display still has the same ring around that could be replaced by a more expanded display.

Why is it the best of the Forerunner series?

"I would recommend the watch because it has maps, music, and other useful smart features. Other Forerunner models are deprived of some of these features." Probably the most common sentence I hear at the store, on the Internet, or among my friends. Yes, it's true, the watch has maps, music, card payments, and many other tweaks. Let's look at the most important ones with my eyes.

I, for example, consider maps to have minimal use because navigation on a blind map is absolutely sufficient, as evidenced by the Garmin Enduro. No unnecessary colors, just a drawn route on a blind map. Yes, even I can sense that this might be really one-sided, so let me tell you what you lose by not having a map on the watch.

A great feature is the round-trip circular creator, where you enter the distance, and Garmin will offer you several training options based on the popularity of the routes with other users. Topographic maps also have the advantage of navigating according to contour lines when you get lost on a hill (I have used them several times). And, of course, extended navigation options right in the watch, which you don't have on a blind map since you don't see anything there.

What about music? I know many people who use music quite regularly, and because they only run near their house, they leave their phones at home and count on the music from their watch. Even the way it works is great. You have the watch on your wrist, so you don't have to deal with where to put your phone. I usually run without music, but once, I used the 945 model as an MP3 player for a race. I took the strap off and put it in my pocket.

The best "tweak" is then the payment by card. It is amazing to run places and use your wrist to pay for your refreshments. I would say that this feature is super necessary, and I am very much pleased with the NFC payment. Several times I finished running up the hill tired and bought Coke so I could run to another hill. If only payment terminals were more popular in the mountains...

Summa summarum, in terms of smart features, the watch has almost every available feature on the market. Maps, music, and a credit card are all very useful in the watch. And if, for example, you don't have maps because you preferred the Forerunner 745 model, or the Enduro, I recommend finding a running partner who owns a Fenix or Tactix, and the problem is solved.

The watch lasts 14 days in smartwatch mode

No, it doesn't really last that long, but yes, it does. It is necessary to clarify what the smartwatch mode is and why I have never achieved this endurance. The smartwatch mode only provides all-day heart rate monitoring, stress monitoring, body battery, sleep, receiving notifications, etc. This mode does not include active GPS, so all GPS monitoring will take a few days off the battery life.

For me, the reality was around 5 days when under the greatest pressure. I ran over 70 kilometers over work days, and then I charged it due to longer training sessions in the mountains, which would probably be too much for the watch. And of course, I also used the watch as a smartwatch and wallet.

6 hodin v pohybu vzalo sotva pár procent baterky.:-)

6 hours in motion took barely a few percent of the battery life. :-)

So the endurance is great, although it may not seem like it from the numbers. The last thing is endurance while using GPS. There is also a tiny catch. Garmin reports 36 hours, but only on GPS. At the same time, it has set options for various sports in combination with the GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems. Of course, the endurance decreases when using the combination, so the normal user may be surprised that the endurance does not reach the 36 promised hours.

I managed to achieve around 30 hours in endurance tests, with the GLONASS + GPS combination, which is not bad, and it is enough for almost every race you can think of. And I have to highlight the capacity of the battery did not drop an inch, which I was very happy about.

A small piece of advice for your battery life. My friend also got this model and told me he liked it but that he only gets about 3 to 4 days of battery life. We found out that he has all-day pulse oximeter measurements turned on. That might be the biggest battery life consumer, so be careful with that.

Two years and still up to date

These watches have been on the market for less than two years and were considered the best Garmin had at the time (the Fenix 6 was released after the Forerunner 945). The Forerunner didn't have all the features of the later released Fenix, but gradually, slowly, these new features also got in. Although the updates for the 945 are released with a delay, but it is still happening, so we can look forward to the sleep widget, Daily Training Suggestions, Improved Recovery Time, and improved Body Battery measurements.

Is it worth buying a two-year-old model or should you wait for the 955?

Yes, buying the two-year-old model is worth it. And it is also worth waiting for the Forerunner 955 if you have the nerves. To return to the first thought, this watch will still be awesome in a few years. It has all the important features for a runner, so it is not a problem to get it now, or even in a year.

There are many question marks about the new Forerunner generation. Will it be this year? Will it be able to make calls? Will it have improved insides enough to be interesting? We believe that the FR 955 will be another blast worth waiting for that well keep the good name of the longest running Garmin series.

Důstojné rozloučení s hodinkami

A dignified farewell to the watch in the hodinky365 jersey.:-)

Confession of a runner

Anyone who puts this watch on the wrist knows that it is something special. I felt the same way the first time I held it. Well, and then I just didn't take it off. You could say that the watch is one of the biggest weapons for runners(not counting the legs). Having great and accurate records of your training units is simply the basis for us to keep moving.

Unfortunatelly, I was not able to race with it as much as I wanted. The pandemie striked and all the races were cancelled or moved. I managed to stand with thewatch on the podium of Hostýnská Osma in 2020 and then it only experienced the same race with me the following year, where unfortunately not everything turned out exactly as it should. But the watch was a heck of a parrtner and the year I spent with it was unforgetable. Looking at my training calender makes me really happy.

Počet kilometrů není špatný, ale dalo by se to zlepšit

The mileage is not bad, but still it can improve.

In the end, I'll just say that it is a good watch. It really is. Sometimes I gave it some harsh treatment (in this article and while training), but it always rose victorious. For everybody considering this purchase, I have a simple message. You are not making a mistake as it is a watch you won't want to take off.


Watches mentioned in the article