Garmin Forerunner 245 and 245 Music
Replacing the Forerunner 235, this new running watch features a slick new design, an improved screen, lighter weight, and some of the company’s most advanced sensors for additional tracking features. Much like its predecessor, the Forerunner 245 comes in two forms—a basic version, and a second version that adds onboard music storage to the mix via the usual host of digital music services (Spotify, Amazon Music, etc).
At a basic level this is a solid upgrade from its predecessor without bothering to reinvent the wheel —a practice we see far too often in the fitness tracking space. With integrated music capabilities, Garmin enhances the basic runner’s watch with helpful training features. It can track your running form and suggest improvements, as well as features specifically tailored for those training for marathons and 5Ks. The music capabilities are welcome, though not always intuitive.
The 245 retains the five-button layout common to the Forerunner series, though the important start/stop button now has red-lined markings for increased visibility. Garmin did the difficult task of making the case size smaller, now 42mm instead of 44mm for the previous Forerunner 235, yet the screen is much more colorful, doesn’t wash out in sunlight as easily, and fills the entire shape of the case. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 ensures durability. While there is no touchscreen, we found that the five-button layout was intuitive enough to scroll through different data sets such as heart rate, health tracking, running analysis, weather, and notifications synced to a smartphone. The screen is customizable, though a formidable array of menus reflect the features Garmin was able to pack into one watch.
Since the Forerunner series is aimed at runners, as its name reflects, one helpful feature is its ability to analyze one’s running form, which means that it can detect such specifics as cadence, ground contact, balance, and stride, among others. Some additional helpful features include Training Status and Training Load, which tracks your progres and allows you to access past results from the last seven days of workouts. Aerobic and anaerobic effects are also a boon to runners in building endurance and power, and the Forerunner 245 divides your workout into low-intensity, high-intensity aerobic, and anaerobic categories.
The 245 shares the previous Forerunner 235’s optical heart rate tracking, and it is compatible with chest heart rate monitors as well as the Running Dynamics Pod, sold separately from Garmin. The Forerunner 245 has the ability to display your running route, but it doesn’t come with preinstalled maps. Further tracking can be synced to the Garmin app for iOS or Android.
Tracking: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo tracking.
Training: Personalized training and recovery insight that monitors every workout.
Garmin Coach: Personalized training plans include distance running for 5Ks up to full marathons.
Menstrual Cycle Tracking: Lets the user log physical and emotional symptoms and other information in the Garmin Connect app during phases of their cycle.
Body Battery Energy Monitoring: Suggests when to get rest based on your vital signs, activity and stress levels.
Music storage: Up to 500 songs, with access to popular apps like Spotify or Amazon Music.
Battery life: Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music.
The music feature is something that most runners aren’t willing to train without these days, and for good reason. There’s nothing more cumbersome than dealing with wedging your smartphone into the pocket of your running shorts, or strapping on one of those smartphone armbands. For a $50 upgrade, it’s pretty easy to see the value in this if you’re a seasoned runner. For those who opt for the music variant, playlists can be downloaded in no time from Spotify via the Forerunner 245’s built-in WiFi. Switching between playlists wasn’t very intuitive, however, and the buttons can be tough to access for skipping tracks while in motion. Bluetooth was easy to connect to, and never dropped its signal.
A healthy battery life and specific tracking metrics devoted to running make this watch a winner, albeit one that is tuned towards a very specific niche in the market. It’s good to see Garmin incorporating its more advanced features like menstrual cycle tracking and what it calls Body Battery across its lineup, which makes this a suitable replacement for the Forerunner 235. For $349 it remains at a competitive price point, and the 245 without music packs even more value at $299. It will soon be a device that serious runners can’t train without.
Frequently Asked Questions
Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music
Number of Available Colors
Type Of Display
Sunlight-Visible, Transflective Memory-In-Pixel (MIP)
1.2" (30.4mm) diameter
240 x 240
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance Rating
Swim, 5 ATM
Max Battery Life
What is included in the box?
Garmin Forerunner 245/245 Music, Charge/data cable, Documentation
On-board music storage
NFC Touchless Payment