Garmin Forerunner 945
Aimed at distance runners and triathlon participants, the Forerunner 945 is Garmin’s flagship model, complete with full-color maps, advanced performance monitoring for rugged trails, and hefty construction to survive journeys far off the beaten path.
The Forerunner series has always been a critical part of an advanced athlete’s regimen, especially with advanced tracking features and Garmin Coach, which offers free adaptive training plans including recovery and workout routines. While it is expensive, some of the features, such as altitude acclimation and barometric altimeter can be considered indispensable, though it is definitely a niche player in this space. Novice users might find this particular model daunting.
A no-nonsense black-on-black design on a perforated silicone strap, the Forerunner 945 is simple and rugged, with a polymer case and bezel that contribute to its light weight (just 50 grams). The Forerunner 945 comes with five buttons, which don’t intrude onto the range of motion of your wrist. The Start/Stop button is a little thicker than the rest, owing to its importance in timing, and can be easily pressed under a jacket or with gloves on. The full-color screen is always on, and at 240×240 pixels it isn’t of the highest resolution. The Corning Gorilla Glass DX is scratch-resistant, which is vital for the wild conditions that it’ll be subjected to.
Packed with a dizzying array of features that justify its high price, the Forerunner 945 can monitor performance across 30 disciplines. There is support for sports including skiing, swimming, and cycling, but trail and distance running is clearly the Forerunner 945’s forte. While running, a user can look down and browse through six different metrics, all customizable. Garmin has upgraded its heart rate sensor to Elevate v3, for more accuracy, bundling it with a pulse oximeter that can monitor blood oxygen levels. For those who train at higher altitudes, or are climbing mountains, this feature is vital for altitude acclimation. There is also something called the “body battery,” which monitors energy stores. This bonus feature is likely only useful for the most advanced athletes, and can be hard to find, buried within the Forerunner 945’s endless features.
Once-advanced tracking measurements like advanced sleep cycle analysis and a heart rate monitor that is alwys on are now industry standards, and the Forerunner 945 inherits all of Garmin’s advanced metrics. This also includes stress level monitoring, which results in breathing and relaxation techniques, and the pulse oximeter to measure oxygen levels while you’re sleeping.
The low-res screen doesn’t make the maps look good, while panning and zooming can be slightly frustrating, as they’re accomplished only through the buttons. Still, the map has the ability to log your runs and can even recommend new trails from an internal database. TracBack will allow you to explore and then navigate back to your starting point, such as a house or vehicle.
Tracking: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo tracking on color maps with panning and zooming.
Pulse Ox sensor: Gauges your blood oxygen saturation to see how your body takes in oxygen during the day.
Performance monitoring: Includes readouts for heat, altitude acclimation status, training load focus, and recovery time.
Stress monitoring: Connected to the heart rate montior, it can display breathing and relaxation techniques throughout the day.
Training: Garmin’s Pacepro feature provides guidance mapped to topographical route courses.
Music storage: Up to 500 songs or 3.5 gigabytes, with access to popular apps like Spotify or Amazon Music.
Payment: Garmin Pay syncs to your credit card for contactless payments.
Battery life: Up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music or up to 60 hours in UltraTrac™ mode.
Reflecting its hyper-specificity (and its price tag), the Forerunner 945 has the ability to track aerobic and anaerobic training effects and give feedback for exacting conditions and targets of improvement. Climb Pro can spot the steep parts of a trail, while Training Load Focus breaks your workout into low-intensity, high-intensity aerobic, and anaerobic categories. Temperature levels are also considered during tracking.
Not just for the casual runner, this Forerunner 945 is a make-or-break tool for anyone training for a triathlon, or other focused discipline. Some of these features are difficult to navigate through, and might not be worth its $599 price, but they will be worth it to a select few.
Frequently Asked Questions
Garmin Forerunner 945
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
Max Battery Life
What is included in the box?
Garmin Forerunner 945 GPS watch, charging cable, documentation
On-board music storage
NFC Touchless Payment