Garmin took four years since 2015 to bring the successor to Garmin Forerunner 235, but it was worth the wait. The Forerunner 245 came with unique features, tracking options, and sensor updates.
What’s more? The watch is sportier than its predecessor as it gives you better feedback on your strength training and swimming to help you improve, as well as daily stress insights thanks to Elevate heart rate sensor.
In addition, it comes with a better battery, lasting twice as much as its predecessor with GPS on. There is a lot crammed in this compact running watch, although its design doesn’t match its class. Lets take a look at the features.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music Overview
- V02 Max, an indicator of your performance targets
- Pulse Ox Sensor to estimate your blood oxygen saturation
- Training Status to show performance indicators
- Training Effect feedback to show how workouts influence your speed, power, and endurance
- Training Load to measure your exercise volume
- Wrist-based heart rate
- Built in GPS
- Display Size: 1.2 inches (30.4mm) diameter
- Display Type: sunlight-visible translective
- Display Resolution: 240 by 240 pixels
- Weight: 38 grams
- Battery Life: Can last up to 7 days when in smartwatch mode; 1 day while in GPS mode, and about 6 hours in GPS mode plus music streaming
- Water Rating: 5ATM
- Bezel Material: Stainless steel
- Lens Material: Corning Gorilla Glass
- Strap material: Silicone
Sports and Activity Tracking Features
If there is an area Garmin has improved in leaps and bounds is in its sports-tracking capabilities and feedback, which gives users deeper insights into their performance and how workout has impacted their development.
Like its predecessor, there are 16 preset tracking options, including run trail run, yoga, treadmill, indoor track, cycling, walking, indoor rowing, indoor cycling, indoor walking, stair stepper, and elliptical.
New options added to the 245 are strength workout tracking and swimming. The best part is that you can customize the watch to suit your needs as you can create your own workout in the ‘other’ option.
Another thing we liked in the Forerunner is the user-friendly interface. For people who have used the Forerunner 235, you will agree with us that the 245 interface is better. By this, we mean the fonts and icons are larger and more stylish, and there are colorful, making it easier to operate the watch while on the go.
Garmin also made better use of widgets in this version, presenting data in more digestible chunks. You can get a drop-down menu by tapping the Up button on your watch’s home screen. Here, you will find information such as steps, weather, music controls, last activity, calendar, and notifications, just to name a few.
The Garmin Forerunner 245 has 5 buttons, 3 on the left and 2 on the right. An example is shown below:
In addition, just like in the Fenix 6 and the Forerunner 945, Garmin has included a pulse oximeter in this watch, a feature that was previously reserved on high-end watches.
The pulse oximeter is a sensor that measures the oxygen saturation in your blood. Your oxygen saturation shows whether your body is adapting to exercises or is entering the stress stage, especially when training at high altitudes.
The pulse oximeter sensor shines light into the skin and monitoring how it gets absorbed, then records the reading as a SpO2 percentage, which you can access via the Garmin Connect App.
Additionally, the heart rate monitor identifies your heart rate variability during workouts. The watch uses the rate of heartbeat to discern warm-up, aerobic, easy, and maximum mode. Also, it can detect abnormal heart rates and alerts you if your heartbeat per minute is unusual.
The ability to monitor stress levels all day is another outstanding feature that is added to the 245. You will find the Firstbeat tool reminding you to maintain low-stress levels as well as the importance of taking enough rests to recover during training sessions.
The feature utilizes heart rate variability (HRV) to allow you to see how much time your body was stress and how successful it was able to offset these stressful moments through recoveries.
In other words, if your body is struggling to handle stress, the Firstbeat tool will notify you and advise you to rest and recover.
Away from that, the Forerunner 245 also excels in activity tracking. Not only will you get detailed insights regarding your workouts, but also you will be able to review them with ease.
The Performance Condition metric is another new feature added to the 245, which assesses your performance potential. It analyzes pace and heart rate to give you a condition score as you get started with your activity.
For runners, the Garmin Forerunner 245 has everything for you – from distance and speed to pace, you can track your stats while on the go.
Overall, the Forerunner 245 tracks all activities, including yoga and cycling, with greater accuracy thanks to the Garmin Elevate optical heart rate sensor that uses LED lights to judge heart rate.
One slight disappointment is that the 245 lacks a multi-sports tracking option, which means you can’t track your triathlons’ attempts. The main reason for this is because it doesn’t track open water swimming. So even though you could record a “custom” activity, it wouldn’t provide you with the breakdown as a Fenix model might.
Design and Display
The Forerunner 245 was not made with aesthetics in mind and thus won’t suit people who are looking for something that will look pretty on their wrists. Majorly focused on helping runners track their fitness levels, the Garmin Forerunner 245 includes advanced sports tracking capabilities, but the design is a trade-off.
Its largely plastic casing doesn’t make it feel or look overly expensive. Its mere 38.5 grams and a 30.4mm diameter screen make it feel less obtrusive on the wrist.
However, on the positive side, the watch’s lightweight design, in addition to its comfortable silicone strap, makes it a comfortable piece to wear during workouts and sporting activities. Rarely will you notice that you are wearing it even during a yoga class or while sleeping.
The display in the 245 has been upgraded from 215 by 180 resolution on the 235 to a 240 by 240 resolution, which means you get better details. The 1.2-inch screen size is also ideal – it’s big enough for you to see data without struggling but still small enough for others to peep into your private figures.
The screen brightness is perfect thanks to the transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) technology which illuminates the screen with the help of external light sources.
Therefore, at no given time will you struggle to see what’s displayed on the screen. Everything will be illuminated brightly, even in direct sunlight.In a dark environment, there is an LED backlight that lights up when required. This helps to save on battery life.
Sleep Tracking Features
If there is an area we found the Forerunner 245 struggling, it is in the sleep tracking. Yes, Garmin claims that this watch can monitor total sleep, restful sleep, and periods of movement during sleep.
However, when put to the test, the 245 didn’t pick up some key events. Overall, the 245 lacks the depth and accuracy needed to track sleep.
On the brighter side, the Forerunner is able to detect when you fall asleep and when you wake up. This is really an area that all smartwatches are working on and not just Garmin – sleep is a hard thing to track.
In addition, you can enable the Pulse Ox Sensor to record oxygen saturation in the blood when sleeping.
We’ve found that the feature is good to maintain some sort of consistency though. At least even if the stats are skewed, you will get a rough idea of how your sleep is going and be able to track this in your day to day life to see if you’re losing periods of sleep which is very important.
What We Liked
- The 245 has all a runner and fitness enthusiast needs. In addition to having accurate heart rate tracking and GPS, you also get the ability to watch and analyze the effects of your workouts.
- The battery life is impressive for such a feature-rich watch. You can use the 245 for seven days when in smartwatch mode and six hours when in GPS mode, plus streaming music.
- The watch is very comfortable and lightweight. You will rarely notice it when sleeping or running.
- You can add up to 500 songs in the watch’s music library or even link up with Spotify or Deezer premium account to sync your playlist automatically.
- The sweat-proof silicone band and durable Gorilla Glass make this watch worth its price.
- You get a variety of free apps through Garmin’s CIQ to make the watch more functional.
What We Didn’t Like
- The watch lacks open-water swimming mode or triathlon, making it not ideal for multisport athletes. These features are only available in high-end models such as Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945.
- Also, the Forerunner 245 lacks a biometric altimeter to track the number of floors climbed.
- For people who have never used smartwatches, the Garmin 245 may have a steeper learning curve.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Comparisons
Polar Ignite 2
For the fitness enthusiast, the Polar Ignite is an alternative to the 245. This well-designed little device offers a lot for its price – from recovery insights to workout recommendations.
The Polar Ignite has everything you would need in a fitness monitoring device. It also has a larger screen and is more affordable. However the battery life is not as great as the 245. There is also no Accelerometer on the Ignite.
If you can sacrifice these small concerns then its definitely worth considering.
Garmin Forerunner 645
For people who want high-end GPS watches, the Garmin Forerunner 645 fits the bill. It’s available in standard and music models and has advanced features, including a barometric altimeter that suits rock climbers. It also comes with more exercise modes, including snowboarding, skiing and Triathlons.
Not to mention that it comes with Garmin Pay functionality, which lacks in the 245, to help you make contactless payments.
We can recommend the Forerunner 645 to people who value a lightweight multisport watch that doesn’t sit big on their wrists and Fenix 6X Pro to people who want a smartwatch with a more prominent display and better battery life.
Despite lacking in sleep tracking features and design, the Forerunner 245 is a great running tool that will help you track sporting activities brilliantly.
For an average runner who doesn’t care about having advanced performance metrics as those on newer models such as Garmin Forerunner 945, then the 245 is probably a better fit. Not only does it deliver detailed training insights to satisfy runners at different levels, but it also has a comfortable fit and ample battery capacity.
The Forerunner 245 is also an ideal GPS watch for individuals who want to track their general fitness levels accurately.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.