Sport Passion   -  advice and training tips

Garmin Forerunner 245 and 245 Music: another successful watch

by Philippe Baudoin © Copyright (published 21/10/2019)
garmin Forerunner 245 white watch

After the worldwide success of the old model, this new watch with advanced training should be a hit!

New in 2019, this watch designed for running has been improved so much that it compares to the model above, the Forerunner 645, for much less money. It offers advanced training functions, GPS navigation and an optional mp3 player. It is currently the best value for money running watch. Detailed review and advice on a watch that should be very successful.

Buy Forerunner 245

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Price (from)
 
Lepape
299 €
284.05 € (*1)
i-Run
299 €
Alltricks
299 €
249.99 €

(*1) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code 5A15 !

Buy Forerunner 245 Music

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
349 €
331.55 € (*1)
i-Run
349 €
Alltricks
349 €
299 €
Amazon
349 €
329 €

(*1) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code 5A15 !

Commercial links. Prices are not contractual. Please visit the merchant site.

After the worldwide success of the Forerunner 235, Garmin now offers the Forerunner 245, a new and much more complete running watch that now includes functions for cycling and swimming. This model has been so much improved that it now looks more like a Forerunner 645, one of the brand's top-of-the-range models, than the model it is supposed to upgrade. In short, the Forerunner 245 takes the best of the Forerunner 645 plus some of the features of the Fenix 5, all in an ultra-light case, a longer battery life and an optional mp3 player. It is difficult to find a better watch for the functions and price proposed (see above).

Features of Forerunner 245

Weight
38.5 g
Size
42.3 x 42.3 mm x 12.2 mm
Screen
Color, anti-reflective, 240 x 240 px
Autonomy
24 h in GPS mode, 7 days in clock mode, 6 h in GPS mode with music
GPS
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo
Multisports
-
Recommended activities
Running, swimming (pool), outdoor, indoor sports (16 sports)
Connectivity
iPhone, Android, PC, Mac. Bluetooth wireless data transfer.
Cardio-frequency meter
Yes, cardio optics on the wrist (HRM-Run belt supported)
Topographic maps
-
Music player
Yes on Forerunner 245 Music
Payment system
-
Telephony / 4G
-
Barometric altimeter
No (GPS altimeter)
Barometer
-
Compass
Yes
Thermometer
-
Meteo
Yes
Waterproof
5 ATM (50 m)
Other
Oximeter, advanced training tools, GPS navigation, activity monitoring, SOS function in case of an incident
Garmin Forerunner 245 and 245 Music : with or without mp3 player, GPS navigation advanced training tools

Quick presentation of the Forerunner 245 and 245 Music

Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music in brief: the right compromise for running

Released in May 2019, the Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music are two connected sports watches of mid-range, lightweight and long autonomy, designed for running. They are also suitable for many other sports (16 on-board profiles including swimming, trail, yoga, weight training, rowing, step, elliptical bike, cardio training, treadmill, indoor running).

graphic display running watch
Very complete, Forerunner 245 is a watch with guaranteed success

This new model is a significantly improved version of the Forerunner 235, a watch with worldwide success (best worldwide sales for the brand), and now offering almost as many features as the Forerunner 645 or 645 Music.

Garmin offers it in 2 versions: the Forerunner 245 Music (with integrated mp3 player and 500 song storage capacity) and the Forerunner 245 (exactly the same watch but without mp3 player and without Wi-Fi).

This new model has everything you need for running training and now includes features for cycling and swimming (pool).

It offers everything you need to train and monitor your performance and even offers advanced GPS navigation (tracking, guidance). Its advanced training tools (physiological, metric and dynamic running measurements) are complete for very good performance monitoring.

It also features a pulse oximeter for measuring acclimatisation at altitude and to heat, a new Body Battery function, incident assistance (fall detection, SOS call), an activity monitoring function (number of steps, distance, calories, detailed sleep and stress analysis) and Smartphone notifications.

It seems to us the running watch with the best price-quality ratio.

Who should buy Forerunner 245?

This watch is intended for all athletes, from beginners to advanced, who are looking for advanced tools to train, optimize their performance or have detailed statistics on their activity. It is perfect for long races (marathon, ultramarathon) and offers additional functions for swimming and cycling. It is also suitable for trail but it does not offer a barometric altimeter (no altitude profile, no climb speed measurements, no elevation gain, etc.). For the trail, the Forerunner 645 or Forerunner 645 Music and of course the Forerunner 945, the best current running and triathlon watch on the market, will be more suitable.

Overview of the new features of the Forerunner 245 and 245 Music

The main new features of Forerunner 245 (compared to Forerunner 235) are numerous. We only list the main points here. For more details, see our Forerunner 235 vs 245 vs 645 Comparison.

  • A screen with a higher resolution
  • Greater autonomy (24 hours instead of 15 hours in GPS mode)
  • An mp3 player (Music version only)
  • GPS navigation
  • Many more functions (advanced training, metrics, physiological measurements, bicycle and swimming functions)
  • A pulse oximeter
  • Incident detection and assistance function
  • Compatibility with the European satellite system Galileo (in addition to GPS and GLONASS)

Detailed review of Forerunner 245

Design and weight: lighter and lighter and with better resolution

Garmin improves the design of its watch by offering a smaller case of 3 mm (42,3 mm in diameter instead of 45 mm) but a screen of almost the same size (30,4 mm instead of 30,1 mm), the gain being obtained by a thinner screen border.

The resolution is increased from 215 x 180 px to 240 x 240 px, as on the high-end watch Forerunner 945. The thickness of the case does not change much (12,2 mm, i.e. 0,5 mm more).

The weight of the watch has been reduced from 42 to 38.5 g, a few grams lighter. We're dealing with a very light watch!

Autonomy: 24 hours in GPS mode!

Garmin significantly improves the autonomy of their watch, going from 15 h to 24 h in GPS mode. The feat was achieved in part thanks to Sony's new GPS chip, which is more economical but also a little less accurate (see below). A power saving function has also been added (UltraTrac function: recording GPS data less often, ie with lower accuracy. Heart rate data is not recorded). The battery life decreases slightly in the watch mode (7 days versus 9 days). It is 6 hours maximum in GPS mode with music.

Note that it is not possible to charge the watch without stopping the recording of the current activity.

Watch modeGPS modeGPS mode with musicUltratrac mode
9 dayss24 h6 hNot communicated
Autonomy of the Forerunner 245 and 245 Music

The GPS chip: more economical, Galileo in addition

As with its new watches Forerunner 45 and 945, Garmin is adopting a new, more energy-efficient Sony GPS chip on its Forerunner 245. It is the same chip used by Polar and Suunto on their latest sports watches (Vantage, Suunto 9). The accuracy would be a little less good because of the technology used, more energy efficient. However, software updates allow this to be partially corrected.

This chip is compatible with the American GPS, Russian GLONASS and European Galileo satellite systems. Garmin has chosen to activate compatibility with Galileo. This should allow for greater coverage in disadvantaged areas but also improve signal capture time (in theory).

The optical sensor: an oximeter in addition to the heart rate sensor and possible use underwater

optical sensor with oximeter
The new optical sensor will operate underwater and includes a pulse oximeter

Forerunner 245 is equipped with an optical heart rate sensor. Like Polar and its Vantage V, it will now work underwater. You will just have to wait for a software update for that. The watch also supports a cardio belt HRM-Run but no HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri belt.

Garmin also adds to its sports connected watch the famous pulseOX function, a pulse oximeter (or saturometer), which had been one of the innovations of the Fenis 5X Plus. This is an additional red LED to complement the cardio LEDs. Garmin uses this new function to measure blood oxygen saturation and evaluate acclimatization at altitude. This device is used in medical settings. It should be noted that the measurement is delicate and must be carried out without moving. It is therefore questionable whether the measurements will be relevant to a moving person.

The other sensors: a compass and Wi-Fi on the Music version

In addition to the new heart rate sensor and Sony GPS chip, the watch offers a digital compass (new), an accelerometer (to evaluate the distance covered in the room, on a treadmill, elliptical, etc.), but still no gyroscope or thermometer.

It has a barometer operating from GPS but no barometric altimeter, which limits the sports profiles (skiing for example) and the functions for trail and hiking.

It also supports a number of external sensors via ANT+ and Bluetooth: cadence sensor (running and cycling), speed sensor (running and cycling), HRM-Run cardio belt, footpod, Varia Vision, Varia Radar and Varia lights. However, it is not possible to add a power sensor.

Wi-Fi is available on the Forerunner 245 Music and is used for playlist synchronization. It is not available on Forerunner 245.

A mp3 player and access to Deezer and Spotify on Forerunner 245 Music

mp3 player
The Forerunner 245 has an mp3 player and a storage capacity of 500 songs

After introducing an mp3 player on the Forerunner 645 Music (the top range for runners and trailers) and then on its Vivoactive 3 recently replaced by Vivoactive 4 (a multi-sport connected sports watch for all profiles, sports or not), Garmin finally extends this function to its other mid- and high-end watches (most recently Forerunner 945 and Forerunner 245 Music). You can run light without having to carry a Smartphone on your arm to go running. A pair of wireless Bluetooth headsets will suffice. The watch can store up to 500 songs in its memory. You can also listen to music in streaming via Deezer or Spotify (paid subscription).

Advanced training tools: good progress

Forerunner 245 takes over the functions of Forerunner 235. The watch already offered interesting functions, including the possibility of programming interval training sessions, training programs downloadable into the watch, calculation of the VO2max, Training Effect 2.0 aerobic, audio instructions, a running time predictor (for running), cadence information (with compatible sensor).

But that's not all. Garmin adds new features that make the Forerunner 245 really interesting for athletes looking for relevant performance monitoring tools. Most of the functions of the Forerunner 645 are found here.

The main functions added are as follows:

  • Training status: a function that allows to know if the training is sufficient. The function is based on a number of physiological measurements (VO2max, anaerobic threshold) and compares the exercise data with previous activities.
  • Training load: the watch evaluates the intensity of your training over the last 28 days and helps you to train in the optimal area in order to achieve your objectives
  • Anaerobic Training Effect: the watch evaluates the quality of your training, including the impact of physical activity on your aerobic and anaerobic capacities, and helps to estimate the effectiveness of your training. Garmin adds the anaerobic training effect on this model.
  • Running dynamics: oscillation and vertical ratio, ground contact time and balance, stride length (with compatible accessory).
  • Physical condition assessment: the watch compares the athlete's physical condition, after a few minutes of running, with the values recorded previously. This allows you to see where you stand and see if you have made any progress.
  • Stress level assessment: the watch evaluates the stress level throughout the day and offers breathing exercises to reduce it if necessary. This function is part of the activity monitoring functions.
  • body battery
    The Body battery is a new indicator that estimates your body energy
  • Body Battery: this function estimates the energy level of your body, just as one would estimate the level of an electric battery. Basically, the watch assesses your ability to make an effort. This level decreases with fatigue, stress, work, physical activity. It increases with rest, sleep, relaxation. This new indicator makes it possible to judge whether or not it is judicious, at a given moment, to go and play sports.
  • Physical age assessment (in the Garmin application)

GPS navigation

Unlike the Forerunner 235, which only offered a way back to departure and distance to destination functions, the Forerunner 245 offers complete navigation functions: point-to-point navigation, real-time breadcrumb trail (GPS track), TracBack (to come back on your steps by following the trail).

Functions for cycling and swimming

The Forerunner 235 was essentially running-oriented and did not offer, apart from a cycling profile and support for a cadence sensor, any functions for cycling and swimming. Forerunner 245 is here to correct this.

Added the following functions for cycling:

  • Race against a registered activity
  • Varia Compatibility (Vision, Radar, Lights)
  • Comparison with a recorded activity

Added the following functions for swimming in the pool:

  • Swimming profile
  • Swimming metrics (distances, number of lengths, pace, frequency of movements, number of calories expended)
  • Detection of the type of swimming among freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly
  • Swimming efficiency (SWOLF)
  • Recording of exercises
  • Swimming training program

Monitoring and security functions (assistance)

In addition to the LiveTrack function (allows you to be followed by friends on the web) already available on the old model, Garmin adds 3 useful functions:

  • Incident detection: depending on the sporting activity, the watch can detect a fall and send, via a Smartphone coupled to the watch, a request for assistance while transmitting the name and GPS coordinates of the athlete. This function had already been integrated on the high-end bicycle GPS Edge 1030 and, most recently, on Edge 530 and 830 models. Apple, which is increasingly focusing on safety and health, had also integrated fall detection and automatic emergency number dialling into its latest Apple Watch 4.
  • An assistance function: the user can request help from the watch (emergency call) and transmit his GPS coordinates
  • Real-time event sharing: the watch allows you to share real-time information with the community (position, route, etc.) (on Android only)

Connected functions: access information and control your home devices

The Forerunner 245 offers connected features, such as Smart notifications, the ability to answer or reject a call with SMS (new, on Android only), a "find my watch" function (new), a "find my phone" function, access to the calendar and weather, access to sunrise and sunset times (new). It can be used to control one VIRB camera. You can also download watchfaces, widgets and applications from Connect IQ.

Activity monitoring to stay motivated

For daily use, the watch follows your activity 24 hours a day: distance covered, number of steps taken, intensive minutes, calories burnt, sleep analysis (light, deep, REM sleep and movement analysis), etc. Garmin adds the "Body battery" function described above.

Comparison between Forerunner 235, 245 and 645

Comparison Forerunner 245 versus 235, the differences

Forerunner 245 incorporates all the features of Forerunner 235 and adds many changes. The design changes, the body is refined, the resolution increases, the weight decreases and the autonomy is almost doubled (24 hours versus 15 hours). Garmin adds GPS navigation, pool swimming features (not included in the old model), an optional mp3 player (Forerunner 245 Music), a host of new training features, relevant new metrics (training status and load, anaerobic training effect, running dynamics), physiological measurements, pulse oximeter, incident assistance, many more sports profiles, Varia compatibility, UltraTrack mode and more.

Comparison Forerunner 245 versus 645, the differences

The Forerunner 245 is closer to a 645 than a 235! Compared to the Forerunner 245, the Forerunner 645 offers a stainless steel bezel, a 14-hour autonomy (versus 24 hours), Garmin Pay, a barometric altimeter, a gyroscope, a thermometer, slightly more complete sports profiles thanks to the altimeter (ski for example, climb floors for activity monitoring), Strava segments and functions, altitude profiles, vertical speed, altitude difference, compatibility with a power sensor for cycling.

In return, Forerunner 245 offers a pulse oximeter, Body Battery function, incident detection and assistance, access to the Galileo satellite network.

Our opinion on the Forerunner 245 and 245 Music: should you buy it?

The best compromise and best price-quality ratio for a running watch

display training effect
The Forerunner 245 is a thin and light watch, pleasant to wear and excellent price-quality ratio. An excellent choice!

After the Forerunner 235, best worldwide sales of the brand, Forerunner 245 should have an even greater success given its very complete sensors and functions for the proposed price which remains rather correct. It is indeed an excellent choice for most runners.

More than an improved Forerunner 235, it looks more like the Forerunner 645 (the high-end watch just below the Forerunner 945, the top of the range) to which we have added some features of the Fenix 5 Plus, all for a price of 100 € less expensive!

It offers all the useful functions for running, advanced performance monitoring tools, an optional mp3 player, new functions for cycling and swimming and GPS navigation in addition. What more could you ask for?

It seems to us to be the most interesting watch for a runner who does not want to put too much money into a sports watch but who is still looking for advanced training tools without being too sophisticated either.

For a professional or enthusiast looking for the best running watches, you should look for the excellent Forerunner 945 which includes the colour mapping of Europe.

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For a smaller budget, we can move to the newest entry-level model Forerunner 45, which offers the essential functions to run.

For the trail, however, we recommend the Forerunner 645 which offers a barometric altimeter and more complete functions for the mountain: vertical speed, total ascent/descent, altitude profile. It will be better adapted. It is available in a version with or without an mp3 player and also offers the Garmin Pay payment solution. Or, but more expensive, the all-new Forerunner 945 which is the most complete running, trail and triathlon watch to date (May 2019). The Polar Vantage V can be a good alternative with its advanced training tools and wrist power measurement, but it is less extensive.

The Forerunner 245 Music provides nothing more than an mp3 player and Wi-Fi for downloading playlists. It is perfect for athletes who like to listen to music during their sport. For the others, Garmin had the good idea to offer a model without an mp3 player for 50 € less expensive.

Do I have to resell my Forerunner 235 for a Forerunner 245 or 245 Music?

It all depends on your budget (the Forerunner 245 is more expensive by €60) and the features you need. The Forerunner 245 is clearly more complete (sports functions, metrics, training tools, oximeter, GPS navigation), its autonomy is much greater and it offers functions for swimming and cycling. The 2 watches have almost nothing to do with each other anymore. However, if GPS navigation or additional training tools are not useful to you and the range of your Forerunner 235 is sufficient, the investment may not be worth it.

We liked
  • The great autonomy
  • The integrated mp3 player (finally) on the Music version
  • The light weight of the watch and its comfortable display to read
  • The plethora of functions and metrics added
  • The pulse oximeter
  • Assistance in the event of an incident
We would have liked
  • Support for an HRM-Swim and HRM-Tri belt
  • Support for a power sensor for the bicycle

Price and availability

The Garmin Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music are available for sale at the recommended price of €249.99 and €349.99 respectively.

Discover it at our partners and enjoy our coupons.

Buy Forerunner 245

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
299 €
284.05 € (*1)
i-Run
299 €
Alltricks
299 €
249.99 €

(*1) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code 5A15 !

Buy Forerunner 245 Music

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Lepape
349 €
331.55 € (*1)
i-Run
349 €
Alltricks
349 €
299 €
Amazon
349 €
329 €

(*1) Discount of -5% on this product with coupon code 5A15 !

Commercial links. Prices are not contractual. Please visit the merchant site.

Philippe Baudoin
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