Long-Term Garmin Forerunner 245 Review
I’ve put the Garmin Forerunner 245 through the wringer day in and day out for three years. For running, cycling, swimming and mowing the lawn, it’s an excellent fitness tracker. Here’s what you need to know before you buy any Garmin Forerunner.
The Forerunner Family
Garmin has built out the Forerunner line-up over the years to offer several price points. While having so many models might seem confusing at first, once you dig into the key features you’re looking for, having many options makes it easy to find the Garmin Forerunner model right for you.
One of the key features for most athletes is music and it’s also the first decision point. Most Forerunner models come with music-specific options. This means the watch can store a limits amount of music from your favorite streaming services, allowing you to leave your watch at home during your run. The Forerunner 245 Music (and other models with the feature) debuted in 2018. A few quick notes:
- You will need bluetooth headphones to listen to music from your watch. There is no wired connection.
- You’ll need to sync music through the Garmin app, which connects to various streaming platforms. This is the best video we’ve found to show you how to load and listen to music on your watch.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Key Features
The 245 shares many features with other models. We’ve narrowed them down to a few features that make this a great fitness tracker and smartwatch at this price point.
Excellent Construction - After three years, I could put this watch back in its box and slip it onto a store shelf and it would look brand new. The face is construction from Corning Gorilla Glass and a silicone band that shoes no signs of wear.
Looks Like Watch - …and that’s a good thing. Unlike other fitness trackers, the round Forerunner face looks like watch; you won’t feel out of place wearing it in board meetings.
You Can’t Top The Garmin Forerunner 245 for Battery Life - Not only does the battery last seven days in smartwatch mode, but it can handle a full 24 hours in GPS mode, too. It’s also worth noting that it can go from dead to fully charged in less than an hour, which makes popping it on the charger for a few minutes enough to squeeze in a short run if it’s running low.
Training Features You’ll Use (And A Few You Won’t)
While I dabble with structured training, I’ve never consistently used the Garmin Coach feature. The free training plans (premium plans are also available) seem intuitive but perhaps a little easy, but that’s something beginner runners can learn from and adjust as they progress.
I do check my Training Status and Training Load every day to tailor my runs and rides to how I’m feeling and how I’m recovering.
If you do bring your phone with you, you get smart notifications on the move as well as whenever you want during the day. There are two connectivity features that I count on for safety and while I almost always bring my phone with me, I do wish I would have opted for the 245 Music.
Live-tracking - Connect your Forerunner to your phone for real-time location updates sent only to friends and family. They’ll be able to see your location and even your planned courses. This is an excellent feature for peace of mind and more prosaic reasons, including knowing when to start dinner based on how far your significant other is from home!
Safety notifications - This past winter, I slipped running and hit my head on a curb. Hard. I was concussed and I knew it. My Forerunner knew it, too, and automatically sent an alert to my wife, who called to make sure I could make it home. I’ll be the first to say that this emergency notification feature might be too sensitive. It has also called my wife after I hopped a curb and once when I did a sweet skid on my commute bike sliding into the driveway. Still, it’s better to have turned on and have a false alert than to be without it when you really need help.
The Verdict - It’s a Great Smartwatch, But Other Forerunners May Suit You Better
I can’t say enough positive things about the Forerunner 245, but I’ll add this. You may want more or less features than the 245 offers so take the time to do your research on what you’ll actually need. Beginner runners may not need the training and health features of the 245, while more number-hungry data lovers will want other features like pairing with a power meter or more robust HRV. Talk to an expert at Ann Arbor Running Company to find the right Forerunner for your needs.
Garmin Forerunner 245 - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pair my Garmin Forerunner to my phone?
Garmin offers step-by-step videos on pairing the Garmin Forerunner 245 to your Android or iOS device. We recommend watching this tutorial.
I need to know how to change the watch face on my Garmin Forerunner 245. How do I do that?
There is a massive library of custom Garmin smartwatch faces to choose from. Most watch faces can be tailored to display all the data you want to see at a glance or reduce the clutter and keep it simple. Here’s how to change watch face settings and make changes to your device.