Garmin Forerunner 245 Specs, Comparison Music

The Garmin Forerunner 245 running watches (x2) have arrived and represent very interesting additions to Garmin’s 2019 range, for now, let’s take a long look at the Garmin 245 Specs and compare to the old Forerunner 235 and higher-end 645.

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In Brief
  • Value For Money - 85%
  • Accuracy - 90%
  • Build Quality & Design - 90%
  • Features, Including App - 95%
  • Openness & Compatability - 95%


Garmin 245 Review Forerunner 245M MusicThe Forerunner 245/245M is a solid, new, high-tech running watch with almost all of Garmin’s running-specific features plus the key smart features like notifications, payments and music. It does everything in a smaller-sized shell that’s suitable for many wrists.

It’s a box-ticker. Imagine an Amazon Warehouse, somewhere, full of boxes…the Forerunner 245 would have a good attempt at ticking all of them for most levels of runner. If I was busy and someone asked me for a running watch recommendation, without thinking I’d probably say “Go for the Forerunner 245“…it’s a safe recommendation unless you have very specific needs. You get the picture.

Garmin’s free running plans are suitable for runners up to a fairly good level and other features like PacePro are perfect for high-level runners looking for specific pace guidance. I love the market-leading compatibility with STRYD and you might love it for its ability to support 10s and 10s of sports profiles and for the emergency alerts and female health tracking.

You will be able to link to any modern running sensor or smartphone and the Garmin Connect app is packed full of every feature you can think of, albeit a little complex to use at times.


  • Feature-tastic – it does all the running stuff you want and more besides.
  • Market-leading MUSIC offering for a sports-grade watch –  SPOTIFY, Deezer & more.
  • Market-leading GARMIN CONNECT app and sports platform
  • Good choice of free apps through Garmin’s CIQ Store.
  • Interesting, free Garmin Coach option for novice-medium level runners
  • Interesting physiology and training insights for all levels of runner from Firstbeat.
  • Links to many sports sensors and sports platforms like STRAVA & MyFitnessPal


  • Price – You could possibly find a cheaper alternative that still does the job YOU need a running watch to do. Maybe you could save yourself up to $/£70 with a bit of research into the many competing alternatives?
  • Running Dynamics – not actionable for most people.
  • Format – some of you might prefer a slightly larger format watch

Garmin Forerunner 245 ReviewWhere Are We?

The earlier, Garmin Forerunner 235 from 2015 was a sporty-looking, mid-market running watch. It did all the right running things for broadly the right price and added some of the ‘smarts’ that became more prevalent around that time.

Fast forward almost 4 years to the Forerunner 245 (Music) and the older 235 still holds its own as a running watch in my eyes. However tech has moved on and you, the consumer, have moved on in what you might expect these devices to do. Garmin understands that and has significantly revamped and extended their offering as well as re-packaging it into more of a ‘regular watch’ format rather than the plastic, yet sporty, look and feel of the older 235.

What Is The Forerunner 245? What’s New?

It’s an entry-level performance running watch. It’s perfectly fine for beginners and seasoned runners alike but it adds a little more flexibility and tech over an above the lower end models like the 2019 Forerunner 45 (forty-five).

The new Forerunner 245 entirely replaces the position in Garmin range held by the 235. This makes it more of a benchmark device. If you are looking around for a new running watch then it’s a good idea to compare whatever you are thinking of buying to the 245.

Garmin Forerunner 245 ReviewWhat’s New – Hardware Base

The Forerunner 245, when compared to the 235, is basically a totally different bit of kit. The shell has obviously changed as the watch looks different, yet pretty much everything else on the inside has changed too: ELEVATE HR/SpO2 sensor; GNSS/GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO Chip (Sony); battery; screen; all of it. Even compatibility and connectivity has been extended to more sensor types (not PMs), BLE sports sensors and WiFi (245M).

What’s New – Music

The Forerunner 245 MUSIC stores music onboard and plays it back over Bluetooth earbuds as you run or to speakers at home. You can copy your personal music collection or sync from your SPOTIFY account, there are other ways too, but just realise that the Garmin Forerunner 245 doesn’t stream live over a cellular connection.

What’s New – Firmware

There are a few differences here. What we are seeing is that features what were once the preserve of Garmin’s top-of-range tri watches are now making their way on the Forerunner 245. We’re talking here mostly of Running Dynamics and Firstbeat Physiology but there is also some peripheral stuff shown in the comparison specs at the end.

Garmin Forerunner 245 ReviewWhat’s New – Physiology by Firstbeat

Even if you are a casual runner it is useful to know that your training is having a positive effect. But it’s relatively difficult to properly quantify that. Firstbeat provide Garmin with clever physiology algorithms that are mostly based on your age/sex/height/weight/heart rate and performances. And they are generally correct enough to be useful for most levels of runner. There are 14 in total but I suspect these will strike the most interest to most people

  • VO2max – when looked at over an extended period of time, this quantifies your increased fitness
  • Training Effect – tells you much your workout has had a positive effect on both your anaerobic (speed) or aerobic (fat burning) body ‘engines’.
  • Training Status – shows you the cumulative effect of all your training on your level of tiredness and fitness today.
  • All-day stress & recovery

There are others too like ‘calories’ and ‘all day stress & recovery’. You can read about them in more detail on Fristbeat’s site.

garmin 245 review firstbeat

What’s New – Running Dynamics

When used in conjunction with either an RD-POD or GRM-RUN/HRM-TRI/HRM-DUAL chest strap, you will get Garmin’s extra running metrics which still give you good-old cadence but also which add measures that tell you how long your feet stay on the ground and how much you bounce when running. You probably want to make both of those measures lower to get faster but just how you do that is a complex question usually solved by ‘more training’.

Thus these metrics are interesting but largely unactionable.

The lack of a barometric altimeter further means that you cannot use the Forerunner 245 for Garmin Running Power, though STRYD works.

Garmin Forerunner 245 ReviewWhat’s New in the Garmin 245 Specs – Personalisation & Protection

The physiology stuff is clearly personalised to you but higher spec Garmin watches, like the Forerunner 245, now offer you the ability to make big changes to your Forerunner device through Garmin’s app store (called CIQ apps)

The quality of the CIQ apps is another matter entirely and, like other app stores, the apps range from awesome to ‘meh’. They are almost all entirely free and have a vast scope covering things like support for 3rd party sensors like STRYD; complex screens that can display more than 4 data fields; and support for maps via a connected smartphone. Oh, you can probably also find a Mickey Mouse watch face if you look hard enough! – the watch faces tend to be a bit garish and let down the overall aesthetic a little due to the relatively poor resolution of the screen but I guess most are passable.

For those of you worried about running in remote locations there is also a new assistance & incident detection features which send your location to selected emergency contacts via your smartphone.

Garmin Forerunner 245 ReviewWhat’s New – Garmin Coach

Well, it’s not new-new, but it is a nice addition to the 245 which makes the overall offering more complete and it’s worth mentioning here. Garmin Coach offers “adaptive running plans”; this sounds great but these are a little let down in the execution. Nevertheless, they are great for beginner-to-intermediate level runners (>21 min/5k). This aspect of Garmin’s overall offering has been improved and now covers adaptive 10k and HM plans as well. BUT don’t forget there are MANY OTHER FREE non-adaptive plans that will work with the 245 that you can download via GARMIN CONNECT.

Basic Garmin 245 Specs

More complete specs are shown at the end with a comparison to the old Forerunner 235 and the current, higher-spec Forerunner 645. Here are the headlines and I’d say the specs are pretty good.

  • Dimentions: 1.7” x 1.7” x 0.5” (42.3 mm x 42.3 mm x 12.2 mm) and at 38g it’s VERY light.
  • Battery life: up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; up to 24 hours in GPS mode (6 hours with music+GPS)
  • Gorilla Glass (scratch resistant) screen
  • Waterproof 5 ATM (you can swim with it)
  • It’s NOT touchscreen and the colour resolution is only 240x240px

Price, Discounts & Availability

I would suggest REI in the USA who now have stock and they give members 10% off (link to: Definitely use Wiggle in the UK where you can get a new Customer Discount with the code NEWGB at this link (here) with platinum discounts of in-stock products up to 17% in boost periods. They will also get stock earlier than most other retailers. Wiggle is also pretty good on the whole throughout the Eu I’m just not sure of the in-stock status for May 2019 for non-UK markets.

Garmin 245 Specs, Comparison to Forerunner 235 and 645 Specifications

These are the detailed differences (Source:


Forerunner® 245 Music Forerunner® 645 Music Forerunner® 235
$349.99 USD $449.99 USD $249.99 USD
GPS running smartwatch with advanced training features and music GPS running watch with Garmin Pay™ contactless payments, wrist-based heart rate and music GPS running watch with color display and wrist-based heart rate
Lens Material Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 chemically strengthened glass
Bezel Material fiber-reinforced polymer stainless steel
Quick Release Bands yes (20 mm, Industry standard) yes (20 mm, Industry standard)
Strap material silicone silicone silicone
Physical size 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 (mm) 42.5 x 42.5 x 13.5 mm 45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm Fits wrists with a circumference of 127-204 mm
Display size 1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter 1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter 1.23″ (31.1 mm) diameter
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels 240 x 240 pixels 215 x 180 pixels
Display type sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Weight 38.5 g 42.2 g 42 g
Battery life Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days Smartwatch Mode: Up to 9 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours GPS mode: Up to 11 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 24 hours GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours
Water rating Swim, 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM
Color display
Memory/History 200 hours of activity data 200 hours of activity data 200 hours of activity data
Clock Features
Time/date Yes Yes Yes
GPS Time Sync Yes Yes Yes
Automatic daylight saving time Yes Yes Yes
Alarm clock Yes Yes Yes
Timer Yes Yes No
Stopwatch Yes Yes Yes
Sunrise/sunset times Yes Yes No
GPS Yes Yes Yes
Galileo Yes No No
Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor Yes Yes Yes
Barometric altimeter No Yes No
Compass Yes Yes No
Gyroscope No Yes No
Accelerometer Yes Yes Yes
Thermometer No Yes No
Pulse Ox Yes No No
Connectivity Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® ANT+
Connect IQ™ (downloadable watch faces, data fields, widgets and apps) Yes Yes Yes
Smart notifications Yes Yes Yes
Text response/reject phone call with text (Android™ only) Yes Yes No
Calendar Yes Yes Yes
Weather Yes Yes Yes
Controls smartphone music Yes Yes Yes
Plays and controls watch music Yes Yes No
Music Storage up to 500 songs up to 500 songs No
Find My Phone Yes Yes Yes
Find My Watch Yes Yes No
VIRB® Camera Remote Yes Yes Yes
Smartphone compatibility iPhone® and Android™ iPhone® and Android™ iPhone®, Android™
Compatible with Garmin Connect™ Mobile Yes Yes Yes
Garmin Pay™ No Yes No
Safety and Tracking Features
Incident Detection during select activities yes (Smartphone Required) No No
Assistance yes (Smartphone Required) No No
LiveTrack Yes Yes Yes
Live Event Sharing Android™ Only No No
Activity Tracking Features
Step counter Yes Yes Yes
Move bar (displays on device after a period of inactivity; walk for a couple of minutes to reset it) Yes Yes Yes
Auto goal (learns your activity level and assigns a daily step goal) Yes Yes Yes
Sleep monitoring (monitors total sleep and periods of movement or restful sleep) Yes Yes Yes
Calories burned Yes Yes Yes
Floors climbed Yes Yes Yes
Distance travelled Yes Yes Yes
Intensity minutes Yes Yes Yes
TrueUp™ Yes Yes Yes
Move IQ™ Yes Yes No
Fitness Age yes (in app) yes (in app) No
Body Battery™ Energy Monitor Yes No No
All-day Stress Tracking Yes Yes No
Gym & Fitness Equipment
Available gym activity profiles Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Indoor Rowing and Yoga Strength, Cardio and Elliptical Training, Stair Stepping, Floor Climbing, Indoor Rowing and Yoga
Cardio workouts Yes Yes
Strength workouts Yes Yes
Automatic rep counting Yes Yes
Training, Planning and Analysis Features
GPS speed and distance Yes Yes Yes
Customizable data pages Yes Yes Yes
Customizable activity profiles Yes Yes Yes
Auto Pause® Yes Yes Yes
Interval training Yes Yes Yes
Advanced workouts Yes Yes Yes
Downloadable training plans Yes Yes Yes
Auto Lap® Yes Yes Yes
Manual lap Yes Yes Yes
Configurable lap alerts Yes Yes Yes
V02 max Yes Yes Yes
Training Status (lets you see if you’re training effectively by tracking your training history and fitness level trend.) Yes Yes No
Training Load (your total training load for the last 7 days calculated from estimated EPOC) Yes Yes No
Training Effect (aerobic) Yes Yes No
Training Effect (anaerobic) Yes Yes No
Customizable alerts Yes Yes No
Audio prompts Yes Yes No
Finish time Yes Yes No
Virtual Partner Yes Yes No
Race an Activity Yes Yes No
Course guidance Yes Yes No
Segments (Live, Garmin) Yes Yes No
Strava features (Beacon, live segments) Yes Yes No
Touch and/or button lock Yes Yes Yes
Auto scroll Yes Yes Yes
Activity history on watch Yes Yes Yes
Physio TrueUp Yes Yes No
Heart Rate Features
HR zones Yes Yes Yes
HR alerts Yes Yes Yes
HR calories Yes Yes Yes
% HR max Yes Yes No
% HRR Yes Yes No
Recovery time Yes Yes Yes
Auto max HR Yes Yes No
HR Broadcast (broadcasts HR data over ANT+™ to paired devices) Yes Yes Yes
Running Features
Available run profiles Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track Running, Trail Running Running, Treadmill Running, Indoor Track, Trail Running yes
GPS-based distance, time and pace Yes Yes Yes
Running dynamics yes (with compatible accessory) yes (with compatible accessory)
Vertical oscillation and ratio (the degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion and the cost-benefit ratio with stride length) yes (with compatible accessory)
Ground contact time and balance (shows how much time, in the running motion, your foot is on the ground rather than in flight and lets you check your running symmetry) yes (with compatible accessory)
Stride length (real time) yes (with compatible accessory)
Cadence (provides real-time number of steps per minute) Yes Yes Yes
Performance condition (after running 6–20 minutes, compares your real-time condition to your average fitness level) Yes Yes No
Run workouts Yes Yes Yes
Race predictor Yes Yes Yes
Foot pod capable Yes Yes Yes
Outdoor Recreation Features
Available outdoor recreation profiles Yes Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand up Paddleboarding, Rowing
Point-to-point navigation Yes Yes No
Bread crumb trail in real time Yes Yes No
Back to start Yes Yes Yes
TracBack® Yes Yes No
UltraTrac mode Yes Yes No
Elevation profile No Yes No
Distance to destination Yes Yes yes (for back to start)
Vertical speed No Yes No
Total ascent/descent No Yes No
GPS coordinates Yes Yes No
Cycling Features
Available cycling profiles Biking, Indoor Biking Biking, Indoor Biking yes
Courses Yes Yes No
Race an activity Yes Yes No
Time/distance alerts (triggers alarm when you reach goal) Yes Yes Yes
Compatible with Varia Vision™ (head-mounted display) Yes Yes No
Compatible with Varia™ radar (rear-facing radar) Yes Yes No
Compatible with Varia™ lights Yes Yes No
Speed and cadence sensor support (with sensor) Yes yes (ANT+® and Bluetooth® Smart sensors) yes
Swimming Features
Available swim profiles Pool Swimming Pool Swimming No
Pool swim metrics (lengths, distance, pace, stroke count/rate, calories) Yes Yes No
Stroke type detection (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly) Yes Yes No
Swim efficiency (SWOLF) Yes Yes No
Drill logging Yes Yes No
Pool swim workouts Yes Yes No

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