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Garmin Forerunner 45 review

A surprisingly well-featured affordable running watch

Garmin Forerunner 45
Image credit: TechRadar
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

Garmin Forerunner 45 is one of the most impressive running watches out there right now. Yes, it has gaps and compromises, but it also sets the standard for features we now expect in running watches. This one is for beginner runners.

For

  • Lightweight
  • Good value
  • Music controls

Against

  • Plastic-heavy build
  • No swim tracking

Garmin Forerunner 45 is an upgrade to budget-friendly Forerunner 35 and offers simple, and no-frills run tracking in a watch. Moreover, it now comes with some of the training and wellness features we are used to seeing in watches much higher up the Forerunner food chain.

In addition to built-in GPS, you get an optical heart rate sensor, VO2 max, activity and sleep tracking, energy level monitoring, stress tracking, music controls, smart notifications, adaptive training plans, and some neat safety features such as live tracking and incident detection.

There’s a lot here for the price tag, so does it make sense even for serious runners to go for the Forerunner 45? We’ve spent the last few weeks putting the Forerunner 45 through its paces to find out.

Garmin Forerunner 45

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

Garmin Forerunner 45 price and availability

Garmin Forerunner 45 is priced at Rs 19,990 in India; however, one can often find it retailing for Rs 18,690 on Amazon India. The company offers the watch in two colors-- Black and Red. It is available to purchase from the Garmin Store India, Paytm, Tata CLiQ, and Amazon India.

Design and Display

Garmin Forerunner 45

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

Garmin Forerunner 45 has a 42mm dial and is suitable for people with smaller wrists. The dial is much smaller than most other running watches.

It features a 1.04-inch color display with 208 x 208 pixels resolution. The screen has plenty of clarity, brightness and sunlight legibility, and the colors, while limited, do help make it easier to read your stats and make the whole thing feel a bit cheerier. 

The Forerunner 45 has a 5-button control setup with buttons for start/stop, back, up and down, and a backlight. People familiar with Garmin smartwatches in recent years will feel right at home with this navigation system. It’s one of the most intuitive menu structures you’ll find on any running watch.

The watch is incredibly lightweight, coming in at 36 grams. It’s mostly due to the plastic frame and buttons, and the soft silicone strap that some might find a little too cheap for its asking price.

Garmin Forerunner 45

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

Forerunner 45 is a decent, comfortable watch to wear at almost all the time. In our use, there’s just one issue or rather a pet peeve, where the detachable silicone strap would just slide off, leaving the end of the strap flapping around casually.

Though the watch doesn’t have any swimming features, it is waterproof to 50 meters, so one can ideally go swim with it.

Features, app and usability

Garmin Forerunner 45

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

If you’re someone who just runs for fitness and wants to cover the basics, the Forerunner 45 now gives you more than enough to take you up from a couch to 5 kilometers run and probably even up to the marathon.

Having said that, if you are someone who is really invested in the analytics of training and running, you should probably go for a higher-end smartwatch. The Forerunner 45 is an affordable way to track runs and monitor fitness and is a solid offering.

The major focus here is on running – this is primarily a running watch – but there are 12 activity profiles, including running, treadmill, indoor track, bike, cardio, and walk. Some profiles like Indoor Biking may be added through the app, and only six profiles can be chosen at a time via the Garmin Connect app.

Garmin Forerunner 45

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

The Forerunner 45 can store 200 hours of personal training data and syncs via the Garmin Connect app on the phone.

One standout feature primarily aimed at beginner runners is the Garmin Coach. It offers adaptive training plans set by expert coaches for 5km, 10km, and half marathon.

The training plans are easy to set up in the app. It takes minutes to do, and we loved the fact that the workouts you do are all based on your recent performances. So the first session is a Benchmark Run that then dictates the whole plan.

You get to choose your goal, whether that’s hitting a time or just completing. Furthermore, users can save information such as preferred run days, and current mileage/pace in the app. If you’re just running to build fitness, the Forerunner 45 will now offer an estimate VO2 max, which you can use to chart your progress.

Garmin Forerunner 45

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

As with most running watches these days, you get 24/7 activity tracking and step counts. There are optional move alerts that prompt you to get up and get mobile if you’ve been seated for long periods. The Move IQ feature can spot if you’re running, cycling, or swimming and flags the detected activity in your reports to show how you clocked your activity.

Garmin Forerunner 45

Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

Garmin also packs its newest Body Battery and stress tracking features into the Forerunner 45. The former uses a combination of stats such as heart rate, sleep, and activity to show users how much energy they’ve got at any point during the day. Recharging your body battery is just as easy as sitting down quietly for 15 minutes.

Likewise, stress tracking takes heart rate readings into account and shows a user’s stress level at any given moment. It’s a useful tool for spotting stress triggers.

Pairing your Forerunner 45 with your smartphone unlocks smart notifications for calls, WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook, and Instagram notifications.

As far as music control goes, the Forerunner 45’s skills are limited to letting you control the music on the phone. But that’s still a step up from a lot of budget watches and ample for most people.

If you like a bit of customization, you can download watch faces from Connect IQ and apply it on the watch from the app.