Garmin’s new Forerunner watch range brings phone-free Spotify to the masses

Garmin Forerunner 945
"What do you mean, go running? I'm wearing my fancy sweater!' Image credit: Garmin

The launch of the new Garmin Forerunner 945, Forerunner 245 Music and Forerunner 45 will literally be music to the ears of anyone wanting to ditch their phone when running.

The navigation and fitness brand has finally updated its Forerunner range with new devices to bring music to the trotting masses as well as more advanced insights into training - helping improve the chances of that elusive PB.

The headline upgrade is the Forerunner 945 - taking the best bits of the popular Fenix range but offering it in a sleeker package. 

The new 945, taking over from the Garmin Forerunner 935, can hold up to 1,000 songs from Spotify or Deezer, can track your all-day fitness metrics (such as stress, oxygen levels in the blood with a Pulse Ox sensor or sleep levels) as well as monitor your training load.

The latter feature isn’t new, but the way it categorizes your training into different categories so you can see if your speed, endurance or strength fitness is improving.

The multi-sport watch offers inbuilt mapping on the color screen, you can make contactless payments with Garmin Pay (although there still aren’t a huge amount of financial services worldwide that can use this service) and you can run for up to two weeks on a single charge when used as a ‘normal’ watch.

If you’re using the GPS tracking mode, 36 hours should see you through most ultra-marathons - although if you’re using the music playback too this drops dramatically to 10 hours before needing another charge.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 price has been set at $599 / £519.99 (around AU$840) although a Tri bundle, with more swim-friendly heart rate monitors is offered for $749 / £649.99 (around AU$1,000) - and it’s available now.

A better option for most?

The new Garmin 245 Music looks sleek (Image credit: Garmin)

The new Garmin 245 Music looks sleek (Image credit: Garmin) (Image credit: Garmin)

If you’re thinking that you don’t want to spend that much on a running watch, then the new Garmin Forerunner 245, Forerunner 245 Music, Forerunner 45 or Forerunner 45S are likely more your thing.

What is Body Battery?

It’s probably easier to let Firstbeat, the performance analytics company that powers this feature in the Garmin watches, explain things:

“The more you use your phone, the faster it runs out of battery. Our bodies work the same way. The more stressful and active your life is, the faster your reserves are depleted.

“Garmin’s new Body Battery… helps you keep tabs on how much you have left in your tank. It offers an easy way to connect the dots between stress, recovery, sleep and physical activity. The higher the number (0-100), the greater your ability at that moment to focus, cope, and bounce back from challenges.”

Anything that offers more of an insight into the often-meaningless data of steps and heart rate output is a great thing in the world of wearables, so seeing this on more watches is a nice-looking move.

With the Forerunner 245 Music you’re getting a huge upgrade on the popular 235, with stress and sleep tracking, far more sports to monitor and space for 500 songs so you can ditch the phone before your run.

The new watch uses the more advanced user interface from Garmin, which means the wrist-based heart rate monitor can track the oxygen levels in your blood, daily stress levels and give you feedback on how hard you’re training - with adjustments for things like heat.

The battery life sees you get 24 hours of GPS tracking from a single charge, or seven hours’ use if you’re bumbling along to tunes… enough to see nearly every marathon runner through the hell of the race.

If you’re not bothered about music (and don’t fancy the higher cost of the Forerunner 245) then the Forerunner 45 is designed for the newer runner (and comes in awesome 'Lava Red'). 

It doesn’t have all the advanced monitoring systems of the watches above, but does come with a multitude of sports for you to track, including yoga and strength training as well as running around.

The Forerunner 45 does offer all-day stress monitoring and the ‘Body Battery’ feature, an interesting idea that brings a deeper understanding to how things like exercise and sleep can affect your daily productivity.

The new Garmin Forerunner 45 in Lava Red (Image credit: Garmin)

The new Garmin Forerunner 45 in Lava Red (Image credit: Garmin) (Image credit: Garmin)

The Forerunner 45S is also now available, which is designed for the smaller wrist with the 39mm case compared to the 42mm option on the ‘standard’ Forerunner 45.

The Forerunner 245 Music price is set at $349.99 / £299.99 (around AU$500) while the normal version without music is $299.99 / £249.99 (around AU$420).

The Forerunner 45 price will start at $199 / £169.99 (around AU$280), and both it and the Forerunner 245 are also available to buy now.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.