Garmin Forerunner 645 Music review

Is this the final missing piece of the running watch puzzle?

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The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music is a disappointing fitness watch in a number of ways. There are lot of features on here that should make it one of the best running / sport-tracking watches around...but it misses out.

With a contactless payment on board, access to millions of songs and a new stylish design, it should have leapt to the head of the Garmin pack as the poster child of the next generation of sports watches from the brand.

But instead it feels like a halfway house that doesn’t quite manage to sit well in either camp and is out-performed by other watches in the range.

Luckily the added Spotify offline playlist support has changed our views of the watch a fair bit, bringing us the long-promised music that should have been baked into the fitness watch from the start. 

Who's it for?

Those people that don’t like to run in silence but hate having a bulky phone strapped about their body - they’ll love the convenience here.

Also, if you’re looking for a smart fitness watch that looks good on the wrist, then you’ll probably like the metallic rim around the bright and visible screen… it certainly looks the part.

It’s also smaller and lightweight, so those with more delicate wrists would probably gravitate towards this watch.

Should I buy it?

If you have Spotify, then it's definitely worth it. In fact before Spotify support came along we were reluctant to recommend this fitness watch to anyone, but now it will likely appeal to those who have a premium account and a whole host of playlists they'd like to listen to on-the-go.

But despite the added Spotify support, in some ways it's still too expensive for what it offers, which is poorer battery life than other Garmin models.

The slow interface irks, and while the GPS lock is brilliant (seriously, we’re so impressed, as you can probably guess from the rest of this review) there aren’t enough unique, redeeming features of the 645, as all the good bits are available on other watches.

  • First reviewed March 2018


Not convinced by the Garmin Forerunner 645? Try these on your wrist instead.

Garmin Forerunner 935 

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is roughly the same price as the 645 Music, but can track more activities, has a longer-lasting battery and more rugged casing.

In short, unless you’re desperate to have music and a more stylish-looking watch on your wrist, we’d thoroughly recommend this model, as it does all the 645 does and more.

Read the hands on Garmin Forerunner 935 review

 Garmin Forerunner 735XT 

If you’re not sold on the 645 Music and don’t want to spend as much, then the 735XT is your next best bet.

It’s shorn of the music, doesn’t look as premium and lacks things like strength tracking and stress monitoring, but it’s a slick and lightweight watch for less, and is brilliant for triathletes in particular.

Read the full Garmin Forerunner 735XT review

Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR

The latest watch from Suunto packs an excellent heart rate monitor, a smart route finder in the app and a clean and usable interface. 

It’s not as fully-featured as the Garmin, but is more rugged and offers better navigation capabilities from the wrist too.

Read the full Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR review

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.