- Price: £449.99
- Size: 43.8 x 43.8 x 13.3 mm
- Display size: 30.4 mm (1.2") diameter
- Weight: 47g
- Battery life: Smartwatch mode - up to 7 days, GPS mode without music - up to 16 hours
- Water rating: 5ATM
Garmin has launched the Forerunner 745 - an upgrade to the much heralded 735xt multi-sport watch. On first glance, the 745 is a lot smarter - Garmin have updated the design, added more data for runners, cyclists and swimmers (keeping the triathletes happy), but also added some clever features, enabling athletes to recover and train better.
We’ve been running in the watch for just over a week, and here’s our initial thoughts:
What’s changed compared to the 735XT?
At a glance:
- The 745 has a new, updated design - its slimmer and lighter.
- The watch can now measure Sp02 (the amount of oxygen in the blood) and your ‘stress score’, based on your heart rate variability.
- You can now switch between sports in one session, for triathletes doing a brick session.
- On-screen daily workout suggestions based on current training load/ status.
- More accurate recording when running on the track thanks to the new ‘Track Run’ and ‘Indoor Track’ modes.
- Pairs with the new HRM-Pro (£119.99) for more accurate running and swimming data.
Design points aside, the most notable differences the Forerunner 745 brings to the table are the Sp02 and stress monitoring, which use a combination of red and infrared lights to determine the percentage of oxygenated blood (SpO2%) available in your blood. The suggested recovery time after each workout now gives you additional data, accounting for your weekly training intensity, the quality of your sleep the night before and your stress. It advises you when you need to rest before your next big session - an impressive feature that beginners and more experienced runners will find useful.
Garmin says, ‘the Forerunner 745 features tools to track an athlete’s well-being. A wrist-based Pulse Ox sensor will help provide a clearer picture of how athletes are sleeping and adjusting to altitude acclimation while the Body Battery energy monitor lets athletes track their energy levels to find the best times for activity and rest.’
Another new feature on the Forerunner 745 is the ‘daily workouts’, based on your V02 max and training load data. A good option for less experienced athletes, according to Garmin, this feature provides ‘training guidance that takes you and your fitness level into account’.
For female runners, the watch has the option to track menstrual cycles and offers hints on how to adjust your training to ‘maximise improvement potential and plan for upcoming races based on where you are in your cycle’. This might be a bit too personal for some runners, but is an interesting feature nonetheless.
As a smartwatch, the 745 is similar to most of the other watches in the Garmin range - it’s compatible with Android and iOS so you can receive notifications on the run. There’s Garmin Pay, a music player for up to 500 songs and offline syncing with Spotfiy and Wi-Fi. You can also use Garmin coaching on the watch, should you want to use a Garmin training plan. The watch has up to seven days of battery life in smartwatch mode, up to six hours when using GPS tracking with music and up to 16 hours when using GPS without music.
What’s new for runners?
Aside from the new specialist modes to use when running on the track, the watch delivers exactly what you'd want from a Garmin. If you buy the bundle with the new HRM-Pro strap, which does cost a little extra, you'll not only get more accurate metrics like cadence, stride length, vertical oscillation and average ground contact time, but the 5ATM water resistance of the strap means you can also now use it when swimming, to get more in-depth swim data.
For cyclists, the Forerunner 945 has the ability to track data such as your left/right balance, your time seated and standing, your platform center offset and power phase.
Where does it sit in Forerunner range?
The Forerunner 745 sits in between the Forerunner 645 and the Forerunner 945, but is closer in tech to the 945, but £100 cheaper, so which should you choose?
Price aside, both watches have the built-in music storage, VO2 max estimations, training effect and recovery time suggestions. They both have the same casing and display resolution and they both use Garmin’s Elevate V3 heart rate sensor. They both have native triathlon modes too.
Yet while both watches provide useful tracking when ramping up your training for a triathlon, comparing the two, the 745 is cheaper, lighter and has updated features Garmin are yet to roll out to the 945. For less experienced athletes, the ‘daily workout suggestions’ based on your current training load and training status are a useful addition.
That said, if your running has reached a stage where offline maps and more storage are important, then the Forerunner 945 is probably for you and it might be worth spending the extra money. For most people, however, the 745 gives you more or less the same features in a lighter, cheaper package.
While we’ve not been wearing this watch to fully test some of the features such as the menstrual tracking and the daily workouts, the watch (and the watch paired with the HRM-Pro), has delivered some exciting updates to what was an already great running watch.
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