The premise of the Garmin Forerunner 935 was a simple one: Garmin put all the features of its marquee Garmin Fenix 5 into a plastic watch that was lighter and cheaper. We assumed the same would be true of its successor – the Garmin Forerunner 945 – in that it would take all the features of the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus and put them in a plastic frame.
In fact, Garmin has gone one better by importing the feature set from the Garmin MARQ Athlete into the 945. That means it offers even more than the Fenix 5 Plus, while being cheaper and having a better battery life. Given that the MARQ Athlete costs £1,399.99, we’re going to say that the feature-laden Forerunner 945 is terrific value even at £519.99.
The list of new features on the 945 that weren’t on the 935 is extensive. You get space for 1,000 songs plus the ability to sync music from your Spotify or Deezer premium accounts. There are also colour maps and the ability to create routes on the device. Garmin Pay is included, and the training analytics have been stepped up a notch.
As well as assessing your overall training load and whether it is productive, the 945 will break down your training over the past seven days by how much time you spent primarily working on your aerobic or anaerobic fitness. It will then suggest whether you have the right balance and which areas you should focus on if not.
The watch will also tell you how well you are acclimatising to heat and altitude when training in a new place. These acclimatisation features (along with the more in-depth training load analysis) are only currently available on the Garmin MARQ Athlete, so the 945 is getting them ahead of the pricier Garmin Fenix 5 Plus – with no word on if they are even going to come to the latter.
Battery life has also improved significantly on the 945, which offers 36 hours of GPS compared with 24 hours on the 935, and ten hours in GPS mode with music.
The 945 will be released sometime before the end of June for £519.99. It will also be sold as part of a bundle that includes Garmin’s swimming and triathlon-focused heart rate monitors – the HRM-Swim and HRM-Tri chest straps – for £649.99. You’ll need to use one of these straps to record your heart rate while swimming, because the 945’s optical monitor turns off in the water, but we mainly mention the bundle because the version of the 945 in it is better-looking. It comes with a rather natty blue strap, rather than the black one on the standard 945, and also has blue accents on the watch itself.
Buy from Garmin (available soon) | £519.99