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Garmin launches 5 new GPS running watches for budgets large and small
If you’re a runner, odds are you’ve considered buying one of Garmin’s GPS running watches to track your activity. The company already has a wide variety of running watches for just about every budget, and today we’re getting five more.
The all-new Garmin Forerunner 45, 45S, 245, 245 Music, and 945 all feature the same five-button design, always-on displays, heart rate sensors, smartphone notification support, and new safety tracking features we first saw on the Verizon-exclusive Vivoactive 3 Music smartwatch.
In addition to the watches, Garmin also announced that it would add menstrual cycle tracking to Garmin Connect. More details on that feature can be found below.
There’s a lot to cover here, so let’s jump right in!
Garmin Forerunner 45 and Forerunner 45S
The Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45S are aimed at athletes who need an entry-level running watch but don’t need all the advanced features. The main difference between the two devices are their sizes: The Forerunner 45 features a 45mm case, while the 45S has a smaller 39mm case.
Both feature built-in GPS and heart rate sensors, and they can track your cycling, elliptical, cardio workouts, and more. Battery life should last up to seven days in smartwatch mode and roughly 13 hours in GPS mode.
Unfortunately, neither device comes with support for quick-change bands, but you can swap out the straps with other colors from the Forerunner 45-series if you don’t mind unscrewing the screws on the back of the device. Neither device comes with music storage support, either.
These are the successors to the super popular Forerunner 35 from a few years back. The new Forerunner 45 and 45S add Garmin’s incident detection feature, as well as support for different watch faces and Garmin Coach workouts for running and cycling.
Both the Forerunner 45 and 45S will be available for $199.99 on Garmin.com in May 2019.
Garmin Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music
For athletes who need more advanced running features, the Garmin Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music should do the trick. Both watches include run-monitoring tools like VO2 max estimates and training status metrics, and both have a pulse oximeter built in that will help gain how efficiently your body is using oxygen.
Garmin says both will last up to seven days on a single charge, up to 24 hours in GPS mode, or up to six hours with GPS and music.
Also read: Fitbit vs Garmin: Which ecosystem is right for you?
Speaking of music, the only difference between the two watches is support for on-board music storage. The Forerunner 245 Music can hold up to 500 songs and lets users download playlists to the watch from Spotify or Deezer, or transfer local music from a computer. Wi-Fi support has been added to the Music variant, too. I’d still like Garmin to drop the “Music” branding and just include music storage support on all its watches going forward, but I suppose not everyone wants or needs music stored on their watch.
The 245 and 245 Music are the successors to Garmin’s most popular running watch, the Forerunner 235. The 245 line features Garmin Coach training plans, a metronome, pool swim activities, auto max HR support, running dynamics, and incident detection. The Music variant also features Wi-Fi connectivity. Both new watches do make some sacrifices, though. There’s no Garmin Pay support, no barometric altimeter, and no gyroscope.
That music storage is going to cost you, though. The standard Forerunner 245 costs $299.99, while the 245 Music costs $50 more at $349.99. Both go on sale today at Garmin.com.
Garmin Forerunner 945
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the highest-end GPS running watches you can buy. It has all the features of the cheaper Forerunner 245 Music, but also comes with double the music storage, Garmin Pay support, and longer battery life. Garmin says the 945 can last two weeks in smartwatch mode, 36 hours in GPS mode, and 10 hours in GPS mode with music. It also has full-color, on-board maps support.
This is the watch you buy if you’re training for a triathlon, or at least want the most data you can get out of a running watch. With the Forerunner 945, you’ll have access to a new feature called training load focus — a feature that sorts your recent training history into different categories based on intensity and structure. You also get access to ski, hike, golf tracking, and more.
Compared to its predecessor, the Forerunner 945 adds pulse oximeter metrics for hiking and wellness, incident detection, and VO2 max heat and altitude adjustment.
The Forerunner 945 launches today on Garmin.com for $599.99. It’s also available in a $749.99 bundle that includes blue and black bands, an HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim monitor, and a quick release kit.
Menstrual cycle tracking is coming to Garmin Connect
Garmin is also bringing menstrual cycle tracking to Garmin Connect, allowing women to keep track of their current cycle phase and physical and emotional symptoms. Users can log their menstrual cycle information in the Garmin Connect app and receive educational content based on their current cycle and receive predictions for their period and fertile windows.
About a year ago, Fitbit rolled out a similar feature, called female health tracking, to its Android and iOS apps.
Not to be outdone, Garmin’s implementation can be customized based on whether a cycle is regular, irregular, or transitioning into menopause. Users can also add notes based on how they’re feeling that day. And, if you happen to have a compatible smartwatch, you also have the option to receive cycle tracking information and period reminders on your wrist.
Oddly enough, none of the new Forerunner devices have support for menstrual cycle tracking yet. The feature is compatible with the Forerunner 645 Music, vivoactive 3, vivoactive 3 Music, and the Fenix 5 Plus series. Garmin has the Fenix 5 series, Fenix Chronos, Forerunner 935, Forerunner 945, Forerunner 645, Forerunner 245, and Forerunner 245 Music listed as “coming soon.”