We’ve seen a slew of new fitness trackers and smartwatches in September from a variety of wearable manufacturers. Now it’s Garmin’s turn. It has announced today the Forerunner 745 and the HRM Pro chest strap. Both of these were expected thanks to multiple leaks in the past few weeks.
Starting off with the Garmin Forerunner 745. This is the successor to the popular Forerunner 735XT which was well in for an upgrade considering it was unveiled more than two years ago.
Like its predecessor, the 745 is a mid-range GPS (GLONASS and Galileo) watch for runners and triathletes. It has a variety of modes such as biking, running, swimming, multi-sport and brick workouts.
Not surprisingly, the device is full to the bring with activity, health and performance metrics. The Elevate optical heart rate monitor has a red LED for Pulse Ox data that works even while swimming. There’s now an on-board sleep tracking mode that monitors rest, breathing patterns, total sleep hours and periods of restful sleep.
The watch uses the same algorithms as the latest crop of Forerunners to calculate performance data. This includes things such as Body Battery, Vo2Max, Race Predictor, Recovery Advisor and Performance Indicator. As with the 945, elevation and temperature are taken into consideration and layered onto this data. The ClimbPro mode breaks down climbs to show grade, total ascent and elevation profile.
Training Load lets you know if you are possibly over or under training. For this it takes into account factors that impact recovery such as stress, sleep and daily activities. And the watch will spit out daily suggested workouts tailored your current Training Load and Status.
For even more performance goodies, you can pair the 745 via ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart to foot pods, speed and cadence pods, power meters or the new HRM Pro chest strap.
What the watch lacks as compared to the Forerunner 945 are maps. Instead you get basic GPS
As far as smart functionality, users can listen to music over Bluetooth, download playlists and podcasts via streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer. If you leave your phone at home, the 745 will have you covered with storage for up to 500 songs. For payments you can use Garmin Pay, as long as it supported by your local bank.
Battery life is fairly decent. The 745 keeps going for a full week in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode and up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music. The UltraTrac mode keeps ticking for up to 21 hours.
The diameter of the display measures 44mm (43.8 x 43.8 x 13.3 mm). It might be a sweet spot for those that feel the 47mm 945 is massive and the 42mm 245/645 is just a little too small. The straps are the same as on the 945 at 22mm.
The Garmin Forerunner 745 can be picked up at Garmin for $499.99. It is available in Black, Neo-tropic, Magma red or Whitestone colors. The price is not all to different from the 945, but then again the bulk of the features are identical.
Garmin also announced the HRM-Pro strap. There has been talk of a new heart rate monitor from the company for more than a year now. Up to now, the most high-spec chest strap from the Kansas-based outfit was HRM-TRI. It is a device specifically made for triathletes. The built in accelerometer reports six running dynamics and HRM-Tri stores heart rate data even when underwater, then forwards it to your wearable at the end of your swim.
HRM pro adopts the same minimalistic design. It weighs 59 grams and has a strap that is adjustable from 23.5″ to 56″. Water resistance is 5 ATM.
As far as battery life, it comes in at about a year on the replaceable CR2032 (3 volt) coin-cell. Coincidently, all of this is the same as on HRM-TRI, even the running dynamics which include Cadence, Ground Contact Time, Vertical Oscillation & Vertical Ratio, Ground Contact Time Balance, Stride Length. The Garmin HRM-Pro heart rate monitor also supports the Garmin lactate threshold test when used with a compatible running watch.
The difference is that HRM PRO has the ability to transmit heart rate data both via ANT+ and Bluetooth. The addition of the latter gives you more options on how to train, be it indoors, outdoors or online. The Bluetooth allows for two simultaneous BLE connects, in addition to ANT devices. As you’d expect, the thing also has built-in storage for cases when you do not have your sports watch with you.
HRM Pro sells for $129.99 on Garmin’s website.
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