Image source: Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 745 vs 245: is the extra functionality worth it?

If you’re after a sports watch, a Garmin is always a great choice. Whatever type of activity you are into, you can bet there’s a Garmin that will track it.

The latest addition to the range is the Forerunner 745. It replaces the aging 735XT and comes with a slew of upgrades that make it a much better fitness tracking device.

Another popular timepiece in the Forerunner lineup is the 245. Launched in early 2019, it comes in a Music and non-Music variant.

The 245 is cheaper than the 745 but it is not as feature packed. In this article we delve through the differences that explain the price difference.

Garmin Forerunner 745 vs 245: Design and hardware

Garmin has standardized the look of its Forerunner range in recent years, so there is not much to separate the two in terms of design. It mostly comes down to size.

Unsurprisingly, the 745 is the bulkier timepiece. It measures 43.8 x 43.8 x 13.3 mm which is a fraction bigger and thicker than the 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm of the 245.

As a device dedicated for runners, the company has tried to keep the size and weight of the 245 down. It is therefore lighter than the 745, coming in at only 38 grams versus the 47 grams of its big brother.

Pretty much everything else about the look is the same if you ignore the cosmetic differences. Despite the smaller size, Garmin has managed to squeeze in the identical 1.2 inch, 240 x 240 pixel sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel display in both watches.

The added bulk of the 745 has mostly gone into adding room for some extra sensors. This includes a gyroscope, barometric altimeter, thermometer and NFC chip for contactless payments. You don’t get these on the 245 but you do get everything else. This includes built-in GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO, compass, accelerometer, heart rate sensor and Pulse Ox.

garmin forerunner 745 vs 245 watches compared - Garmin Forerunner 745 vs 245: is the extra functionality worth it?
Forerunner 745 next to Forerunner 245 Music

The extra sensors mean that despite a bigger battery in the 745, both of these watches can go for about a week on a single charge. In GPS mode with music switched on this falls to 6 hours. Surprisingly, the 245 keeps going longer in pure GPS mode, a full day versus the 16 hours of the 745.

Here’s a table showing the specs. Here we are pitting the 745 against the higher spec Forerunner 245 Music. The non-music variant is not that different from the regular 245. It just lacks the built-in storage for music.

Forerunner 745 Forerunner 245 Music
Lens material Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX
Bezel/case material fiber-reinforced polymer fiber-reinforced polymer
Strap material silicone silicone
Physical size 43.8 x 43.8 x 13.3 mm  42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 (mm) 
Display type Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) Sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display size 1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter 1.2″ (30.4mm) diameter
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels  240 x 240 pixels 
Weight 47 g  38.5 g 
Battery life (base model) Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 16 hours
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 24 hours
Water rating 5 ATM 5 ATM
Memory/History 200 hours of activity data  200 hours of activity data 
Sensor GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, thermometer, heart rate, Pulse Ox GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO, compass, accelerometer, heart rate, Pulse Ox
Connectivity Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi®  Bluetooth®, ANT+®, Wi-Fi® 
Plays and controls watch music Yes  Yes
Music Storage Up to 500 songs  Up to 500 songs
Garmin Pay Yes  No
Regular RRP $499.99 $349.99 (without music $299.99)

Garmin Forerunner 745 vs 245: Activity tracking and smart features

In terms of 24/7 fitness tracking and running, the duo is pretty similar. A daily step count, calories, heart rate, stress, abnormal heart rate alerts, Body Battery and more – it’s all there.

One thing you do lack on the 245 is the barometric altimeter so you will not get a floor count. Also, while you do get sleep statistic, they are not as detailed as on the 745 which also spits out a daily sleep score and insights. Finally, the 245 lacks respiration rate metrics.

Both of these watches come with a bunch of Firstbeat metrics. This will provide you with detailed physiological information on your runs and includes Vo2Max, Training Status, Training Load, Training Effect and more. You do get a few extra metrics, though, on the 745. These are Training Load Focus, Training Effect Labels and Heat and Altitude Acclimation.

Nevertheless the above differences will be minuscule to most people. If you are after a run tracker that monitors your daily activity and sleep, either watch will suffice.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

As can be seen so far in this section, the 745 comes with everything on the 245 plus more. The list goes on.

The 745 has a New Daily Workout suggestion feature. This was recently announced on the latest Garmin Edge 1030 Plus and it has now made its way to a watch. Expect other Forerunners to get this soon.

Then there are Yoga and pilates workouts, outdoor recreation profiles and navigational functionality, extra cycling and swimming features. It’s a pretty long list which we’ve displayed below – additions that you get on the 745 but not on the 245.

Forerunner 745 Forerunner 245 Music
Respiration Yes No
Advanced sleep monitoring (sleep score & insights) Yes No
Group Live Track Yes No
Yoga and pilates workouts Yes No
Floors climbed Yes No
Heat and altitude acclimation Yes No
Training load focus Yes No
Primary benefit (Training Effect labels) Yes No
Auto/Manual multisport activities Yes No
Garmin Live Segments Yes No
Strava Live Segments Yes No
Round-trip course creator Yes No
Trendline Popularity Routing Yes No
Outdoor recreation profiles (Hiking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Backcountry Skiing, XC Classic and Skate Skiing, Stand up Paddleboarding, Kayaking, Rowing) Yes No
Cycling features (Mountain trail biking support, support for power sensors, power meters and advanced Vector support) Yes No
Swimming features (open-water swim metrics, Auto rest, Time and distance alerts, Pacing alerts, Countdown start, Critical swim speed, Heart rate from external HRM) Yes  No

Finally, let’s round out the comparison with smart functionality. If you buy the pricier Music variant of the 245 you’ll get storage that fits up to 500 songs on the device, which is the same as on the 745. That should have any music lover covered.

The other smart functionality is identical apart from the built-in NFC on the 745. While you are not able to make contactless payments on the 245, you are on the 745. As long as your bank is supported.

Garmin Forerunner 745 vs 245: Verdict

The main difference between the newly launched 745 and the 245 is that the first is a mid-range multi-sport watch, the second mostly a runners watch. Because of that, the 745 comes with a bunch of extras.

This includes a barometric altimeter for floor count, respiration rate, additional Firstbeat metrics, more workouts, outdoor recreation profiles and richer cycle and swim tracking.

The 745 clearly has a few nice extras over the 245, but it’s also about $150 more expensive. Running and activity-tracking feature-wise the 245 pretty much does everything and comes with the same battery life. It’s also a bit smaller and lighter which will be attractive to some.

Are the extra features worth the extra money for you? Then get the 745.

If not and you are primarily after a running watch, get the 245…

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One thought on “Garmin Forerunner 745 vs 245: is the extra functionality worth it?

  • November 19, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you so much for this review ! Well presented, easy to follow and lists all the questions I had. Now time to make the choice am I just a runner or a fancy runner who bikes haha !!


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