Image source: Garmin

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945: choosing between these top multi-sport watches

If you are into multi-sports and only want the best, a Garmin smartwatch is the way to go. The company has updated its Fenix range in January. The line is up to iteration number seven while the highest spec Forerunner is now the 945 along with its cellular brother, the 945 LTE. In this article we pit the Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

The first comes in a variety models and there’s a no shortage of Forerunner watches to choose from so you may be wondering which is best for you. To make your decision easier we’ve compiled a run-down of all the important differences. Read on to find out how they compare.


Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945: General and design

Fenix 7 has a more premium build – and choice of sizes

When it come to design, the main difference between the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945 is in design. The first is built of premium materials such as stainless steel, titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium (depending on the model), the second of fiber-reinforced polymer.

This makes the Fenix line heavier. The three different sizes (regular, S and X) and their multiple variants measure between 63 and 89 grams. The Forerunner 945, on the other hand, only comes in a 47mm size which measures 50 grams.

Garmin Fenix 7
Garmin Fenix 7| Image source: Garmin

Beyond that both these watches carry the flagship circular design of the Garmins. The diameter of the base Fenix 7 model is the same as the Forerunner 945 (47mm). But the latter is slightly thinner. Those with smaller or larger wrists can opt for the S or X Fenix 7. There is no such choice with the Forerunner.

Fenix 7 has a larger touch-enabled display

Garmin has managed to increase the size of the display on the Fenix watches while keeping the diameter the same. So you will get a 1.3″ screen on the base 47mm Fenix 7 version, while the Forerunner’s display is smaller by 0.1″. This also means the pixel density is larger on the Fenix at 260 x 260 (versus the 240 x 240 on Forerunner 945). A bigger screen means more room to view your notifications, maps and training data. You can check out the dimensions and resolution of the S and X variant in the table below.

While the display on all these watches is memory in pixel, there is a very important difference. On the Fenix 7 you can navigate the menus both by touching the screen and via the five physical buttons. Just like Fenix 6, the Forerunner 945 does not have a touch-enabled display.

All watches have excellent water resistance. The Fenix models 10 ATM and the Forerunner 945 has 5 ATM. Either of the two will suffice for most people.

Battery life is great on both watches

Battery life is fairly similar at around two weeks although you will get customisable power-management modes with the Fenix 7 which you don’t get on the Forerunner. Tweak the settings and the watch will show you exactly how much battery life (in hours) the watch has left.

Fenix 6 vs Forerunner 945: choosing between Garmin’s top multi-sport watches
Garmin Forerunner 945 | Image source: Garmin

Of course, there’s also the Fenix 7 solar variant. It comes with a transparent solar charging lens that sits on top of the watch face. This converts the sun’s rays into energy which provides you with an additional 20% (roughly) battery juice. No such choice with the Forerunner.

On to the sensors.

Both the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945 feature the same list of sensors. The difference is that the ones you’ll find on the Fenix are the newest generation. For example, the Garmin ELEVATE heart rate module has been upgraded to version 4 and the timepiece has the latest Sony multi-band GNSS chip.

The list of other sensors consists of an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, thermometer, Pulse Ox and barometric altimeter. As you’d expect from a sports watch there’s support for GPS/GLONASS/Galileo. The Sapphire editions of Fenix 7 also have multi-frequency positioning. This means multiple frequencies from each constellation for improved positioning where GNSS signals are weak.

Under the hood you’ll find a NFC chip for payments on the go. Finally, you also get storage for music – up to 2,000 songs on Fenix 7 and about a half of that on Forerunner 945.

Here’s a table illustrating the design differences between the Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945. We’ve also included the Fenix 6 watch in case you are considering that model. You are surely to find some nice discounts on that one.

Garmin Fenix 7
Garmin Fenix 6
Garmin Forerunner 945
Lens material
Corning Gorilla Glass 3 or sapphire crystal, Power Glass (for solar edition)
Corning Gorilla Glass 3 or sapphire crystal, Power Glass (for solar edition)
Corning Gorilla Glass DX
Bezel/case material
Stainless steel, titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium
Stainless steel, titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium
Fibre-reinforced polymer
Strap material
Silicone, leather, titanium or nylon
Silicone, leather, titanium or nylon
Silicone
Physical size
47 x 47 x 14.5 mm (base model); 51 x 51 x 14.9 mm (7X); 42 x 42 x 14.1 mm (7s)
47 x 47 x 14.7 mm (base model); 51 x 51 x 14.9 mm (6X); 42 x 42 x 13.8 mm (6s)
47 x 47 x 13.7 mm
Display type
Sunlight-visible transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Sunlight-visible transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Sunlight-visible transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Display size
1.3″ diameter (base model); 1.4″ diameter (6x); 1.2″ diameter (6s)
1.3″ diameter (base model); 1.4″ diameter (6x); 1.2″ diameter (6s)
1.2″ diameter
Display resolution
260 x 260 pixels (base model); 280 x 280 pixels (6x); 240 x 240 pixels (6s)
260 x 260 pixels (base model); 280 x 280 pixels (6x); 240 x 240 pixels (6s)
240 x 240 pixels
Touchscreen
Yes
No
No
Weight
63-89 grams (depending on model chosen)
58-93 grams (depending on model chosen)
50 grams
Battery life (base model)
Smartwatch: Up to 18 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 57 days
GPS Only: Up to 57 hours
All Satellite Systems: Up to 40 hours
All Satellite Systems + Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS: Up to 136 hours
Expedition GPS: Up to 40 days
Smartwatch: up to 14 days
GPS: up to 36 hours
Max battery GPS mode: up to 72 hours
Expedition GPS mode: up to 28 days
Battery saver watch mode: up to 48 days
Smartwatch mode: up to 2 weeks
GPS mode with music: up to 10 hours
GPS mode without music: up to 36 hours
Battery saver – customisable low power modes
Yes
Yes
No
Solar option
Yes
Yes
No
Water rating
10 ATM
10 ATM
5 ATM
Memory/history
16 GB
Sapphire Editions: 32 GB
32GB or 64MB (depending on model chosen)
200 hours of activity data
Sensors
Heart rate, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, SpO2
Heart rate, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, SpO2
Heart rate, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, SpO2
Connectivity
Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Satellite connectivity
GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
multi-frequency positioning (Sapphire edition only)
GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
Music storage
up to 2,000 songs
up to 2,000 songs (Pro and Sapphire editions), up to 500 songs (Solar edition)
up to 1,000 songs (some models have no music storage)
Garmin Pay
Yes
Yes
Yes
LTE option
No
No
Yes
Typical RRP
starting at $699.99
starting at $549.99
starting at $599.99

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945: Activity tracking features

Whatever sport you are into, these watches will have you covered. There’s a host of performance and physiological metrics to keep even the biggest data geeks busy. Garmin is the king of sports watches for a reason.

It is worth mentioning right away – the core of the functionality between these watches is the same. There is some difference in health and performance metrics but you’ll get plenty whatever you choose.

What you’ll find on both watches is: Anaerobic Training Effect, Real-Time Performance Condition, Calories Burned, Training Load, Tgraining Status, Training Load Balance, Workout Labels, Recovery Time Advisor, Quick Stress Level Test, All-day Stress & Recovery, Heat and Altitude Acclimatization, Body Resources, Race Predictor and Respiration Rate.

They also come with Garmin’s Body Battery function and Incident Detection and Assistance. The Forerunner 945 LTE can tap into the latter without the need for a smartphone. We are yet to see a Garmin Fenix watch with cellular support. Don’t be surprised if you see a Fenix 7 LTE in the coming months.

garmin-fenix-7

Garmin Fenix 7
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Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945

So what do you actually get on the Fenix 7 in terms of functionality that you don’t get on Forerunner 945? Some bits and pieces.

One of these is a Health Snapshot. Do a 2 minute test and you’ll get a bunch of figures including your heart rate variability (HRV). You’ll also get HIIT workouts and Vo2Max for trail running.

Worth a mention is the Up Ahead feature of the Fenix 7 along with a Stamina Metric. The first is a tool that provides information about upcoming locations along your route or the road on which you are travelling. The second is designed to show how much performance you have left in the tank. Its aim is to help you pace yourself so you don’t run out of gas before the finish line. Its possible some of these features will come the the Forerunner 945 via future firmware updates.

The remaining differences are minor. Here’s the full list. Once again, we’ve added the Fenix 6 to the table.

Garmin Fenix 7
Garmin Fenix 6
Garmin Forerunner 945
Relaxation reminders
Yes
Yes
No
Live Event sharing
Yes
Yes
Android only
Round-trip course creator (running/cycling)
Yes
Yes (Pro and Sapphire editions)
Yes
PacePro Pacing Strategies
Yes (with preloaded course)
Yes (with preloaded course)
Yes
Trendline Popularity Routing
Yes
Yes (Pro and Sapphire editions)
Yes
Outdoor recreation profiles
Hiking, Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking, Surfing, Hunting, Jumpmaster, Tactical, Kiteboard, Windsurf, Snowshoe
Hiking, Indoor Climbing, Bouldering, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking, Surfing, Jumpmaster, Tactical
Hiking, Climbing, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, XC Skiing, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Rowing, Kayaking
Around Me mode, ClimbPro AscentPlanner, Future elevation plot, Preloaded topographical maps, Downloadable cartography support, XERO locations
Yes
Yes (features depend on model)
Yes
Cycle Map (routable cycling-specific street ap)
Yes
Yes (Pro and Sapphire editions)
Yes
Health Snapshot
Yes
No
No
On-device Connect IQ store
Yes
No
No
Real-time settings sync with Garmin Connect Mobile
Yes
No
No
Pairs with Garmin Golf app
Yes
No
Yes
HIIT workouts
Yes
Yes
No
Vo2Max (trail running)
Yes
No
No
Real-time Stamina
Yes
No
No
Up Ahead
Yes
No
No

Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945: Verdict

The things that work in the favour of the Fenix 7 are mostly to do with design. This watch range is built from premium materials so is more durable and looks better than the Forerunner. The Fenix 7 also have a slightly larger screen than the Forerunner 945 which means more room for your data, maps, notifications, etc. Plus the display is touch-enabled.

It all comes down to how much money you are willing to spend. If you’re after more bang for your buck, the Forerunner 945 comes with pretty much everything you get on the Fenix 7 model. The sacrifice is the build of the device, which is slightly plasticky, along with a few missing performance metrics, fewer activity profiles, slightly shorter battery life, previous generation heart rate sensor and GPS chip – and a few other minor bits and pieces. If you only want the best – the Fenix 7 is the way to go.

garmin-fenix-7

Garmin Forerunner 945/945 LTE
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Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945

The Fenix 7 comes in a choice between three iterations to suit wrists of all sizes. There’s also the solar option if cost is not an issue. You can buy the watches on Amazon (links: Fenix 7Forerunner 945) and Garmin’s website.

You might also be considering the Fenix 6 model or the more fancy version of Garmin Fenix 7 called Epix 2. Read in detail how they compare on this link.

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One thought on “Garmin Fenix 7 vs Forerunner 945: choosing between these top multi-sport watches

  • Your forgot weight. It is significant for trainings. And 945’s weight is significantly less. It is hard choice for trainings

    Reply

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