Garmin’s fan base, or at least most of it, consists of those fitness enthusiasts who have deep pockets. But the US-based company is now trying to break into a relatively more affordable smartwatch segment with its Forerunner 45. While it already has Forerunner 35 in this segment, the Forerunner 45 is Garmin’s attempt to better it, and it’s quite apparent – in fact, the Forerunner 45 is probably Garmin’s finest product in this segment.
Thanks to the new look, a round display, and colour schemes, the Garmin Forerunner 45 is one good-looking smartwatch with various practical features. But does it have the mettle to challenge its competitors like the Fitbit Versa 2 (Review)? And that’s exactly what we set out to find.
While most of the smartwatches and fitness trackers are now going for a more boxy design – like the Forerunner 35 or Fitbit Versa 2 – Garmin Forerunner 45 has gone back to the circular built. It not only gives it a distinct identity but also a classic wrist-watch feel and a sense of nostalgia. The watch is available in multiple colour options – the one we reviewed was the black and red variant.
The device is lightweight, and the strap feels a little cheap. The straps are screwed into the dial body, which means there is no option for you to change them as per your taste.
The Forerunner 45 has a 1.04-inch colour display with thick bezels. The LCD panel features a 208x208pixel resolution, which is less than the 300x300pixel resolution of the Fitbit Versa 2. In the real world, you can easily see the display contents under direct sunlight. In comparison, because of the greater screen resolution of the Versa 2, the contents of its screen are crispier and the display is more beautiful.
One of the most distinctive features of the smartwatch is its button-based navigation. While the competitors are moving towards touch-based navigation, Garmin is keeping things old-fashioned. There are a total of five buttons on the smartwatch, one of which is to control the backlight.
Frankly speaking, between the Forerunner 45 and Versa 2, I wouldn’t take sides when comparing touch- or button-based navigations, as both of them have their pros and cons. Having touch-based navigation means that the device is loaded with the latest tech. But button-based navigation allows you to quickly launch workouts or use the stopwatch to get millisecond-level accuracy if you are a professional.
Also, buttons offer you the ease of accessing everything even when you have sweaty fingers. Further, it has a 5ATM water-resistance rating, which means you don’t need to remove it when you go for a post-workout shower.
The Garmin Forerunner is basically aimed at runners and offers various modes, like cycling, treadmill, cardio, and walking. You can also add other workouts via the Garmin Connect app. While the smartwatch itself displays limited information, the app gives you an extremely detailed overview of stats, like distance, time, pace, and heart rate.
The Forerunner 45 also tracks your sleep patterns, including the time you went to bed and woke up. The app also shows you the duration of your sleep and categorises it in two categories – deep sleep and light sleep. This feature can be really helpful in improving your sleep habits, thereby allowing you to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The Forerunner 45 also lets you check your stress level and body battery – a feature that uses a combination of heart rate variability and activity to estimate the user's energy reserves throughout the day.
Another interesting feature of the watch is that it gives notifications from apps, like Gmail, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messages, Calls, and LinkedIn – you know, those that matter the most. If you're like me and have a habit of picking up your phone every time you get a notification, you’ll find the watch extremely helpful, for now, you can see notifications on the watch and dismiss it if it doesn’t require your immediate attention. What’s more? The watch even allows you to change songs playing on your phone, which means that you can quickly move on to the next track on the playlist without even touching your phone! However, there’s no on-device storage for music.
The Garmin Connect App gives you detailed information about your workout sessions, heart rate, and sleep. You can analyse workout and health-related data and set your goals to get a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, the Forerunner 45 also offers you access to the Garmin Connect IQ store, which allows you to download different watch faces.
Garmin claims that the Forerunner 45’s battery can last up to a week on a single charge. We were able to squeeze out about five days of run-time on a full charge while constantly using it.
The Garmin Forerunner 45 is a pretty basic watch, which is accurate and efficient in what it does. Whether it’s workout or sleep, you can rely on the data collected by the wearable. Also, you can get customised workout plans for maximum output. However, given its Rs 19,490 price tag (on Amazon) and the fact that products like Fitbit Versa 2 offer a better package , it may leave you wanting for something more.
Pros: Long battery life, lightweight and accurate
Cons: No on device music storage, no third-party apps support