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Garmin Forerunner 945 review

A high price that delivers high performance

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0
GBP £500.00 RRP | USD $600.00 | EUR €550.00 | AUD $999.00
Garmin Forerunner 945 smartwatch

Our review

Almost everything an athlete could possibly want
Pros: Countless features; battery life; session analysis
Cons: That price is hard to ignore
Skip to view product specifications

Garmin’s slightly confusing range of smartwatches also includes the Forerunner 745, and the Fenix 6 which essentially has the same features as the 945 but comes in a classier, more expensive package.


So, whether you already own one of Garmin’s many watches or are wanting to enter the brand’s wrist-based world for the first time, does the Forerunner 945 warrant the mighty spend?

Some of the main improvements from the 945’s predecessor, the Forerunner 935, include the very handy option to play music directly from the watch to your headphones via Bluetooth without your phone.

It also boasts a new optical heart-rate sensor, along with a whole host of tracking and analysis upgrades to satisfy the most stats-obsessed cyclist.

The 945 will now adapt its feedback if you’re training in hot conditions or at altitude, and the training analysis is incredibly detailed.

Straight after a workout, you can see how your session benefitted you aerobically as well as anaerobically, and the Training Effect feature tells you how the session will impact your endurance fitness (i.e. a long, steady session will affect your aerobic capacity).

The Training Load feedback will require you to wear the watch almost constantly to get the most out of it, yet the great thing about the 945 is that, no matter how deep you go, it’s still hugely simple and intuitive to operate.

If you just want to press go and get on your bike, it’s as easy as pressing a button and waiting for the satellite to pick up, and generally, the four-button interface is very user-friendly.

The large screen is clear when on the move and the colours look especially vibrant when using the excellent mapping features, while its whopping battery life of 36 hours in GPS mode is really impressive.

All the connectivity we’ve come to expect from the tech giant remains on the 945, including instant sharing to third-party apps and smart notifications.

New features include Garmin Pay for contactless payments, and Incident Detection to notify chosen contacts when the watch detects a bike crash.


HR accuracy fared very well in comparison tests and I had no problems with GPS reliability.

Smartwatches for cyclists

Are smartwatches truly essential for cyclists when an all-singing bike computer, such as a Garmin Edge 1030, will give you all the two-wheeled features you’ll ever need… and probably some that you don’t?

A smartwatch can do a lot though: provide 24/7 data; comprehensive cycling stats; sleep pattern, recovery status and physical fitness analysis; and some can even tell you how well you’re acclimatising to altitude and give real-time advice on when to fuel your rides.

Combined with data from any other sports you’ll have a holistic view of your training and can create training plans and analyse your routes/rides in detail.

There is a lot to choose from though, and some of these features you simply won’t need so, beyond our test of six popular options, make sure you do your own research too. We’ve also got a guide to choosing the best cycling watch, with our top-rated options.

Also on test

Product Specifications


Price AUD $999.00EUR €550.00GBP £500.00USD $600.00
Weight 50g
Brand Garmin


Heart Rate Monitor Type Ooptical heart-rate sensor
Replaceable Strap 1
Battery life Smartwatch mode: up to 2 weeks / GPS mode with music: up to 10 hours / GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours
Connectivity Ant+, bluetooth and wifi
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels
Rechargeable battery Yes
Screen dimensions 30.4 mm (diameter)
Water resistance 5 ATM