Just two years after Garmin launched the Forerunner 935 comes the 945, which now becomes their flagship ‘plastic’ multisport watch. Garmin’s slightly confusing range also includes the new Fenix 6, which essentially has the same features but comes in a classier, more expensive package with the option to spec a titanium bezel and sapphire crystal lens.
If you already own a pre-existing Garmin multisport watch, does the new 945 warrant the upgrade? Some of the main improvements over the 935 include the impressive option to play music directly from the watch to your headphones via Bluetooth without your phone, improved battery life, a new optical heart rate sensor and a whole host of tracking and analysis upgrades. The 945 will now adapt its feedback if you’re training in hot conditions or at altitude, and generally the training analysis is incredibly detailed. Straight after a workout, you can see how your session benefitted you aerobically and anaerobically, and the Training Effect feature tells you how the session will impact your endurance fitness (i.e. a long steady session will affect 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. If you just want to press go and run it’s as easy as pressing the top right button a couple of times and waiting for the satellite to pick up, and generally the four button interface is very easy to use.
The large screen is clear and the colours look especially vibrant when using the excellent mapping features, while the battery life is a whopping 36hrs in GPS mode. All the connectivity we’ve come to expect remain 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.
We’d no problems with GPS or HR accuracy in comparison tests on land. We’re still not convinced by GPS accuracy in open water and noticed dropouts during sessions and a race, but accuracy is improved when the watch is worn under a swim cap, a somewhat precarious tip actually suggested by Garmin for the most consistent readings.
Could a future edition be even better? Of course, it could become lighter and smaller, and open-water swim accuracy still remains patchy, but we think the Forerunner 945 has almost everything the modern triathlete could possibly want or need.
Verdict: Quite simply, The most complete multisport watch we’ve used to date 92%
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