Garmin Forerunner 945 Review

Garmin Forerunner 945 Reviewby Darin Robertson

When I heard the announcement of the Garmin Forerunner 945, my first call was to Kyle's Bikes to see how soon I could get one. I had it that evening. After all, it was based on a product that survived an Ironman with me!

I'm excited to share my review with you.

My History

This spring when Kyle's Bikes announced the release of the Garmin Edge 530, I hadn’t really thought about it, but on the other hand, I’ve had my 520 for a couple of years now, and I debated upgrading to the 530.

I had a setback in training this spring with some surgery, so I haven’t been working out quite as much as I have over the last eight years, when I’d been doing mainly distance triathlons. As I thought about upgrading, I hadn’t been riding much, and realized that even last year, I was probably more dependent on my Forerunner 935 than my Edge. I thought I’d hold out until I could get back to more consistent training.

Just a couple of weeks later, Kyle's Bikes and Garmin announced the Forerunner 945, and I didn’t know this one was coming. Honestly, my 935 was exceptional, and it did everything that I’ve needed it to do in training and racing. There may have been a couple of minor things like reporting an optical HR wrong at times or being slightly off with my GPS, but the 935 is a great computer!

Garmin Forerunner 945 First Impressions

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewWhen I picked up the Forerunner 945, I was really surprised with how many more settings there were to go through. If you are familiar at all with the 920XT or 935, it will be familiar to you, but you now have a lot more control about the data you are going to see and use. They have included connectivity to more devices, and there are more options to the data screens for training/racing and just general reporting on your activities.

With the 935, they began to try analyzing the workouts by indicating relative anaerobic and aerobic content of the workouts as well as recommended recovery. Reports I usually dismissed. After using the 945 for a couple of months now, it feels like they have refined their analytics quite a bit and they seem much closer to how I’m feeling. I’m still not back to 100%, but they have added a “body battery” which is supposed to indicate overall energy, and it seems to be pretty accurate in how I feel based on workouts and in recovery.

Running and Biking

Garmin Forerunner 945 has optical HROut on the run, there are a few things that I’ve noticed as improvements with the Forerunner 945 including the accuracy of the GPS, improvements in the optical HR sensor, and finally being able to play music and connecting to wireless headset. In the older unit, occasionally it may show cutting a corner or not capturing the pace quite right with what I felt at that point. With the 945, I haven’t had any issues. It has been very accurate reporting my track.

In the 935, sometimes the optical HR sensor would read abnormally high or low, particularly if I were sweating heavily. With the 945, I’ve noticed that it may jump high right at the beginning of the workout (noticed on both bike and run), but after a couple minutes it settles in and tracks consistently with my perceived effort. I compared it to readings with my Edge 520 and using a HR strap on a couple rides, and they tracked pretty close.

I never used to listen to music out on the run because I didn’t want to carry my phone. Since they added music control in the 945, it’s too easy not to use. I can upload a personal or Spotify playlist, and connect to my Jaybird X3 headphones over Bluetooth. It works really well, and I haven’t had any issues with dropouts.

Swimming

Being a swimmer (and coach), I’m usually in the pool rather than open water, and just use the pace clock rather than a watch. So far, I’ve only done one open water swim, and it seems to track stroke rate and GPS track as well as my 935 (which I thought worked well).

Triathlon

Garmin Forerunner 945 ReviewI tend to be someone that enjoys technology, and like to stay up with it as much as I can. I started doing triathlons with the 910XT. It was huge, but worked well. The 920XT was more reliable, but the battery died about an hour before the finish of my first Ironman. The 935 checked all the boxes and did everything I needed it to do, but the Forerunner 945 does all of this and more! The screen is brighter, the GPS connects quicker. No dropouts with connected devices (so far) and it takes a rock solid device and makes it extraordinary!

If you are looking for a triathlon watch and are doing longer distance races, the Garmin Forerunner 945 will do everything and more!

Now, back to the 530… Anyone need a 520 that I may need to sell?

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Katherine is our Content Champion. She has done triathlons in the past, and now focuses on mountain biking and long-distance gravel riding. She still has a soft spot in her heart for weird multi-sport events like indoor triathlon and aquabike. She also teaches indoor cycling.

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