Are you in search of a reliable and functional running or hiking smartwatch? Or do you require a more robust set of smartwatch features for your multisport lifestyle? The answer to these questions will help determine your choice of smartwatch from Garmin with the Fenix 7 vs. Forerunner 945.
Today, we’re comparing the new Garmin Fenix 7 vs. Forerunner 945. These watches have plenty of similarities and they’re both top-tier smartwatches with loads of features. But since that’s not very helpful for anyone trying to make a decision between them, we’re going to start by examining some of the more significant differences between the new Garmin Fenix 7 and the Forerunner 945.
Fenix 7 Vs. Forerunner 945: Differences
1. No LTE option for Fenix 7
The Forerunner 945 LTE obviously offers LTE capabilities, though it’s also available without the LTE function. While the Fenix 7 cannot make phone calls or texts, it does have Garmin’s Smart Notifications feature. So, if your phone and watch are connected, you can still see that someone is trying to get a hold of you. The Forerunner 945 without LTE also offers Smart Notifications through Bluetooth.
2. No touchscreen on the Forerunner 945
If you are an adventurer, an enthusiast of any sport, or just always on the go, then a touchscreen may be appealing. The new Fenix 7 offers a touch screen display on all three size options, while the 945 does not. Instead, Forerunners utilize button and scroll controls.
3. Better water resistance on the Fenix 7
A higher ATM rating on the Fenix 7 makes sense, as it is advertised as a “multisport smartwatch,” while the Forerunner specializes in running features. The Fenix 7 is rated at 10 ATM (up to 100m), and the Forerunner is rated at 5 ATM (up to 50m).
4. More activity profiles on the Fenix 7
While you can track all the same types of activities on these two smartwatches, the Fenix series offers a lot more metrics in each category: golfing, swimming, running, and outdoor recreation.
5. The Forerunner is smaller overall
The Forerunner 945 is smaller than the Fenix 7 in every way, and therefore lighter too.
- Weight range of the Fenix 7 (from the 7S to the 7X): 63g-89g.
- Weight range of the Forerunner 945 : 49g-50g
- Screen size on fenix 7: 1.2-1.4 inches
- Screen size on Forerunner 945: 1.2 inches
Fenix 7 Vs. Forerunner 945: Similarities
Comparing the Fenix 7 vs. Forerunner 945 reveals that both Garmin smartwatches offer a comprehensive package of health monitoring sensors: pulse oximeter, Garmin Elevate™ wrist heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a thermometer. This doesn’t even include their positioning and mapping sensors.
Navigation is a major strength of Garmin products, which makes sense given Garmin’s former product specialty, GPS units. The Fenix 7 and Forerunner 945 are both excellent GPS smartwatches and both keep you on track with GPS, GLONASS, and GALILEO, which are different types of satellite-based navigation systems.
Battery Life Comparison
A major advantage the Fenix has over the Forerunner is a solar upgrade option, which can help extend battery life. Upgrading to the solar version does add to the Fenix 7’s cost, but it helps that Garmin offers all three sizes (7S, 7, and 7X) in the solar model. Even without a solar upgrade, the Fenix 7 series and the 945 both offer great battery life when compared to most smartwatches, and you won’t drain your battery too quickly using GPS, as other watches tend to do.
Fenix 7 Vs. Forerunner 945 Designs
A quick first look reveals that the design of the Fenix 7 stands out far more than the 945’s, due to the sheen of the Fenix’s stainless steel bezel, the larger screen, and the hefty case size. However, both Garmin smartwatches are relatively sleek and minimal when compared to other Garmin models like the earlier Fenix 6 range, Epix, or Instinct.
Despite being a larger smartwatch overall than the 945, the Fenix 7 possesses design features that help make it very comfortable and possibly a bit easier to use than the 945. These include smaller buttons that don’t protrude as far, a smoother backing, and sensors that are better blended into the watch.
Less prominent buttons make sense on the Fenix 7 as you are likely to be using the touchscreen function more often than the buttons. You can still switch to button controls, too. It also helps that the Fenix 7 has a slightly larger screen than the 945 (1.2 inches versus 1.2-1.4 inches, respectively). The 7’s touchscreen is protected by the stainless-steel bezel, and your option of Power Glass, Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX, or Power Sapphire™.
The Forerunner 945 is still quite durable with the Corning® Gorilla® Glass DX for both the LTE and non-LTE versions. There is a very small difference in the smartwatches’ resolution with the Fenix 7’s at around 260×260 pixels, and the 945’s at 240×240 pixels.
More design options on the Fenix 7
If you are in the market for a running watch, and particularly if you’re looking for a second watch that will serve only as a running watch, then design might not be a priority. The Forerunner 945 may be perfect for you in this case; while it is a sleek and lightweight smartwatch, it is limited in design options and comes only in black or white. The Fenix 7, on the other hand, has six color combinations to choose from.
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Comparing Basic Smartwatch Specs
Garmin Fenix 7
Size options: 51mm (7X); 47mm (7); 42mm (7S)
Upgrade options: Solar powered, or Sapphire Glass, or both Solar & Sapphire
Connectivity features: smart notifications, Garmin pay, GPS, up to 16 GB of memory
Display type: touch screen sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel
Bezel material: stainless steel
Color and design options: Silver/Graphite, Silver/Whitestone, Slate Grey/Black, Black Titanium/Black, Mineral Blue Titanium/Whitestone, Carbon Gray Titanium/Black
Price range: $899.99 to $1299.99
Garmin Forerunner 945
Size options: 44mm (LTE), 47mm (no LTE)
Upgrade options: LTE upgrade, or Blue Bundle without LTE
Connectivity features: LTE (can make calls and SMS), plus smart notifications, Garmin pay, GPS, music storage up to 1000 songs
Display type: sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel
Bezel material: fiber-reinforced polymer
Color and design options: Whitestone, Black, Blue
Price range: $829.99 – $1029.99
The Forerunner 945 may be right for you if:
- You want LTE capabilities on a smartwatch (make calls, send messages).
- Are a dedicated runner or hiker.
- You prefer a smaller and lighter wrist piece.
Read our full review of the Forerunner 945 here.
The Fenix 7 may be right for you if you:
- get outside a lot for a wide variety of sports and activities, including running, cycling, and working out at the gym.
- need a rugged smartwatch for things like camping, climbing, or watersports.
- prefer a touchscreen smartwatch.
Read our full review of the Garmin Fenix 7 series here.
Bernadette has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (where she lives). She has a passion for writing and we like her contribution and style to our blog. Bernadette loves the outdoors and things like hiking, camping, and biking. Wishing she could travel more.
Bernadette is an editor, writer and proofreader for Superwatches. Currently lives in Alberta Canada.