A brief history:
Suppose you are the type of runner or sports lover who is considering becoming a little more serious about those all-important metrics but perhaps can’t justify the price of one of the costlier running watches out there. In that case, you might be looking at purchasing a Garmin Forerunner.
Since its release in October 2015, the Garmin Forerunner 235 has been without a doubt one of the most popular running watches that they’ve ever produced. Even the release of its successor the Forerunner 245 in April 2019 has done little to knock it off that spot. Let’s look at the specs for both watches and see which one might make the perfect entry-level running watch.
Garmin Forerunner Design
Like most other wearable companies, Garmin is no stranger to the school of making each new model just that little bit smaller than the previous one and that is exactly what has happened here. The 245 has a 42mm case whilst the 235 measures in at a slightly larger 45mm, however it is a little slimmer – although this is not incredibly noticeable.
Both models feature circular screens that are the same size, and both use identical transflective technology for the display – this provides strong visibility but doesn’t drain the battery. The 245 has a slightly better resolution. Both watches have interchangeable 20mm watch bands and both have a 5ATM waterproof rating, making them suitable for swims up to 50 m.
Both feature a heart rate sensor that is located in the back of the watch. The 235 has the first generation of this sensor whilst the 245 benefits from a slightly modified sensor. Overall, this means that the 245 performs slightly better than the older 235, but with both models having the option of a chest strap heart rate monitor then this may not be such an issue.
Overall, both watches offer a really sporty design with a huge number of similarities and very few differences when it comes to design. The bands on both can be changed if you want a little more color, and the 245 can be purchased in more colorways.
- Ultimately, there really is very little in it but the smaller case and slightly better resolution of the 245 just gives it the edge.
The 245 offers the all-important core modes of running, cycling, and pool swimming. It also allows for the indoor tracking of some other activities. There is also an automatic rep counter for any strength training. The tracking is 24/7 and includes tracking for stress and also the body battery feature which is new from Garmin – this feature is not available on the 235.
The 245 also benefits from some additional sensors which are great for those who love the outdoors; these include an onboard compass that has plenty of navigation features. The new Pulse Ox sensor gives much better sleep metrics and also better metrics on elevated terrain.
On the other hand, the 235 focuses more on tracking cycling and running and has limited features when it comes to navigation. It also doesn’t allow you to add any advanced running metrics. There are both GPS and GLONASS sensors on the 235 which means it can track accurately and the accelerometer is great for tracking indoor activities.
- If you just want to track your activity then the 235 will certainly hit the bill. However, if you want something that does a little more, and does it a little better, then you really should be looking at the 245, which has been designed a little more with the more dedicated athlete in mind.
Garmin Forerunner Battery life
Garmin believes that battery life is really important, and that applies to all of their watches. Obviously how long the battery lasts really does depend on which features you use however the 245 promises to give a full 7 days in smartwatch mode and a full 24 hours when used in GPS mode. This is in comparison to the 9 days and 11 hours offered respectively by the 235.
- If you are looking for a watch with good GPS capacity then the 245 is the better option, however if smartwatch mode is where you will use your battery consider the 235.
Having listened to buyers’ requirements, Garmin has started to add more smartwatch features to their models. The 235 might have been launched in 2015 but iPhone and Android-friendly watches were already capable of so much more at that point.
The 235 is pretty basic in this sense. However, the 245 does all of the basic smartwatch things that you might expect with one big addition and that is its built-in music player. If you want to download your own music to the watch or use supported streaming services, then the 245 Music model will allow you to do this.
- If you want smartwatch features, and especially music, then you really need to be looking at the 245.
If you are looking for a good quality tracker that offers you all of the basics and looks good, then the 235 will serve you well. If, however, you need more smartwatch features and better, and more detailed tracking, then the 245 is the Garmin for you.
You can also check out the new Garmin Fenix 7.
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Last Updated on January 9, 2022
A highly motivated all-around writing professional with experience in writing about modern technology. Joanne writes for Superwatches for over 2 years now. Joanne specializes in product comparisons and reviews for us and we truly appreciate the quality of her work.
Lives in Congleton, UK.