The Garmin Forerunner 745 succeeds the Garmin 735XT and is the watch for serious athletes lacking the budget for a Garmin Forerunner 945.
Garmin’s aim with the Forerunner 745 was to pack in all the sports features it could get into a smaller case than on the 735XT. Granted, it has more sensors such as a pulse oximeter and offers smart features such as onboard storage for music and contactless payments.
As with its sibling devices, you get a device that’s accurate for those into running, swimming, cycling and some indoor activities such as rowing. What you now get with the Forerunner 745 is an abundance of metrics before and after your session. Plus, support for additional apps (found in the Connect IQ store) and sensors. With the addition of payments and music, it raises itself as a better smartwatch than others in the range. More, it pairs with any Android or iPhone.
All in all, the Forerunner 745 is a competent watch. Unfortunately, it could do with better battery life for the price, or, vice versa, it could be cheaper to compensate.
It comes with a 22mm silicon interchangeable wristband and a waterproof rating of 5ATM, meaning you can shower or swim in it.
For those that want colour options, you get whitestone, magma red, black and neo tropic.
Ultimately, you won’t see any drastic changes to the traditional Garmin design. And why should they when the previous versions work so well?
Sensors and Metrics
Firstly, you get GPS, GLONASS and Galileo to reliably track your outdoor adventures. More, you can upload a route before you head off, using Garmin’s native route finder, Koomoot or Strava. Also, you can use TracBack, a navigation feature to direct yourself home.
Secondly, the Garmin Elevate heart rate monitor is present. And on the back is ANT + and Bluetooth connectivity. These help you to pair other devices like the Varia or Garmin’s HRM straps. Even more still, there’s the addition on the SpO2 sensor, which is becoming standard on Garmin watches.
The additional sensors proving better and more accurate data make the Forerunner 745 feel like the upgrade from the 735XT. For example, you’ll see Load, Load Focus, Training Status; meaning you’ll know if you’ve got the balance right during your session. It’s not done yet, though. Also, you get altitude and heat acclimation data which tells you how well your body is adjusting to those demands from the terrain and other conditions. After a heavy session, it’ll calculate how long to rest to sufficiently recover. Once you have, it’ll let you know.
Another important addition to the software is Suggested Workouts. Predominantly for cyclists and runners and serves up workouts that suit your training.
This works by scrolling through from the watch face to your widgets. Your suggestions will be informed by what is beneficial to your training. Furthermore, you can opt for the workout during a session, and you’ll be told if you’ve hit or fallen short of your goal pace or distance.
On the whole, the smartwatch experience is decent. You get notifications for Android and iPhone, but it works better for the former.
Garmin Pay is present.
The app store still isn’t groundbreaking, but there’s the dedicated Garmin Connect IQ app, where your data lives. Also, you can do things like changing your watch face and select widgets from here from a wide range of options.
Similar to the Apple Watch, the Forerunner 745 has a new safety feature, like fall detection. But, you need to have your phone closeby for it to work.
Check out our comparison of Apple Watches to see if you think the SOS and fall detection feature is what you need.
In terms of the battery life, the Forerunner 745 will give you a week in smartwatch mode compared to only 6 hours in GPS mode if you’re listening to music. However, without music, you can get 16 hours with GPS on. This is not much different from any other of the Forerunner series.
Compare it to the Fenix 6, though, and you’re going to miss out on the power management mode. Considering you can get better battery life for less, it’s certainly something Garmin will want to address.
Should I buy a Garmin Forerunner 745?
If you want in-depth training data including recovery advice, then the Forerunner 745 is for you. Also, if you have a 735XT and want an upgrade, go for it, you won’t regret it; the improvements are worthwhile. Garmin is known for accurate data so runners, swimmers and cyclists can rely on accurate data.
However, if you’re looking for something with long battery life, you can definitely find a watch with better stamina for less money. So, if you can afford it, the Forerunner 945 will suit you better.
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