Rating : 3.75/5
Garmin Forerunner 745, Garmin’s Triathlon watch succeeds in many aspects but is the price justifiable?
Last year, Garmin released its most advanced sports watch The Garmin Forerunner 745, a successor to its long running Garmin Forerunner 735XT. This new device is essentially made for athletes and triathletes. Forerunner 745 have all of the sport modes that you would expect in any premium smartwatch including cycling dynamics, run dynamics, auto track modes, body battery, triathlon, and multisport swim run. This is one of the smartwatches that could coach you from day to day improvements, by measuring how tired you are, how hard you went through your workouts, how much sleep you got, etc.
The daily workouts and suggestions are actually good and challenging even for an upper-level triathlete, something that is rarely available in current generation smartwatches. Having said that, the watch is pretty expensive. If price is your top most criteria, I would advise you to stay away from the Garmin Forerunner 745. However, if you are a fan of Garmin, then look at the Garmin Vivoactive 4S which is also an equally good sports watch but is slightly dialed down from the advanced Forerunner 745.
The Garmin Forerunner 745 comes with black, red, white, and neo tropic colors.
Garmin Forerunner Key features :
- Advanced sports tracking
- Onboard music
- Corning gorilla glass
- Inbuilt GPS
- Contactless payments
- Body battery
- 5ATM water resistant
Screen and design :
The Garmin Forerunner 745 comes with a graceful design similar to an analog watch with curved round edges. This watch is made smaller in size compared to other forerunner watches with 43.8*43.8*13.3 mm physical dimensions, and 1.2 inch diameter. Garmin Forerunner 745 watch has 240*240 pixel screen resolution with TFT touch interface display. The transflective display(TFT) consumes less power and covers up all the daily activities with a good screen visibility and has a longer life span compared to the AMOLED display.
The Garmin Forerunner 745 weights around 47g which doesn’t make us feel so heavy. The
straps of the band are made up of silicon material and are interchangeable. The device is both wifi and bluetooth enabled, with a 5ATM water resistant rating. Garmin Forerunner 745 battery life can stand up to 7 days in smartwatch mode, up to 6 hrs with GPS + music, up to 16 hrs in GPS mode without music, and close to 21 hrs in ultra trac mode.
Looking at the sensors, Garmin Forerunner 745 has GPS, GLONASS and galileo satellite systems to cover up all your outdoor activities. This watch has 5 buttons, 3 on the left and two on the right. The back of the watch has a charging socket and a heart rate sensor.
Garmin Forerunner 745 music has 4GB internal storage that can carry upto 500 songs. The device can stream music from i heart radio, deezer along with spotify, and allows you to stream innumerable tunes. You can also load playlists from spotify and listen to them without your smartphone. You will need a spotify premium account to transfer the playlists (offline support). Similar to Garmin Vivoactive 4S, we can pair any bluetooth headphones to the watch. The Forerunner 745 is a successor to the Forerunner 735XT, putting many of the same features into the current version.
Before you download music or other audio files to your watch from a third-party provider, you must connect to the provider using the Garmin Connect app. You can load your personal audio files such as mp3 files to a Forerunner 745 device from your computer. This includes a built-in music player, where you can transfer your music playlists via drag and drop on your computer.
Recovery feature has been there in other Garmin devices. However, the Forerunner 745 takes multiple signals such as stress, sleep, exercise activity, VO2 max etc. and comes with a recovery time that your body needs. Once the log the rest period, the watch signals that your recovery time is completed. It seems to give inaccurate measurements at first but then it asks you to complete some activities to learn more about your performance.
You can use the GPS navigation features on your device to view your path on a map. You can save locations and also send a course from your Garmin Connect account to Forerunner 745. If not Garmin Connect, you also have the ability to load a course from Strava or Komoot. After a route is saved to your device, you can save your current location to navigate back to your starting point. This is similar to TracBack in Garmin’s HandHeld GPS devices,
You can delete the saved location or edit its name, elevation, and position information. You can navigate back to the starting point from your current activity or along the path you traveled. This feature is available only for activities that use GPS.
You can also follow a saved course, trying to match or exceed previously set performance goals. For example, if the original course was completed in 30 minutes, you can race against a virtual partner trying to complete the course in under 30 minutes.
Heart rate :
Heart rate sensor on a smartwatch is not new at this point. However, Garmin has a collection of higher-end Heart Rate Monitors including HRM-Pro, HRM-Swim, or HRM-Tri that can work with its smartwatches. If you do not want to carry your smartwatch underwater or if you want more accurate cardiac performance reading, you can use one of the Garmin’s heart rate monitors to record and store your heart rate data while you are swimming. As long as you paired the smartwatch and HRM before swimming, you can always download the data after your activity is done. Your heart rate data can be reviewed on your Garmin Connect app.
The app also lets you set abnormal heart rate alerts. This feature only alerts you when your heart rate exceeds or drops below a certain number of beats per minute, as selected by the user, after a period of inactivity. This feature does not notify you of any potential heart condition and is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition or disease.
HRV stress score is the result of a three-minute test performed while standing still, where the Forerunner device analyzes heart rate variability to determine your overall stress. The stress score range is 1 to 100, where 1 is a very low stress state, and 100 is a very high stress state. Knowing your stress score can help you decide if your body is ready for a tough training run or yoga.
The watch is specially focused on Triathlon enthusiasts. We have a Triathlon mode, which is similar to what we have in Forerunner 735XT. This mode supports brick workouts. A push of a button will stop one leg and another push will start the next leg. The button press also comes with a loud beep, confirming the action.
Training status :
Training status helps you to track and understand your training activities. The measurements require a few activities using wrist-based heart rate or a compatible chest heart rate monitor.
Training status shows you how your training affects your fitness and performance. Your training status is based on changes to your training load and VO2 max. Over an extended time period, your device displays heat and altitude corrected VO2 max values when you are acclimating to high heat environments or high altitude.
Training load is the sum of your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) over the last 7 days. EPOC is an estimate of how much energy it takes for your body to recover after exercise. Training Focus analyzes and distributes your training load into different categories based on the intensity and structure of each activity recorded. Training Load Focus includes the total load accumulated per category, and the focus of the training. Your device displays your load distribution over the last 4 weeks.
Body battery :
This feature mainly provides a detailed and overall analysis of your energy levels in the form of points – rated from 1-100. Generally the score of your body battery should be high. The body battery rating is intuitively divided into 4 quarters. A rating of 0-25 indicates very low energy level, while any score between 75-100 indicates high energy levels.
Usually the body battery shows you a higher score in the morning, then starts draining gradually by the work you do throughout the day. This body battery score comes from a great combination of signals such as heart rate, stress and other activities. When you do not wear your watch for a long period of time, the watch will reset its body battery score and starts measuring your body battery right from the moment you start wearing the watch.
Safety tracking features :
Incident detection and assistance are supplemental features and should not be relied on as a primary method to obtain emergency assistance. The Garmin Connect app does not contact emergency services on your behalf. To use these features, you must connect to the Garmin Connect app using Bluetooth and enter emergency contacts to your Garmin Connect account. Before you can start a GroupTrack session, you must have a Garmin Connect account, a compatible smartphone, and the Garmin Connect app.
These instructions are for starting a grouptrack session with Forerunner devices. If your connections have other compatible devices, you can see them on the map. The other devices may not be able to display grouptrack riders on the map. The grouptrack feature allows you to keep track of other connections in your group using live tracking directly on the screen. All members of the group must be your connections in your Garmin connect account. When an incident is detected by your GPS enabled Forerunner device, the Garmin connect app can send an automated text message and email with your name and GPS location to your emergency contacts. A message appears on your display, indicating your contacts will be informed after 30 seconds have elapsed. If you don’t feel it is necessary, you can select cancel before the countdown is complete. A similar feature called ‘fall detection’ is available in the Apple Watch 6.
Pulse oximeter :
The Garmin Forerunner 745 has a wrist-based pulse oximeter to measure saturation of oxygen in your blood. This can help you determine how your body is acclimating to high altitudes for sport and expedition.
You can also turn on all day readings. When you remain motionless, your device analyzes your oxygen saturation and your elevation. The elevation profile indicates how your pulse oximeter readings are changing, relative to your elevation.
On the device, your pulse oximeter reading appears as an oxygen saturation percentage and color on the graph. On your Garmin Connect account, you can view additional details about your pulse oximeter readings.
Final verdict :
Garmin Forerunner 745 is a great multisport watch – probably the best sports watch out there. This watch is thin, light, comfortable and durable. Ready to record anything from running, cycling, swimming, skiing, walking, and marathon, to playing offline music from Spotify or other services and supporting all high end smartwatch features. As it is equipped with many features, the battery isn’t sufficient for this watch, especially in GPS+Music mode. The watch is quite expensive and doesn’t offer cellular connection.
Having said that, many smart watch features are missing. No touchscreen. That is a bummer for me. I cannot answer calls directly from the device since the watch does not have a microphone. Well the watch is not designed for smartwatch features, but I would expect these features at this price tag. This watch is not for everyone. If I am an elite athlete or a fitness freak and looking to have a smartwatch that can simplify my life, probably that’s when I look for it. This doesn’t mean you won’t like it. You need to know what’s in the box before making a decision to purchase.