Garmin Enduro vs. Garmin Forerunner 945: Which should you buy?

Garmin Forerunner 945
Garmin Forerunner 945 (Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Forerunner 945

Forerunner 945

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is a well-rounded wearable that will meet the needs of most athletes. You'll have access to full-color mapping, in-depth fitness tracking, music storage, and more. It's also much more affordable than the Enduro.

Garmin Forerunner 945

Elite running watch

Full-color maps
Multiple sport modes
Advanced performance metrics
Music storage and Wi-Fi
Shorter battery life
No solar charging

Garmin Enduro

Garmin Enduro

If you've been searching for a smartwatch with solar charging, you may have met your match with the Garmin Enduro. While it offers some other helpful features, it's not a huge upgrade from the Forerunner 945. Not to mention it's unreasonably expensive.

Garmin Enduro

Solar battery champ

Solar charging
Multiple sport modes
Advanced performance metrics
Battery saving modes
Ridiculously expensive
No maps or music storage

Garmin Enduro vs. Garmin Forerunner 945: Pick your features

When you're looking for the best Android smartwatch to help you track your progress as an athlete, there are numerous options to pick from. As you may know, Garmin offers some of the best wearables for athletes, including the Enduro and the Forerunner 945. While you find a lot of overlap when it comes to features, it will more than likely be the differences that guide you to your choice.

If you're a true outdoor adventurer and you need a wearable that can accommodate a high volume of activities, the Garmin Enduro with solar charging will likely cater to your needs. With that said, this is an insanely expensive smartwatch. The major difference between the Enduro and the Forerunner 945 is solar charging, so you'll have to decide if that feature is worth the huge price jump. If you're an elite runner or athlete who wants a watch with in-depth tracking, full-color mapping, and music storage, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the better choice.

The Garmin Enduro offers solar power to keep you connected

Garmin Enduro

Source: Garmin (Image credit: Source: Garmin)

The primary reason to buy the Garmin Enduro is if you'd benefit from the solar charging feature. Those who spend a majority of their time outdoors may need a watch that can last for hours or even days without charging. The good news is that's exactly what the Enduro is designed to do. It may be a relatively new wearable, but it could quickly become one of the best Garmin smartwatches for endurance athletes.

If you're curious about what solar charging gets you, this watch can last for 50 days in Smartwatch mode, which increases to 65 days with solar charging. the Enduro can last for up to 50 days. When you use solar charging, that bumps up to 65 days. In Battery Saver Watch Mode, the Enduro can last for a whopping 130 days or a full year with solar charging. As far as solar charging goes, this feature assumes all-day wear with 3 hours outside per day in 50,000 lux conditions. That's pretty specific, so make sure it will actually work with your lifestyle.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Garmin EnduroGarmin Forerunner 945
Display1.4" sunlight-visible, transflective1.2" sunlight-visible, transflective
Dimensions51x51x14.9 mm47x47x13.7 mm
SensorsGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, heart rate monitor, accelerometer altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometerGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, heart rate monitor, accelerometer altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometer
Water resistance10 ATM5 ATM
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: 50 days or 65 days with solar
Battery Saver Watch mode: 130 days or 1 year with solar
GPS mode: 70 hours or 80 hours with solar
Max Battery GPS mode: 200 hours or 300 hours with solar
Expedition GPS Activity mode: 65 days or 95 days with solar
Smartwatch mode: 14 days
GPS mode: 36 hours
GPS + Music mode: 10 hours
Battery saving modes✔️
Garmin Pay✔️✔️
Music storage✔️

Another benefit of buying the Garmin Enduro is that the design is specifically made for endurance athletes. This ginormous wearable comes in a 51mm case and offers a 1.4-inch transflective display that's optimized for sunlight visibility. You'll have the option of either stainless steel or a titanium bezel. This watch also boasts a weather-resistant that's rugged enough to handle various conditions. It comes with a light sport loop elastic band that can be easily adjusted for a perfect fit.

While most people will buy the Garmin Enduro for its more advanced features, you do get quite a few standard perks as well. Some examples include onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, Body Battery, sleep monitoring, stress tracking, Garmin Pay, smartphone notifications, and 10 ATM water resistance. You'll make some compromises, though. The Enduro doesn't have music storage, Wi-Fi, or full-color mapping. All of these perks are available on the Forerunner 945.

Aside from solar charging, the more advanced feature set is where the Garmin Enduro really shines.

Aside from solar charging, the more advanced feature set is where the Garmin Enduro really shines. For example, trail run VO2 max will estimate your cardiovascular fitness level when trail running. Your watch will adjust based on the varying trail and terrain conditions that can impact your performance. Climbers will benefit from the Garmin Enduro as well. The ClimbPro ascent planner offers real-time data on your current and future climbs, including distance, gradient, and elevation gain.

After you complete a challenging activity, you can turn to Enduro's built-in recovery advisor to find out how long you need to rest before you get back out there. It's also worth mentioning this watch offers perks for different athletes, including mountain biking metrics, surf-ready features, and PacePro technology for runners. You can take advantage of the daily suggested workouts, which offer daily run and ride suggestions based on your current training load and training status.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is the best pick for elite runners

As the name suggests, the Forerunner 945 is the better choice for runners. While there are plenty of Garmin Forerunner models to choose from, the 945 is easily one of the most robust options. As we've already mentioned, the main difference between these two is that the Forerunner 945 doesn't offer solar charging. Unlike the Garmin Enduro, it doesn't have battery saving-modes, either. Considering that you still get 14 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, this may not be an issue for you. That ends up being 36 hours in GPS mode and 10 hours in GPS with music mode.

It only takes one look at the Garmin Forerunner 945 to realize that this smartwatch was designed with athletes in mind. You get a 47mm case and a silicone band, so it's somewhat smaller and lighter than the Enduro. It has a 1.2-inch transflective display that is also optimized for sunlight visibility. You'll be happy to know the 22mm Garmin Forerunner 945 bands are interchangeable, so you'll always have options.

One of the best perks you'll have with the Forerunner 945 is full-color mapping.

One of the best perks you'll have with the Forerunner 945 is full-color mapping. You can access it when offline, which is complete with turn-by-turn navigation. You have to wonder why this feature isn't included on similar models, like the Garmin Forerunner 745. Upon comparing the two, you'll see that the Forerunner 945 and 745 are very much alike. More importantly, with such a crazy price tag, you'd expect a perk like this to be available on the Enduro. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Other key features you'll find on the Garmin Forerunner 945 include built-in sports apps, onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, stress tracking, smartphone notifications, music storage, Garmin Pay, and 5 ATM water resistance. There are still many advanced perks, including running dynamics, VO2 max, training load, training status, training effect, performance condition, and more.

Garmin Enduro vs. Garmin Forerunner 945: Which should you buy?

While these two smartwatches are quite similar, it's their few differences that may sway your ultimate decision. If you're an outdoor athlete or adventurer who depends on endless battery life to track your activities, then the Garmin Enduro may be a good fit for you. Other than solar charging, there aren't too many major features on the Enduro that you won't also find on the Forerunner 945. For most people, it's going to be way too expensive just for solar charging.

If you're hoping for a more reasonable price tag but you still want a smartwatch that can handle your active lifestyle, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the better option. It's still packed with features that will enhance your running experience, and many other activities, for that matter. You still get impressive battery life and there even some perks that you won't find on the Enduro. Most importantly, you'll have full-color maps and music storage. It may not offer solar charging, but you may not need that feature.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.