All the Details

Garmin Forerunner 245

Best for Basics

Garmin Forerunner 235

You'll be happy to learn that this highly anticipated release brings with it some serious improvements. It offers much more in terms of tracking and accuracy. While it missed the mark on some desirable features, it's still a major step up from its predecessor.

$300 at Amazon

Pros

  • Garmin Coach compatibility
  • Improved tracking accuracy
  • Easy to read screen and maps
  • Incident detection
  • Galileo support

Cons

  • No barometric altimeter
  • No gyroscope
  • No Garmin Pay

The Garmin Foreunner 235 does what it set out to do, which is aid runners with the basics. It remains a suitable option for casual runners who don't need a ton of details. However, if you'd like improved accuracy and tracking, its new successor is worth considering.

$200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Wrist heart rate monitor
  • Water resistant to 50 meters
  • Long battery life
  • Activity tracking
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No music storage
  • No Garmin Coach
  • No Garmin Pay

Garmin took its time with the Forerunner 245 and it shows. There's a long list of new features that dedicated runners will surely appreciate. You'll now have access to all-day stress tracking as well as the new Body Battery™ Energy Monitor. This feature gathers your data to let you know where your energy levels stand throughout the day so you can plan accordingly for your next activity or rest period. For Android users who need to stay connected on their run, you'll be happy to hear that you can now reply to text messages and answer or reject calls right from your watch.

It's worth noting that you still get a fair share of features and sensors with the Garmin Forerunner 235 at a more affordable price. Your watch will track a decent amount of stats, including distance, time, pace, and heart rate all while you run, walk, bike, and even sleep. It's water resistant up to 50 meters, but it doesn't bring much to the table in the way of swim tracking. The Garmin Connect app allows you to customize the face display and how your data is displayed, including activity preferences and widgets. Additionally, you'll have access to various training plans and workouts.

Understanding the difference

Pictured: Garmin Forerunner 245 / Image: Canadian Running Magazine

At first glance, it might take a moment to be able to tell the two watches apart. On the surface, they look fairly similar. The new Garmin Forerunner 245 is a tad smaller than the 235. It also features a fiber-reinforced polymer bezel. You'll still enjoy the five buttons for easy menu navigation along with the sunlight-readable color display, which boasts a sharper resolution this time around. When it comes right down to it, the most notable differences are the impressive additions and capabilities the Forerunner 245 offers.

Forerunner 245 Forerunner 235
Physical size 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm 45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Display resolution 240 x 240 pixels 215 x 180 pixels
Display size 1.2" 1.23"
Battery life (Smartwatch mode) 7 days 9 days
Battery life (GPS mode) 24 hours 11 hours
Safety tracking features Yes No
Pulse Ox Yes No
Galileo Yes No

What's even more fascinating is all that has changed beneath the surface. After all, most running fanatics aren't wearing a smartwatch for the aesthetics alone. The Forerunner 245 makes a good case for upgrading with plenty of new features that the predecessor is lacking. For starters, you'll now have access to Garmin Coach, which provides you with a whole new set of tools for setting and reaching goals. Choose from 5K, 10K, or half-marathon training plans and you'll receive personalized workouts to get you going.

Train your heart out

On that note, users who spend a significant amount of time training will undoubtedly benefit from the new aerobic and anaerobic training effect, training load, and training status features. Aerobic and anaerobic training effect tells you how your workouts are impacting the development of speed, power, and endurance. Training load measures your recent exercise volume and compares it to the optimal range for your fitness and training history. Training status evaluates your recent exercise history. There are performance indicators that'll inform you if you're training productively, peaking or overreaching.

As if that wasn't enough, you'll also have the option of connecting to external sensors to further monitor your performance. Looking to improve your running form? No problem. Simply strap on a Garmin heart rate strap or the running dynamics pod and you'll be well on your way to even more helpful data. You'll receive crucial running metrics such as cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio. This feature is an added bonus for those who want to take their training to the next level.

More to love

Whether you consider yourself a serious athlete or a casual runner, there's no getting around the fact that the Forerunner 245 offers a lot more to love. Garmin understands that activity isn't the only factor that affects your overall health. This new release comes with a pulse oximeter, which provides valuable insight on the sleep you're getting each night. The wrist-based sensor works by estimating your body's blood oxygen saturation levels. It'll inform you of how well your body is absorbing oxygen, particularly when you're sleeping or adjusting to new altitudes.

Whether you consider yourself a serious athlete or a casual runner, there's no getting around the fact that the Forerunner 245 offers a lot more to love.

In order to properly optimize your body's energy levels, you can take advantage of the Body Battery™ Energy Monitor. This feature works by assigning a number to your energy levels, which you can refer to when you're planning your next workout or activity. If you happen to notice your levels are lower than normal, it might be worth skipping the run and allowing your body to rest.

There are several other changes that might sway you to make the switch. While both models offer 5 ATM water resistance, only the Forerunner 245 provides swim tracking so you can log laps. It also comes with menstrual tracking so women can record the details of each cycle, log your symptoms, and more. There's also the metronome feature, which plays tones at a steady rhythm to aid you in improving your performance by training at a faster, slower, or more consistent cadence. Let's not forget that GPS tracking has also improved with support for the Galileo satellite system, the standard GPS, and GLONASS satellites.

Last but not least, there are the long awaited new sport profiles. The Forerunner 235 was pretty restrictive in this area, but you'll get many more options with the 245. In addition to the running profiles, you'll also have pool swim, bike outdoors, bike indoors, treadmill, indoor track, trail run, row indoors, walk outdoors, walk indoors, strength, cardio, yoga, elliptical, stair stepper, and other.

Should you upgrade?

Pictured: Garmin Forerunner 235

Short answer: Absolutely. The upgrade is definitely worth the investment, especially if your current Forerunner 235 is on its last leg. If you're interested in music storage and Wi-Fi support and can spend a bit more, you'll want to check out the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music. On the other hand, if you're a first-time buyer and feeling rather intimidated by all the intricate details mentioned here, the Garmin Forerunner 235 is still a perfectly viable option. Considering the small price difference you'll pay for the vast amount of new features you'll receive, we have to say that opting for the upgrade is more than justified.

All the details

Garmin Forerunner 245

A serious athlete's dream

Talk about an upgrade. If you're a serious athlete who would find detailed metrics about your activity and performance useful, this is the watch for you. The slew of new sensors and features on this model make it worth the price stretch if you're an avid or professional runner.

Best for basics

Garmin Forerunner 235

A casual runner's paradise

If you're not concerned about bells and whistles, this watch is an ideal option. You'll have GPS, heart-rate monitoring, and activity tracking for steps, distance, duration, and more. It's a solid choice for casual runner's who don't want a detailed breakdown of information.

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