Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. 235: Should you upgrade?

Garmin Forerunner 245

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.

Garmin Forerunner 245

All the Details

Garmin Coach compatibility
Improved tracking accuracy
Easy to read screen and maps
Incident detection
Galileo support
No barometric altimeter
No gyroscope
No Garmin Pay

Garmin Forerunner 235

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.

Garmin Forerunner 235

Best for Basics

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

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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Forerunner 245Forerunner 235
Physical size42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2 mm45 x 45 x 11.7 mm
Display resolution240 x 240 pixels215 x 180 pixels
Display size1.2"1.23"
Battery life (Smartwatch mode)7 days9 days
Battery life (GPS mode)24 hours11 hours
Safety tracking featuresYesNo
Pulse OxYesNo

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

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.

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.