Ideal running companion

Garmin Forerunner 245

Perfect lifestyle watch

Garmin Vivoactive 4

Vivoactive 4

If running is your true passion, you can't go wrong with this GPS running smartwatch. In addition to advanced running dynamics, this model also offers extensive training features, a Pulse Ox sensor, Body Battery energy monitoring, and more.

$220 at Amazon

Pros

  • Built-in GPS
  • Lightweight design
  • Advanced running metrics
  • Training status, load, effect
  • Pulse Ox & Body Battery

Cons

  • Lacks altimeter
  • No Garmin Pay
  • Music version costs more

For those who like doing many sports rather than just one, the Vivoactive 4 will serve you well. It's equipped with over 20 sport modes, after all. You also get two size options, a touchscreen, an altimeter, and Garmin Pay.

From $264 at Amazon

Pros

  • Built-in GPS
  • Pulse Ox & Body Battery
  • Garmin Pay
  • Two size options
  • Music comes standard

Cons

  • Lacks advanced running dynamics
  • Shorter battery life in GPS mode

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4: It's all in the details

If you're currently searching for the best Android smartwatch, you'll come across a few popular names such as Garmin and other industry leaders. If you're looking for a watch that offers detailed tracking and great battery life, you might find yourself comparing the Garmin Forerunner 245 and the Garmin Vivoactive 4.

They're similar in more ways than one, but where these two devices differ is in the detailed features they offer. There's certainly an argument to be made for each of them. As the name suggests, the Forerunner 245 is a better choice for dedicated runners who need endless details. If you'd prefer a lifestyle smartwatch that still offers a solid fitness tracking suite, the Vivoactive 4 is a better choice. It's up to you to determine which set of features will be the most useful for your needs.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4: What's the difference?

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Source: Courtney Lynch / Android Central Pictured: Garmin Vivoactive 4

When you take a step back and perform a side-by-side comparison of these two Garmin smartwatches, you'll immediately notice a few physical differences. The Forerunner 245 has a total of five physical buttons. There are three buttons on the left side and two on the right side. All navigating will be done via these buttons since it doesn't have a touchscreen like the Vivoactive 4.

The Vivoactive 4, on the other hand, has two buttons on the right side of the watch for accessing menus. This will be an adjustment for some users, but you can also rely on the intuitive touchscreen for seamless navigation. Additionally, it comes in two case sizes: 45mm or 40mm, otherwise known as the Garmin Vivoactive 4 and 4S, respectively. The only other physical difference between these two watches is that the Garmin Vivoactive 4 has a sleek stainless steel bezel that comes with this model.

Forerunner 245 Vivoactive 4
Dimensions 42.3 x 42.3 x 12.2mm 45.1 x 45.1 x 12.8mm
40 x 40 x 12.7mm
Display 1.2-inch transflective, 240x240 pixels 1.3-inch transflective, 260x260 pixels
1.1-inch transflective, 218x218 pixels
Bezel Fiber-reinforced polymer Stainless steel
Sensors HRM, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, compass, accelerometer, Pulse Ox HRM, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, altimeter, compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometer
Battery Up to 7 days 45mm: Up to 8 days
40mm: Up to 7 days
Connectivity Bluetooth, ANT+ Bluetooth Smart and ANT+
Colors Slate Gray, Berry Silver, Slate, Rose Gold, Light Gold
Quick-release bands Yes, 20mm Yes, 22mm or 18mm
Water resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM
Notifications ✔️ ✔️
Touchscreen ✔️
Garmin Pay ✔️

There are some similarities worth noting as well. For example, both models are water-resistant up to 50 meters, both offer smartphone notifications (with quick replies for Android users), and both have built-in GPS. You'll also appreciate that both models offer a quick-release band system. When you're feeling like a change, it'll be easy to find Garmin Vivoactive 4 bands as well as Garmin Forerunner 245 bands.

You'll also have the ability to control your smartphone's music from your watch. With the previous Vivoactive model, you had to pay extra for a musical version of the smartwatch if you wanted onboard storage. Fortunately, music storage is a standard feature on the Vivoactive 4. However, that's not the case with this Forerunner model. If you want music storage on your watch, you'll need to pay a bit more for the Garmin Forerunner 245 Music.

Both watches have a Pulse Ox sensor for monitoring your blood oxygen saturation levels.

As you might've guessed, both watches can easily track your daily activities. The basics include tracking for steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, stress levels, sleep patterns, and intensity minutes. You'll also be able to use the Garmin Connect mobile app to take a closer look at your activity data. Both watches have a Pulse Ox sensor for monitoring your blood oxygen saturation levels. You also get the company's Body Battery energy monitoring feature on both watches. This feature will track your energy levels throughout the day so that you can find ideal times for activity and rest.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4: Choose your features

Garmin Forerunner 245 MusicSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central Pictured: Garmin Forerunner 245

One way to choose between the Garmin Forerunner 245 and Garmin Vivoactive 4 is to figure out what features are most important to you. Some users will be disappointed to learn that you don't have access to Garmin Pay or an altimeter on the Forerunner 245, especially given the price point. It's a running smartwatch to the core, but these features would be a nice bonus. You'll be happy to know that you get both of these perks on the Vivoactive 4. With that said, the Forerunner 245 still brings a lot to the table, especially if you're a passionate runner and that's your main reason for investing in a fitness smartwatch.

So, what are the benefits of choosing the Garmin Forerunner 245? Let's start with activity tracking and training status. While the Forerunner 245 has fewer sport modes than the Vivoactive 4, they're still pretty impressive. Some of the sport modes include trail running, treadmill, indoor track, indoor and outdoor cycling, pool swimming, yoga and, elliptical. Not to mention that when you're training for a run, you'll have access to insightful performance analytics. You can review detailed metrics to better look at how effective your training is with training status, training load, and training effect.

While the Forerunner 245 has fewer sport modes than the Vivoactive 4, they're still impressive.

It doesn't stop there. When you pair your running watch with a compatible heart rate strap or the compact Running Dynamics Pod, it can measure even more metrics. You'll be able to track your cadence, stride length, ground contact time and balance, vertical oscillation, and vertical ratio. These metrics are instrumental in understanding your form and overall progress as you gear up for your next race.

Garmin Vivoactive 4 Source: Courtney Lynch / Android CentralPictured: Garmin Vivoactive 4

You're probably wondering why someone might choose the Vivoactive 4 over that the Forerunner 245. For starters, it offers more sports modes. You'll have golf mode, snowboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, outdoor rowing, and more. These are some great extras to have if you're an outdoor adventurer who's always looking for a new adrenaline rush.

Your altimeter will also come in handy for many of these activities, which tracks floors climbed and general elevation changes. Generally speaking, most people who invest in a fitness smartwatch (or even a more basic activity tracker) are hoping to see how many floors they climbed at the end of the day. Ever catch yourself opting for the stairs instead of the elevator?

The Vivoactive 4 offers additional benefits that aren't related to fitness.

The Vivoactive 4 offers additional benefits that aren't related to fitness, but they're still attractive features to have. One of these features is the touchscreen. You only get two physical side buttons, but that's really all you need when you have a touchscreen. However, some people might argue that a touchscreen could be tricky to use when biking, swimming, or simply when you've got sweaty hands.

Last but not least, you'll have contactless payments with Garmin Pay. While this isn't a fitness-related feature, it's a nice addition if you're always on the go and don't have your phone or wallet on hand. As we mentioned earlier, you get two size options when you choose the Garmin Vivoactive 4. It also comes with music storage as a standard feature rather than requiring you to pay more for a model that has it.

Garmin Forerunner 245 vs. Vivoactive 4: Which should you buy?

Garmin Forerunner 245 MusicSource: Andrew Martonik / Android Central

It's easy to see that both of these smartwatches are excellent choices for different reasons. The best way to determine which one is a good fit is to consider your needs. Are you always counting down the minutes until your next outdoor run? Are you preparing for an intense 5K? Do you often find yourself wishing you had a more detailed breakdown of your training status and running dynamics? If so, the Forerunner 245 is probably going to be your smartwatch dream come true.

Alternatively, if you usually find yourself embarking on new adventures and trying all kinds of new activities, then you might be happier with the Vivoactive 4. The extra sport modes, Garmin Pay, music storage, and a touchscreen are all awesome perks that you won't find on the Garmin Forerunner 245. Let's not forget about the altimeter for floors climbed! It's also an essential feature for trail running, mountain biking, and hiking. If you like to do a bit of everything, this is the best smartwatch for you.

Ideal running companion

Garmin Forerunner 245 GPS Running Smartwatch

Run to your heart's content

If you're a runner, this decision is probably a no-brainer. The advanced training support and detailed metrics you need for all your running needs are available on the Garmin Forerunner 245.

Perfect lifestyle watch

Vivoactive 4

Garmin Vivoactive 4 GPS Smartwatch

Do all the activities you please

Don't like the idea of being tied down to one specific activity? You can do them all with the Garmin Vivoactive 4. As a bonus, you'll have a touchscreen, music storage, an altimeter, and Garmin Pay.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.