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Garmin Forerunner 945 vs. Apple Watch Series 6: Which should you buy?

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

Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 945

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If you consider yourself a serious runner, then you'll probably need much more than a basic lifestyle watch. The Garmin Forerunner 945 offers premium features and advanced training metrics that will probably meet all of your needs. It's expensive, but it may just be worth it.

Garmin Forerunner 945

Premium running watch

GPS, HRM, NFC
Full-color maps
Up to 2 weeks of battery life
Advanced training metrics
Only comes in one size and color
Must pay for a model with LTE
Not the most attractive design

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6

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If you're an iOS user seeking a lifestyle smartwatch that's perfect for daily wear, the Apple Watch Series 6 might be the best option for you. You get solid app support, activity/sleep tracking, plenty of storage, Apple Pay, optional LTE connectivity, and more.

Apple Watch Series 6

Casual lifestyle watch

GPS, HRM, NFC
Attractive design
Two size options
ECG and SpO2 readings
Lacks full-color maps
Poor battery life
Not for Android users

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs. Apple Watch Series 6: Two very different watches

Some smartwatches are similar in many ways, while others are more different than they are alike. If you're choosing between the Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Apple Watch Series 6, you'll soon realize how different these two wearables are.

Without a doubt, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the best Android smartwatch for serious runners. Whether you're a passionate runner or a serious athlete, this watch has everything you need. On the other hand, if you're an iOS user seeking a fashionable lifestyle smartwatch that offers the basics with a few bonus perks, you might prefer the Apple Watch Series 6 instead.

Run as fast as you can with the Garmin Forerunner 945

It's easy to see why the Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the best running watches you can buy. It might be one of the most expensive options from Garmin, but there's justification for the hefty price tag. If you're more than just a casual runner, you'll likely have key metrics you'll want to track to monitor your progress and work on improving your overall performance.

First, let's talk about the Garmin Forerunner 945's design. If you were hoping for something eye-catching and luxurious, you're going to be let down. This watch is made for runners, after all. It comes in a simple 47mm black plastic case with a 1.2-inch sunlight-visible, transflective display. There are no additional color options or sizes to pick from. Fortunately, the 22mm interchangeable Garmin Forerunner 945 bands allow you to change up the look of your watch as you see fit.

Garmin Forerunner 945Apple Watch Series 6
Dimensions43.2 x 43.2 x 12.4mm44 x 38 x 10.74mm
40 x 34 x 10.7mm
Display1.2" sunlight-visible, transflective display1.78" always-on retina display
1.57-inch always-on retina display
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+, Wi-FiBluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, optional LTE
SensorsGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, HRM, accelerometer, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, Pulse Ox, thermometerGPS + GLONASS, HRM accelerometer, ECG, always-on altimeter, compass, gyroscope, SpO2, ambient light sensor
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: 14 days
GPS mode: 36 hours
GPS + Music mode: 10 hours
Up to 18 hours
Water resistanceUp to 50 metersUp to 50 meters
Mobile payments✔️✔️
Blood oxygen monitoring✔️✔️
Electrocardiogram✔️
Optional LTE✔️

One area where the Garmin Forerunner 945 really shines is battery life. In smartwatch mode, it'll last for up to two weeks on a single charge. There are other battery modes available. For example, you'll get 36 hours of battery life in GPS mode and 10 hours in GPS with music mode. This is more than enough for most people, and it will certainly impress runners who can't be bothered with charging their watch daily.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 provides access to onboard full-color mapping.

Let's get to the good stuff. Runners and other athletes will appreciate all of the premium perks. The Garmin Forerunner 945 provides access to onboard full-color mapping. Most importantly, you can access these maps when you're offline. If you spend a good chunk of time running outdoors or doing any other type of exploring, this feature will definitely come in handy.

The Forerunner 945 also comes with many other features that Garmin is known for, including onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, built-in sports apps, activity/sleep tracking, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, stress tracking, and Body Battery energy monitoring. You also get onboard music storage for up to 1,000 songs and NFC for Garmin Pay.

With that said, this smartwatch was designed to offer detailed tracking that's geared toward runners. You'll have several premium features, including advanced training metrics, running dynamics, VO2 max, performance condition, and more. You'll enjoy PacePro Technology, which provides grade-adjusted guidance when you're running a course. The built-in recovery time advisor tells you how long you should rest before your next intense workout. These are just a few of the features that will take your tracking experience up a notch.

Go about your day with the Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Some people want a standard smartwatch that's efficient for handling the basics of daily wear. If that's what you're looking for and you also happen to be an iOS user, you'll love the Apple Watch Series 6. However, don't think that you'll miss out on health/fitness features. The Series 6 offers a wide range of tracking features that will be more than sufficient for most users. Other benefits include optional LTE connectivity, excellent app support, ample internal storage, and various design options.

The design might be one of the most attractive things about the Apple Watch Series 6, especially in comparison to the Garmin Forerunner 945. You can choose from 40mm and 44mm case sizes. You also get to choose your case material, which is available in aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium. There are even some new color options this time around, including blue, red, gold, and graphite.

One benefit of choosing the Apple Watch Series 6 is optional LTE connectivity.

Unfortunately, one aspect that remains the same is the poor battery life. This watch will only last for up to 18 hours before it needs to be charged again. However, one benefit of choosing the Apple Watch Series 6 is optional LTE connectivity. If you choose the larger model and opt for LTE connectivity, the price will slowly but surely become more expensive.

Some of the other features you'll find on the Apple Watch Series 6 include built-in GPS, activity/sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring, Apple Pay, blood oxygen monitoring, and ECG readings. Another bonus is the option to sign up for the company's new subscription service, Apple Fitness+, which offers a library of video-led workouts for fitness enthusiasts. You can access these workouts from any Apple device, and you'll be able to see your real-time metrics while you exercise.

Garmin Forerunner 945 vs. Apple Watch Series 6: Which should you buy?

In this case, the smartwatch you end up choosing will have a lot to do with your intended purpose as well as your preferred operating system. If you're an Android user and/or a serious runner, the Garmin Forerunner 945 is the better option between the two. It offers some premium features that will take your running experience to the next level. Let's not forget that the battery can last for 14 days, which puts the Apple Watch to shame.

However, if you're an iOS user and you're not a serious runner, the Apple Watch Series 6 might make more sense for you. It's more affordable, and you get a much more attractive design. You also get to choose between two sizes, an array of colors, and your preferred case material. If you're seeking basic features in an efficient lifestyle watch, the Apple Watch Series 6 is a good choice.