Ashwin Rajagopalan

After the first wave that began with the first Apple Watch, smartwatch brands are sharpening their product offerings. Many brands that rushed in for a piece of the action have faded. Not Garmin; this brand has always trained its sights on serious fitness enthusiasts. The ones who don’t swap straps to match their clothes but are likely to ace a 5K or a triathlon. The Forerunner 945 that just debuted in India is not just the flagship device in the Garmin portfolio but also one of the most expensive smartwatches out there. It costs Rs59,990.

The design language sets the tone. This looks every inch a rugged, sporty watch. And it is. The 1.2-inch display (240 x 240 pixels) is reinforced with Corning Gorilla Glass DX. Wear it on and it surprises you with its light form – it weighs about the same as an Apple Watch 4. The display offers decent visibility but is certainly not as vibrant as some of its rivals. It’s a clear move to augment battery life, an area where the Garmin 945 doesn’t let you down. Garmin claims two weeks on smartwatch mode and about 10 hours with GPS and music on. After three days of usage that included two gym workouts, our tests validate Garmin’s claims.

The Forerunner 945 has five buttons that drive the navigation. There’s no touch screen. There’s no easy way around this smartwatch given its multiple customisable options and fitness tracking features. It all begins to make sense once you start exploring the device and finding the features that work for you. There’s no dearth of fitness-friendly features. There’s VO2 Max tracking – rare for a smartwatch, that analyses the amount of oxygen that you can utilise during an intense workout. You can track how productive your workout is by using the training load balance feature.  It also tracks recovery time, aerobic and anaerobic training effect. If you need training tips for a 5K or a marathon, the Forerunner creates a personalised workout; you can also turn to Garmin Coach adaptive training plans.

In terms of drill-down data, the Forerunner 945 is in a league of its own and is a true triathlon watch. It also offers comprehensive sleep tracking – the best we’ve seen on any smartwatch via its companion app. The other feature that I enjoyed using was Music (it hooks up seamlessly with Bluetooth headphones). You can transfer up to 1000 songs from your laptop but it’s the Spotify support that is a big win for the Forerunner. Garmin offers a bunch of smartwatch type features that include text and calendar alerts. Ultimately the Garmin Forerunner 945 is a seriously loaded fitness-focused smartwatch and probably the best bet for running enthusiasts and fitness fanatics.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is priced at Rs 59,990 and comes in black and blue.

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