Garmin Forerunner 45 Review

At a Glance: Quick Ratings





Battery Life   






Where To Get It

A Deep Dive Into Garmin Forerunner 45

Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45S are great running watches in the basic end of Garmin smartwatches. This is a watch to research if you are a runner and are interested in a sports/running watch and less concerned with a luxury smartwatch.

I love the fact that Garmin thought about smaller boned people and it comes in two sizes.

The Garmin Forerunner 45 has a 39mm case, suitable for those who have a smaller wrist and the Garmin Forerunner 45 has a 42mm case. Neither will look clunky on but you may not want to wear it on a date, unless it's a running date.

In April 2021, Garmin launched a new series of Forerunner GPS running smartwatches for those who only need the basics to elite athletes.

  • Who Is It For?

  • Video Review

  • Pros

  • Cons

This is a great watch for the runner, walker or fitness tracker who is mostly interested in heart rate monitoring, training tracking, and being connected. This is perfect for the runner/walker who occasionally hits the gym and likes to keep track of their fitness.

You can use Garmin Coach to complete goals for 5K up to half marathon preparation training. These training plans were set up by expert coaches so you get the most out of your workouts.

The Garmin Forerunner 45 has the ability to download structured workouts and if you are zone training your watch can keep track of that as well.

The Garmin Forerunner 45 looks great on a larger wrist while the Garmin 45 S is perfect for a smaller wrist. The Garmin Forerunner 45 comes in black and red, while the Forerunner 45S in white and purple. The band is silicone. It is waterproof up to 50 meters but does not have swim tracking.

What’s in the Box?

Watch with strap, Garmin standard four-pin USB charger used with other Garmin smartwatches, Quick Start user manual.

Main Features and Functions

  • The Backlight can be used either automatically or manually. By using the manual option you can save on battery life.
  • Display size on the Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45S is 1.04 inches (26.3mm). The display is colored and not monochrome. Watch face dimensions are 1.65 x 1.65 x 0.4 inches.
  • Lightweight at 32 grams for the Forerunner 45S and 36 grams for the Forerunner 45. That is a lot less than most smartwatches for sports out there today,
  • The watch has five functions buttons around the circular face. On/Off, back, manual light, Up and Down.
  • The silicone band is replaceable but you will need a small screwdriver to do so. There are easy tutorial videos on YouTube to help you. 
  • Resolution is 280 x 280, so not the highest in the pack, but it is clear and bright.
  • GPS built into the phone
  • All-day Tracking
  • Smart notifications
  • 12 activity profiles (including running, cycling, walking, cardio and even yoga) via the Garmin Connect App. You can load up to six activities into the watch at any one point.
  • Capable of monitoring every day, all day, it can measure your steps, distance, calories, and sleep
  • The battery will last about  a week in the smartwatch and 13 hours in GPS mode
  • Garmin has some great Apps that can be used with this smartwatch, such as Garmin Coach, helping you with training programs. Push notifications can help you reach your goals. It also has pace and speed alerts.
  • The state of the art Garmin Gen3 ELEVATE Optical Heart Rate sensor on your wrist can track 24/7 HR as well as monitor sleep and stress tracking.
  • You can check your sleep in the Garmin Connect App. This is the same sensor as in Garmin’s smartwatches like Garmin Forerunner 245 and 945.
  • You can use your Heart Rate sensor to check your resting heart rate by checking as soon as you wake up, before getting out of bed. This is known as your resting Heart Rate. This number is important in determining your Heart Rate Recovery. After a workout, you take your Heart Rate a minute and two minutes after you stop working out, then subtract it from your Resting Heart Rate.
  • Can calculate VO2Max  
  • There is no elevation ability because it does not have a barometric altimeter to measure height.
  • Weather and calendar information
  • Easy to use
  • You can use this device to monitor Heart Rate Zones to make the most of your workout.
  • You can’t customize the stock watch faces, just change the accent colors a bit, but you can download custom watch faces through Garmin Connect IQ to make it yours.
  • You can review your stats on your smartphone or computer.
  • If your stress levels get too high, this watch features all-day stress monitoring for wellness    There is a breathing timer to help guide your breathing and help calm your mind.

I Definitely Think This Watch is Worth It!

The Garmin Forerunner 45 and 45S is one of the most comprehensive sports smartwatches for runners who want to keep on top of their progress, heart rate monitoring, and fitness tracking in this price range.

I really like the smaller watch option for a more slender wrist but would like to see more color options.

This may not be the watch you want if you are a professional athlete, but it will satisfy most beginner and intermediate runners with lots of personalized fitness programming options. 

Want up to 500 of your favorite songs stored in your smartwatch or after your workout, to know how much oxygen is being absorbed using a wrist-based Pulse OX sensor 4? Check out the Garmin Forerunner 245

Need a Triathlon watch with Garmin Pay and the ability to save 1000 of your favorite songs? Check out the Garmin Forerunner 295

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt has been a tech geek for as long as he can remember. Whether it's laptops, cameras, or projects, he's obsessed with it all. When he's not researching the latest tech products, he likes to go on long hikes with his dogs.

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